The figure of the village chief

La figura del capovillaggio

Just got to Soutou we were greeted by village chief, who hosted us in his house offering us a good lunch. A moment of genuine conviviality and lightheartedness that we will hardly forget. But what exactly is the role of this figure in the communities of the Senegal? And what other figures regulate the life social And cultural of the villages? Let's find out together!

In the villages of Soutou and more generally in the province of Ziguinchor there are three fundamental figures who regulate the life of the community: they are the village chief, the mayor and the head of the young


  The Head of the Village is the highest spiritual and moral figure in the community. Often it is an elderly person, exclusively male, who receives the assignment on a hereditary basis. He is the first person to welcome tourists and visitors by hosting them in his home and offering them food, in a moment of conviviality shared with his whole family. Its main task is to ensure that the citizens respect the religious and moral rules of the village.                                                                                              


Political and administrative responsibility is instead entrusted to the Mayor of the village, elected according to democratic criteria. It will therefore be up to the Mayor to deal with the social and organizational issues of the community, establishing relations of a political and administrative nature with everyone: farmers, small artisans and traders, obviously without neglecting public institutions such as schools and health centers.



Finally, a peculiar figure of the villages is the leader of the young people. Its role is to bring together the young people of the community and organize games, parties and more generally entertainment opportunities with them. Often it is a youthful and outgoing character, always ready to spend himself on the front line to have a bit of a party. It also plays a very important role in the transition of adolescents to adulthood: every year it takes care of organizing the transition party that marks the entry of boys and girls into the "world of adults". It does this by organizing some sort of ritual-festivals that originate with songs and dances animist typical of the most archaic cultural part of the community, it combines the ceremonies and rites of modern local religions.