The Sahara camel race in Niger is indeed a prestigious festival to talk about as people turned out in large numbers to celebrate the renowned nomad festival.
For Khamid Ekwel, his love for the race is like football to Europeans.
“There is football in Europe, here we have camel racing,” he said. Ekwel is popular in the community for raising some of the best camels for racing at the festival.
The race was hosted in Ingall, the northern part of Niger for three days. The festival traveled in the air to invite herders living in other areas. The prestigious festival is usually celebrated after the rains in mid-September. During the festival, people get wedded enjoying traditional music as well as promoting their culture through ritual dance. Herders traveling from miles away come with their animals for treatment as well.
Lads in the community have been highly praised for their unique riding skills. One that stands out is Moussa, a ten-year-old kid. He participated in the camel race returning home with a first prize in one of the events on Saturday.
The ten-year-old kid has been tending to his father’s cattle in the desert and never had time for school. His passion for riding camels and competing in tournaments grew over time. When he was seven, he went on an adventure. “I used to be afraid to ride camels alone,” Moussa said.
He is ambitious and dreams of championing more Sahara camel races in the country and owning plenty of camels in the future.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.