Fetishmen bless The Ball

We are invited into the home of a very respected local fetishman, a marabout of the animist tradition. A small mud building in the middle of Teli awaits out presence. We are welcomed and Phil presents The Ball to him.

Phil presents The Ball to the fetishman
Phil presents The Ball to the fetishman

Our Dogon guides translate as Phil explains about The Ball. The fetishman holds, examines and feels The Ball — then he cleans and places a mat onto the dusty floor in front of him. The plaited mat is like a map and, as he places it on the floor, he draws lines and symbols in the dusty ground around it.

Cowrie shells tell The Ball's fortune
The fetishman throws down shells and interprets their meaning

He throws cowrie shells on to the mat and interprets their meaning based on where they come to rest. This mat and these shells form relationships beyond our comprehension. After several rounds of throws and much speaking to himself, he is ready to speak to us all.

“There will be a happy and a good end to the tour. It will finish well. You will make it to Johannesburg and it will be a happy time.”

The fetishman outside his home
Standing in front of his home, the fetishman wishes us well

Later, another animist, a local hunter, rolls The Ball up and down his ceremonial totem polls, lingering over the chest areas of each female statue – almost as if he is listening to them, perhaps using The Ball as a medium.

Animist hunter and The Ball

“The Ball is special” he says.

Written by on Thursday, April 1st, 2010

7 comments on this post

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alive & Kicking, The Ball. The Ball said: New blog post: Fetishmen bless The Ball https://theball.tv/2010/blog/2010/04/01/fetishmen-bless-the-ball/ […]

  2. The shot of the hunter and The Ball may just be the most iconic image I’ve ever seen. The Ball is MAGIC!

  3. I am tweeting and posting the hell out of this…you are on your way to the center of the universe.

  4. […] A Dogon fortune teller tries to divine the outcome of a soccer match with cowrie shells. (Source) […]

  5. […] Un voyant dogon essaye de diviner le résultat d’un match de football avec des cauris. (Source) […]

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The Ball 2014 left England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.