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Published: February 16th 2012
lutte clock, senegalese clockpart ii of iv
fighters arrive when they arrive. the game starts when it starts. it lasts as long as it lasts.
like other aspects of Senegalese culture... ...lutte is slow, builds momentum, and takes as long as it takes, and ends on an upnote
the pre-game time, though soundtracked with booming stereo music, started with bare minimum of lights and people and energy...but the evening slowly built in momentum as one by one fighters showed up, the decibels on the stereo were turned up, field boys began their duties, spectators filed in. no one was rushing.
and it took as long as it took for the fighters to show up and the matches to get going.
and when it did get going, it was like no other frenetic energy i have ever experienced at a sports event.
and the round between two fighers? takes as long as it takes....but those last few seconds, BAM! one contender is suddenly on the ground and if as a spectator you blinked - you missed it. ...lutte is influenced by the 'maribous' (religious leaders)
Maribous have a lot of say in Senegal. people consult them for most everything, and the more influential maribous will outspokenly direct the populace (like recently re-directing traffic
travel clock, senegalese clock
cars arrive when they arrive. they go when they are full. the trip lasts as long as it lasts.
chaos when there was a national transportation strike which the maribou put the kabatch on, not the government).
so, it was with a light laughter and feigned disbelieving shake of my head, when i found out the source of the pre-game and 'organized' chaos: the maribous.
it goes like this:
i had asked my local accompanier why this set of matches tonite were starting later than the ones yesterday (both planned for 21:00, day one getting off around 21:30, this night it was 22:30 and still no hint of a whistle). i also asked why fighters seemed to slowly trickle onto the scene with no set time, the organizers themselves seeming to have little control over time. my cultural tour guide explained that the match starts when the fighters get there.
OK...so what determines when the fighters get there?
the maribous. of course.
Maribous tell the fighters whether to show up on the early side, the fashionably late side, or outright late side (how the men weigh this against the already loose notion of time in Senegal is beyond me). however, there is a glitch: as the fighters who fought and won
some prayerish things
last night who return to contend tonite are obligated to come 'early'. what happens when this conflicts with the maribou direction? dunno. more foto below...
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