Segments in this Video

Wodaabe Mating Ritual (01:58)


Young male Wodaabe with painted faces perform a mating ritual designed to bring the right mate to them. Nearby, the young Tuareg prepare to steal the Wodaabe's new brides.

Water is Life (02:38)

Community life centers around the well for the Wodaabe of central western Africa.

Wodaabe Marriage Customs (01:27)

The Wodaabe can have multiple wives--some are stolen. Meet a Wodaabe man who currently has 3 wives and intends to steal a fourth.

Tuareg Marriage Customs (02:03)

Tuareg nomads of the Sahara spend a few moments with their wives before leaving them alone, which they do for half of the year.

Tuareg Depart (01:37)

See Tuareg nomads come together and begin their long journey into the Sahara desert.

Wodaabe Customs (02:14)

Learn the significance of greetings and tea in Wodaabe life. Men drink tea and explain the way each cup relates to life. One man says he stole all of his 30 wives.

Women are in on the Conspiracy (01:31)

Wife stealing is a collaborative affair among the Wodaabe. A Wodaabe chief happily remembers the first time he stole a wife.

Charm Medicine (02:38)

The wife of a Wodaabe chief sets out to sell "charm medicine," a specialty of the Wodaabe. Wodaabe men naturally possess "togu"; the quality of being irresistible.

Tuareg Celebration (02:01)

At the end of the dry season, the drums call the Tuareg together. Women attract men with their individual singing.

Competition Becomes Conflict (02:07)

Livestock wealth (camels) is celebrated in Tuareg music. Riders steal a scarf from a competing camp; see the chase and learn the significance of this ritual.

Wodaabe Woman Returns (01:29)

A woman returns from Nigeria, where she sold all of her "charm" medicine. While she was gone, a baby was born; learn birth customs.

Tale of Wife Stealing (03:12)

The chief's nephew happily tells the story of stealing his wife. The tribe will soon be on the move. They will again dance the yaka to steal wives.

Wodaabe Festival (01:29)

The temporary city comes together overnight. The Tuareg come in numbers to the festival; they are intrigued by the Wodaabe. The Tuareg are reserved; they alone cover their faces.

Preparing for Wodaabe Festival (01:36)

The Wodaabe get ready for the festival. The clan arrives after 2 days of riding. The chief's nephew has his eye on another wife--whom he plans to steal.

Rehearsal for the Yaka (02:35)

The Wodaabe sing in harmony. Watch as they practice "the look." The Wodaabe women keep their eyes on the men.

Camel Race Challenge (02:06)

A camel race is run in the heat of the day. The Tuareg will test the camels' speed and endurance. They celebrate after the race.

Wife Stealing Failure (03:00)

The Wodaabe chief's nephew prepares to steal another wife; he is unsuccessful.

Tireless Quest for Love (01:02)

Undeterred by crossed signals, the chief's nephew makes up his face to venture out again. See Wodaabe men work the crowd as the monogamous Tuareg look on.

Boofeydo (02:07)

First time mothers wear black clothing and live in semi-exile with their mothers; they can have no contact with their husbands or any man.

Release from Boofeydo (02:54)

In this Wodaabe celebration, young mothers are released from exile; the men release their cattle and chase the women.

Yaka Ritual (03:15)

Watch a Wodaabe man apply makeup and dress in preparation for charming his next bride. The yaka begins; "referees" contain the crowd. See Wodaabe women respond.

The Plan (00:50)

A Wodaabe man describes his plan to steal a new wife.

Stolen Bride in Hiding (03:04)

Waiting for her lover, this stolen wife sits quietly hidden in a Tuareg camp. He describes how he won her over at the yaka, stole her and hid her at a Tuareg camp.

The Move (01:49)

Despite his unsuccessful attempt to steal another bride, this Wodaabe man serves tea to his wife of 10 years. The Wodaabe head south to the family wells and the Tuareg will disappear back into the desert.

Credits: The Wodaabe and Tuareg Nomads: Stealing Beauty (01:06)

The Wodaabe and Tuareg Nomads: Stealing Beauty

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The Wodaabe and Tuareg Nomads: Stealing Beauty

Part of the Series : The Last Warriors: Seven African Tribes on the Verge of Extinction
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
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Though sometimes in conflict with each other, the Wodaabe and Tuareg have a common enemy in the arid lands of central western Africa they call home. Filmed in part during the height of the dry season, this program offers insights into both of these warrior tribes through two of their major celebrations. For the polygynous Wodaabe it is the worso, a flamboyant courtship festival that frequently ends in the "abduction" of an additional wife. And for the matrilineal Tuareg, it is a festival featuring camel racing and dancing. The vital importance of water to the survival of both peoples is underscored. (77 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL11797

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9353-7

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“An entertaining, informative, and eye-opening production, crafted well for use on student and public audiences. It features just enough of the exotic to grab the viewers’ attention while providing enough substance to teach them something about these two societies and about cultural diversity and cultural relativism in general. Audiences will never think about love, marriage, and beauty the same way again. Recommended.” —Anthropology Review Database

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Only available in USA and Canada.