Senegalese wrestling: the mystical sport.

Wrestling is the national sport in Senegal. Sculptural black bodies fight for a prize that years ago used to be rice, a woman, a piece of land or honor and now has become into thousands of dollars and glory for the best ones. But the most important part of the Senegalese wrestling – the magic – still remains intact from the origins of the sport and therefore the Marabouts keep preparing different good-luck charms, potions and spells to enforce and bless the fighter.

On these series of photos I accompanied the wrestler Djily Mbaye during the previous hours and during his combat at the stadium. I firstly photographed the most private ritual at his house (praying, dressing the good-luck charms, speaking spells, using the potions…) and then the ambience and the part of the ritual done at the stadium.

This is a part of a larger documentary project about wrestling in Senegal, aiming to show the wrestler’s life, rituals, fans and all the folklore and people that is involved in the sport.

Find our eBook about the senegalese wrestling here or the printed version in Blurb.

Senegal wrestling - Laamb

Senegal wrestling - Laamb

Senegal wrestling - Laamb

Senegal wrestling - Laamb

Senegal wrestling - Laamb

Senegal wrestling - Laamb

Senegal wrestling - Laamb

Javier Acebal

About the author: Javier Acebal

I'm a photographer based in Dakar (West Africa). I love to document cultures and people! (but also working for tourism industry).

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