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Fact-Check: Old Clip of Ritual From Senegal Shared as 'Slave Market in Ethiopia'

The video shows the rite of passage ceremony known as Ndut in the Serer ethnic group in Senegal, West Africa.

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A video showing people covered in white cloths with several others standing around them is going viral on social media platforms, specially X (formerly Twitter).

What is the claim?: Users have claimed that the video shows a slave market in Ethiopia and shows women being sold in the markets in Africa.

The claim had 1.2 million views on X at the time of writing this story.

The video shows the rite of passage ceremony known as Ndut in the Serer ethnic group in Senegal, West Africa.

An archive of the post can be found here

(Source: X/Screenshot) 

(Archives of similar claims can be found here, here and here.) We received a query about this on our WhatsApp Tipline.

What is the truth? The video is from Africa, but it does not show women "slave market" in Africa.

  • The video has been on the internet since 2022 and shows the 'rite of passage' ceremony, known as "Ndut/Ndout" amongst the Serer ethnic group in Senegal, West Africa.

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How did we find out?: Using a virtual private network (VPN), we conducted a reverse image search on Google and found a similar video from Djilass, a village in Senegal, uploaded on 27 December 2022 on short-form video hosting platform TikTok.

  • The text on the video read "Ndoutt Djilass 2022." We searched the same on Google and found that it was a rite of passage ceremony, known as "Ndut/Ndout/Ndoutt," in the Serer ethnic group in Senegal.

The video shows the rite of passage ceremony known as Ndut in the Serer ethnic group in Senegal, West Africa.

Here is a comparison between the viral video and Tik Tok video. 

(Source:X/TikTok/Screenshot) 

What is the ritual about?:

  • We searched more about the ritual in Senegal and found the following facts.

  • Ndut is an ancient rite of passage for men ceremony in the Serer ethnic group found in Senegal.

  • In the elaborate ceremony, preparations are done in the form of music, dance and other festivities and at the end, the boys are circumcised and 'welcomed into adulthood'.

  • According to "You Can Also Cut My Finger!": Social Construction of Male Circumcision in West Africa, a Case Study of Senegal and Guinea-Bissau by Cheikh Ibrahima Niang and Hamadou Boiro, Ndut, means, nest or the hut where the initiation takes place.

  • According to "The loincloths of the circumcised" (translated from French to English) by Aurelie Troy, the white loincloth is used to hide the Seereer from the view "during the festivities which inaugurate then close the rites." 

The video shows the rite of passage ceremony known as Ndut in the Serer ethnic group in Senegal, West Africa.

Here is an example of the ritual. 

(Source: Seneweb/Screenshot)

  • We found other videos of the ceremony on TikTok. Some of them show boys sitting under white loincloths.

The video shows the rite of passage ceremony known as Ndut in the Serer ethnic group in Senegal, West Africa.

The video was uploaded on 14 May 2022. 

(Source: TikTok/Screenshot) 

The Quint has reached out to social anthropologist Cheikh Ibrahima Niang for his input and the story will be updated as and when we get a response.

Conclusion: The viral video does not show women being sold in African markets rather it is a visual of the rite to passage ceremony, known as "Ndut/Ndout/Ndoutt" of the Serer group in Senegal.

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Topics:  Africa   Webqoof   Fact-Check 

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