Senegal Everyday Life

How do you live in Senegal? Imagine that it is pretty warm. Cars drive through the streets, but there are also quite a few donkey carts. They are fully loaded with people and things. Women wear brightly colored, wide dresses and sometimes a brightly colored cloth that is wrapped around their heads. Things are transported on the head: fruit or water, for example. Babies and small children are carried on the back.


Traders sit by the roadside. They sell bananas or tangerines. Otherwise you can get everything you need for life on the market: not only food, but also clothes, shoes, jewelry, furniture, telephones or technical devices. In the cities there are also small supermarkets called boutique.

Nakangadef, Toubab?

If a white man comes by, you shout afterwards: “Nakangadef, Toubab?” This is Wolof, the language most people speak in Senegal. It means, “How are you, Europeans?” Young children who have never seen a white-skinned person are sometimes frightened at the sight or even cry.

Driving a taxi

Those who don’t want to walk in a city can take the minibus called Car Rapide (fast car) or Sept Places (seven places). You only drive off when all the seats are occupied…

Music and dance

Music plays a major role in everyday life. Everyone likes to sing, dance and clap. Whether in the market or on the street, you can always hear singing and drumming. And, of course, that applies even more to celebrations and celebrations. The Muslim holidays are of particular importance, since the majority of the population belongs to Islam. This is how the Tabaski Festival of Sacrifice is celebrated, during which every family slaughters a sheep.

Families in Senegal

The families are big in Senegal! For more articles on Senegal and Africa, please visit estatelearning. Each woman has an average of 4.6 children. The adult children like to live in the same house with their own children, cousins ​​or other relatives. Which child belongs to whom does not matter. People of the same age see themselves as cousins, even if they are not really related to each other. Everything is shared. Doors are always open. Older siblings help and take care of the younger ones.

Families in Senegal

Who is the first wife?

Because several wives are allowed in Islam, this is also more common. Then the man and his wives and the respective children either live together in one house or each woman has her own house. Depending on whether the wife is first, second or third wife, her position also depends. For example, the man celebrates the religious festivals with the first wife.

The father determines the people and religion

Incidentally, children always receive the ethnicity of their father if father and mother come from two different races. The child’s religion also always becomes that of his father. A Muslim can certainly marry a Christian. The tolerance towards the other religion is great. It is considered important to believe in a god at all. They also celebrate both Muslim and Christian festivals together, such as Christmas or Tabaski, the Muslim festival of sacrifice.

Housing and water

In the villages, people mostly live in huts made of clay. They are covered with palm leaves. Window glass is just as unnecessary as heating – it’s always warm. Most families do not have toilets. You crouch behind a bush! There are, however, aid projects through which standing toilets were built. You get water from a well. Most people don’t have electricity. In the city there are mostly stone houses, they are usually one or two story. The supply of running water and electricity is better here.

Woman thing

Women are responsible for the household. You wash the laundry (by hand!), Cook a warm meal twice a day and wash everything afterwards, also by hand, of course. Washing machines or dishwashers are only found in very rich families and they are rare in Senegal. In order to process the millet into flour, it must first be pounded in huge mortars. The room and yard are swept several times a day – because dust and sand are omnipresent. Many women also earn money, work as tailors or sell something in the market or on the street.

Ibrahim and Awa

And what are the names of the children in Senegal? Boys are called Ibrahim, Mamdou, Amadou, Abdoul, Babacar, Lamine, Cheikh or Moussa, for example. Girls are called Awa, Fatou, Anna, Marième, Yacine, Khadi or Mariama. Typical surnames for the Wolof, the largest people in Senegal, are Mboge or Njie.

Clothes and hairstyles

Women very much like to wear dresses made of colorful fabrics and with many patterns. Most of the time they buy the fabric for it on the market and then have the dress made from it. Most of the time, they also wear a headscarf made of the same material. A piece of fabric can also be tied around as a skirt. They also like to wear earrings.

The hairstyle is also important. By the way, many women wear wigs! So it looks like they have a lot of hair! Girls also love small braids and corn rows. The hair is braided very close to the head so that it looks like a row of kernels of corn.

What is a gris-gris?

Almost every child wears a gris-gris around their neck, arm or around their hips. This is a necklace that serves as a lucky charm. Beads, shells or small leather bags with similar contents are attached to the chain. The Gris-Gris are said to bring luck, avert pain or ward off disease. You get the Gris-Gris from a kind of medicine man who practices the natural religion.

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