The Wodaabe (or Bororo) are a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders in the Sahel, with migrations stretching from southern Niger, through northern Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, and the western region of the Central African Republic. The number of Wodaabe was estimated in 1983 to be 45,000. They are known for their beauty (both men and women), elaborate attire and rich cultural ceremonies. Read more here.
Wodaabe men take great pride in their boodal, or physical beauty. For the geerewol festival, men are judged for their beauty, and shave their foreheads, paint their faces with red ochre (iron oxide), dress their hair with ostrich feathers and cowrie shells, and decorate their chests with criss-cross patterns of white beads.
At the end of the rainy season in September, the Wodaabe travel to In-Gall to gather salt and participate at the Cure Salée festival, a meeting of several nomadic tribes. Here the young Wodaabe men, with elaborate make-up, feathers and other adornments, perform dances and songs to impress women. The male beauty ideal of the Wodaabe stresses tallness, white eyes and teeth; the men will often roll their eyes and show their teeth to emphasize these characteristics. The Wodaabe clans will then join for their week-long Gerewol celebration, a contest where the young men's beauty is judged by young women.