Dambe, traditional Hausa boxing, by ‘Wole Hammond

Focus, intuition, tenacity and a bit of luck are some of the things you need to win a Dambe boxing event, a sport of the Hausas in West Africa.

Dambe is a thing of the hands, for the players can only attack with the fist. One of the player’s arms – usually the strong one called the Mashi – is wrapped with a piece of clothing known as the Kara. It is with this arm that the boxer can land effective blows on his opponent. The second arm is used as a shield to protect himself from the attack of his opponent. A winner emerges when any of the hands, leg or body of the fighters touches the ground.

With many spectators watching, singers and drummers making melodies, the fighters are motivated to use their only weapon – the wrapped arm – to fight their way to victory. Beyond the monetary rewards, the pride that comes with winning is another motivation for the Dambe fighters to win.

Through thoughtful action – planning, sponsorship, marketing and organization – this interesting sport can gain both national and international recognition.

Artist Statement

About ‘Wole Hammond
I am a street and documentary photographer who is passionate about documenting people, places and everyday life because I believe that life must never go undocumented. I am deeply committed to telling stories about social and environmental issues around me using photography. Some of my works have been exhibited by the Institut du Francais Nigeria and Photocarrefour, Abuja

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