Sunday, November 18, 2012
Khar Bii 'this sheep'
I've been fascinated with the Senegalese TV show 'Khar Bii' (This Sheep) for some time now: it's a reality TV show in an American Idol-style nationwide search for Senegal's most perfect specimen ahead of the Eid al-Adha festival. 'Khar Bii' (now in its fourth season) is the most popular TV show in Senegal. “Some people love cats, some people love dogs. Here we have sheep,” says Abou Aziz Mare, 27. (via) Having never seen sheep like this before I was struck by the enormity of the competitors; they are quite tall and have huge roman noses and long tails. Some of the beloved rams even have personalized collars that spell their name in the colours of the Senegalese flag. Some of the competing sheep abode in permanent structures attached to their families homes; like a kind-of 'Granny flat' for sheep. I first found out about this show after seeing some brilliant documentary photography of the event by Rebecca Blackwell. (Pictured below) “He is like my little son,” Fall says, stroking Papis between his horns. “I prefer being with my sheep to being with people. Sheep don’t talk about insignificant things.” (via)Breeder Pape Dieng massages the head of his ram, Salmane, as judges decide the results of the national final of the televised sheep reality competition Khar Bii, in Dakar, Senegal, on Saturday. Salmane finished third. Image by Rebecca Blackwell. (source) A sheep nuzzles the hand of Ousmane Ndiaye as he explains the pedigree of each of his animals in the sheltered rooftop pens he has specially constructed for them atop his home in Dakar, Senegal. (source) Dogo Ndiaye strokes ram Papis General as competitors await the judges' final decisions, in the Fann area regional final of the Khar Bii competition, in Dakar, Senegal. (source) Each ram competing on "Khar Bii" is graded on a series of physical criteria — including up to five points awarded for the symmetry of its testicles and another 5 points possible for the quality of its coat. How well the sheep marches with his owner is another 10 points. And overall size is key: Papis General Fall at 225 pounds (102 kilograms) failed to advance, and the neighborhood prize went to Alassane — a ram weighing in at 280 pounds (127 kilograms). Ma Ibra Diagne presents ram Sall in front of the panel of judges, during the SICAP neighborhood regional final of the Khar Bii competition, in Dakar, Senegal. (source) "Many of the rams are bathed lovingly in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, on the fringes of the capital, Dakar. The sheep are fed the best of everything and proudly paraded up and down the beaches." 'Sunday is a special day here in Dakar. It’s the day everyone brings their sheep (and there are lot of sheep) to the beach to get a bath. The sheep hate it and do everything to avoid getting wet. The kids love it.' (source) A boy chases a ram into the Atlantic Ocean as residents wash their sheep before sacrifice, in preparation for the Eid al-Adha feast in Dakar, Senegal, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Eid al-Adha festival, known locally as Tabaski, celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell (source) The prized Rams are not usually eaten during the Eid al-Adha festival, but are very popular as studs.