21 Feb value beauty above all things

The Wodaabe value beauty above all things and will go to great links to attain desirable attributes such as white eyes and white teeth.  Many Wodaabe believe that the egret has supernatural powers.  The Wodaabe will catch egrets and cut off the neck and cheeks...

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19 Feb an evil spirit named Dongo

Many Zarma Songhai people fear thunderstorms and lightning.  They believe that an evil spirit named Dongo will fall upon those who have done evil and repay them with the evil they have committed.  They believe that Dongo has responded to their transgressions in the past...

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14 Feb preserved animistic practices

Although the Fulani people proclaim to be Muslim, they have preserved numerous animistic practices.  They typically adhere to the Muslim rituals of daily prayer, annual fasting, giving alms, and pilgrimages, but they also place a great emphasis on seeking protection from the spirit world.  The...

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12 Feb “Toubarkalla”

“Toubarkalla” is a phrase heard frequently throughout Niger, particularly among the Hausa people.  When someone compliments your child, or even makes a true statement about yourself or another person, they must say, “Toubarkalla,” or it will be assumed that the statement was made with evil...

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05 Feb long hair = sick baby

In Hausa culture, they believe that if you don’t cut an infant’s hair within the first week of its life, it will be sickly and weak.  Mothers will cut their child’s hair prior to their “bapteme” (baby naming ceremony where a lamb is sacrificed 8...

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28 Jan abused, neglected, forgotten

In Wodaabe culture, the daily interaction between men and women is characterized by avoidance, for example, men and women do not eat together.  Many women fear physical violence from their husbands who have the right to discipline them.  Even the woman’s parents can not interfere...

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22 Jan protection from dark forces

There is a superstition amongst the Zarma that if someone touches a child’s head, they are cursing the child or placing an evil spirit upon them.  Zarma people believe that others frequently seek harm for their neighbors and practice rituals and wear fetishes to protect...

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