The Fulani Whip Match is a very important part in Fulani culture and according to their elders, it helps to determine boys who have turned men through a test of their bravery and strength.
With help from their fathers, two young boys from neighboring tribes are pitted against one another in a violent whipping match, as a test of bravery as well as an initiation into manhood.
Each boy chooses and sharpens a long, thin branch that they think will inflict the most pain on their opponent and when the time for the match arrives, people from all around gather to watch and decide the winner.
After each combatant takes three strikes from his opponent, the crowd chooses the victor based on how well they handled their respective beatings.
During the initiation the men surround the boy that has been beaten with gold coins and powder to congratulate him on staying strong.
Some non-verbal methods of communication would be when you become victor and they lift you up and cheer for you.
There are no key words to initialize the change, the only thing that is heard is the crowd cheering the victor, which is now a man. The cheering shows that the boy has won the battle and that he has earned the right to be called a man. There aren’t any dresses, there is only whips and no shirts.
The resultant scars bear proves that they had passed the ultimate test that qualifies them amongst their people and are now men.
The participants see the ritual as a dream come true because it is their only qualification to be involved in any adult activities.
The initiation is the only way one can be considered a man. It is the only means of earning great respect and manly status in this unique community.