Xoolal! Simb Ñëwna!

August 8, 2011

SImb Ñëwna.

SImb Ñëwna.

The sound of sabar drums on a late summer afternoon do not always indicate a sabar bëccëg – an afternoon sabar party. If in following the sound of the drums you encounter large numbers of children cautiously looking towards the source of the sound, approaching a tarp that blocks a section of the street with hesitation you have found a Simb, or Faux Lion event.(1)  The Simb is another event organized for children and young people although the whole community may attend.

With a Simb, a section of the street will be cordoned off with tarps, for this is a paid event. It is within the space formed by blocking off the street that the Simb will take place. Like a sabar party, there will be a circle created with the drums at one end. In this circle the Simbs will dance to the bakks played by the drummers. It is also where those who are captured by the Simbs will be brought.

Although the Simb is fierce and is often seen as an ominous figure by the young people, they are drawn to the event. The children you have seen on your way to the event, for whatever reason, have not purchased a ticket to the event and thus are the potential victims of the lions. If they are caught by a Simb they will be brought into the center of the circle to be punished by being forced to dance or do exercises before the Simb rubs sand into their heads and escorts them out of the event.

Those who have tickets are able to take part in the event and enjoy the playful nature of the Simb. They will have a space to sit or stand around the circle where they are able to watch the dances performed and are encouraged by the “lions” to show their appreciation. At specific moments they will sing songs about the Simb that are part of the event, and on occasion they are even invited into the circle to dance to the drums.

In addition to its cultural and folkloric significance, the Simb is a summer activity that provides a positive outlet for the young people in communities throughout Senegal. The following pictures show children taking part  in a Simb.

Notes

1. For an explanation of the Simb see the Géwël Tradition blog entry of January 26, 2011 – Simb of Senegal, by Mohamad Faye.

Children at a Simb at a school in neighborhood of Amitie.

Children at a Simb at a school in neighborhood of Amitie.

Children at a Simb

Children at a Simb

Singers before the Simb arrives.

Singers before the Simb arrives.

A Simb checking for tickets.

A simb with some of his captives.

A simb with some of his captives.

Simb checking for tickets.

Simb checking for tickets.

Protecting her younger brother from the Simb.

Protecting her younger brother from the Simb.

A frightful moment.

A frightful moment.

A scary moment for a young girl.

A scary moment for a young girl.

Simb rubbing sand into the hair of a boy with no ticket.

Simb rubbing sand into the hair of a boy with no ticket.

Simb rubbing sand into the hair of another boy with no ticket.

Simb rubbing sand into the hair of another boy with no ticket.

Simbs dancing for the crowds.

Simbs dancing for the crowds.

Simb calling for encouragement from the crowd.

Simb calling for encouragement from the crowd.

A Simb with a full crowd.

A Simb with a full crowd.

Simbs engaging the crowd.

Simbs engaging the crowd.

Children dancing at a Simb.

Children dancing at a Simb.

Children dancing at a Simb.

Children dancing at a Simb.

Dancing to the Simb's bakk.

Dancing to the Simb's bakk.

Another boy dancing to the Simb's bakk.

Another boy dancing to the Simb's bakk.

Children posing with a Simb.

Children posing with a Simb.

Simb with a baby.

Simb with a baby.

About these ads

One Response to “Xoolal! Simb Ñëwna!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: