It may sound quite unfortunate but really, it didn’t cross my mind to stop by Mauritania on my many travels across the length and breadth of Africa but you know what? I did somehow and I’m glad I did.
Mauritania which geographically links north and West Africa at a point, leaves much to be desired as far as its scenery, culture and ethnicity is concerned. If for nothing at all, you are sure to see camels, feel the fine desert sands and experience a whole new variety of Arab and African cultures.
Because of the positioning of Mauritania in Africa, it has a cultural blend of Arab and Africa which tend to create a wonderful ethnic diversity as reflected in their unique cultural tenets. Mauritania therefore is rich in tradition of games, dances and music, unique marriages etc.
Now there’s this particular culture that kept me amused just by remembering it and I’m referring to the game ‘Anigur’, which looks more to me like an “ I challenge you to cane someone’s fingers hard” lol.
The ‘Anigur’ game
The game of ‘Anigur’ or ‘pin play’ is one of the common traditional Mauritanian games. It looks more like the sword fight however, in this duel, it is done with sticks. Interestingly, this game does not register any loser or winner; the point is that, it is only done with the prime purpose of entertaining audience. While the ‘competitors’ duel, women play drums and ululate (high pitched tongue trill) to encourage them.
Normally, the game is set up between two competitors with sticks, but one may duel with two or three according to his experience and strength. The ‘Anigur’ player is considered to be an important person that people flock to invite to special occasions, although he does not make money from this.
The ‘Anigur’ is also part of Mauritanian wedding celebrations and official ceremonies; it’s a part of the people’s psyche and takes an important place amongst popular Mauritanian cultures.
Watch a video of the ‘Anigua’ between two men as women around them clap to encourage them.1 Comment