Nubian Wrestling

Every Friday in a marketplace on the outskirts of the city, locals go to watch an ancient sport one practiced by the Nubian pharaohs. Nubian wrestling is a fine art and a display of brute strength and testosterone. The men recall two male lions in battle, fighting over a mate. No blood is drawn, at least intentionally, though in previous years they would strap knives to their wrists.


The object of the match is for a wrestler to flip his opponent over onto his back. This is achieved through biding their time and and bluffing. They begin by cuffing each other on the head and splaying their hands in a taunting manner. Each wrestler becomes more aggravated until one strikes forwards and they lock necks. This is where the test of strength comes in. They will try to grab each others’ arms, then down to their legs; this is the strategy of how to eventually get one’s opponent on their back. They can end up wrapped around in each other in rather compromising positions!


The rules of the match appear to be that either a professional or amateur wrestler chooses his challenger from the various teams present, clad in individual strips. They will usually pick someone of a similar size and build. However, during the match I attended, at one point a slim and agile man bravely opted for the massive bruiser who we’d all been eyeing up. He was clearly suicidal. To our delight, he ended up running circles around the larger man, who slowly became exhausted and was thus defeated. Respect!


The champion with his agent, collecting tips from the spectators


Future wrestlers trying out after the match


  1. akismet-361c66b64722e782f7ef50cc63281e40 said:

    Great story, Simone, and nice pictures. X Dad

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