Wodaabe: Herdsmen of the Sun

Werner Herzog’s 1989 documentary film Wodaabe: Herdsmen of the Sun tells the story of the Wodaabe tribe, a vibrant nomadic African community.

The Wodaabe, also known as the Mbororo 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, southwestern Chad, and the western region of the Central African Republic.

Throughout this documentary, we’ll get an interaction with the Wodaabe while experiencing their festival called Gerewol.

Here, the female Wodaabe choose their mates from a lineup of super-elaborately adorned men with wild makeup, feathers and kaleidoscopic robes draping their seven-foot frames.

In true Herzog style, the film has a dream-like quality to it with Herzog’s own narrative. Filmed as an exploratory and ethnographic cinematic film, Herzog manages to depict the Wodaabe tribe in a wonderfully mystical way.

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Wodaabe: Herdsmen of the Sun
  • Info
  • Release date1989
  • Full runtime49 minutes
  • DirectorWerner Herzog
Written