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Yoff - The Ndeup Ceremony

The "Ndeup" is a traditional Lebou ceremony. The Lebous consider this a practice to purify a person and the protect it from evil beings. This is anything but a folkloristic ceremony and rather responds to a need for protection. Every gesture has a meaning: the dances, the millet, the beat of the drums together with the litanies pronounced by the priestess. Very few persons and introduced into the secrets of this ceremony which get transmitted from generation to generation, each one safeguarding the secrets jealously. No pictures were to be taken, though snippets of the ceremony are included in NDIR MBENGUE's album video (see previous page).

Following Carla's meeting with the fishermen of Yoff, she participated in the Ndeup ceremony on three different days. In an undescribable atmosphere the drummers and dancers brighten up the inhabitants and onlookers before the priestess enters the fenced space surrounded by old ladies to do her prayers for the entire Lebou community.

Ibrahima Diene, called Para by his friends, explains some aspects of Lebou dances and ceremonies (video).

During the second day of Carla's presence, the inhabitants invited her active participation and practice the ritual greeting in the ceremonial space with the priestess as commonly done by the inhabitants themselves.

In the precious moments of the Ndeup ceremony, tradition does not allow certain acts. The priestess therefore received Carla in her private room where they could discuss Lebou traditions in general and this particular healing practice.

It is in this context that the priestess issued an invitation to Carla to join the great feast of the Lebou community next year. This feast takes place at the end of the wintering (dry) period and lasts 10 days.