Wrestling in Dakar

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Title: Wrestling in Dakar
Producer: Al Jazeera, Witness, Edward Porembny
Category: Society, Witness
Views: 1931
Added: Oct 30th 2013
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Traditional wrestling, or "laamb", is arguably Senegal's national sport, exceeding even football in popularity.

Matches, usually held in open-air arenas, are social and cultural events with fighters and spectators enacting rituals with a significance that date back hundreds of years. The top tier of champions can earn up to $100,000 a fight, an unimaginable sum of money to most Senegalese, and the dream of becoming a professional wrestler spurs on many young men, for a few years at least.

In the down-market suburb of Pikine in the capital Dakar - where 70 percent of the population are under the age of 25 and more than half the population lives on or below the poverty line - five friends are determined to become wrestling stars.

Thiam, Lamine, Abdou, Cissokho and M'Baye have opened their own, informal, wrestling school and train for hours every day. Their hope is to catch the eye of one person in particular - Madame Ndeye Ndiaye Tyson, one of Senegal's leading wrestling promoters, and a woman who did not let her illiteracy stop her from rising to the top in a male-dominated sport. Madame Tyson selects just one youth at a time to promote and mentor.

In Wrestling in Dakar, Witness follows Thiam and Modou Faye as they train for neighbourhood matches which they hope will set them on the road to success, and by understanding their lives come to learn something more about Senegal today.


Al Jazeera, Witness, documentary, al jazeera documentaries, society, Wrestling in Dakar, Edward Porembny, Modou Faye, Thiam Faye, Dakar