Saturday, October 11, 2008

Once a year, always in October, the inhabitants of Djenne take to the water surrounding the town in a colourful festival of pirogue races which continue for three days. Like the crepissage of the mosque, and the crossing of the cattle at Diafarabé at the end of November, the date for this festival is decided a few days before by the village elders so it cannot be included in any tourist programmes to the frustration of tour operators. To happen upon one of these spectacles is a rare treat, and the Germans staying in my hotel were delighted, as was I because I had never seen it before.
I saw the last races from my sunset bar- the water was sparkling with perhaps forty colourful pirogues gliding to and fro to the sound of Fulani drums and flutes while young girls on the shore,their hair covered with amber beads, beat their cowrie covered calebashes.


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