In Wolof, the most widely spoken African language in Senegal, wrestling is called “Laamb” or “Lamb Dji.” In Serer, another popular African language with at least five dialects, it’s called “Njom” according to Wikipedia and “Lebel” according to Sidy, my Senegalese husband. He says most people here simply call it “Laamb.” In French, the “official” language left behind by the colonizers, though currently only spoken by about 15-20% of the citizens, it’s called “La Lutte.” Senegal is a complicated place; there are 39 languages spoken in the country of nearly 17 million inhabitants. No matter the language or the word used to describe it, many would agree that wrestling is the national sport, competing only with their love for futbol (soccer).

It’s not like wrestling in the United States, the entertainment only wrestling or the actual sport but maybe a combination of or an influence to both. The main similarity is that they are trying to pin their opponent. In Senegalese wrestling the match is over quickly, lasting just 2-3 minutes. Once a participant hits the ground the match is over and the other participant prevails.