Evala is a form of
traditional wrestling practiced mainly by the Kabyé of northern Togo, in
West Africa. Competitors meet yearly at a festival following a retreat
marking the intitiation of young men into adulthood.
the penultimate element of this initiation rite, during which young men are
separated from their families for one week, residing in special huts where
they are fed and subject to mental training. Prior to wrestling,
participants go on a pilgrimage which involves climbing three mountains;
those who does not complete it are not initiated into adulthood. Although
wrestlers are initiated regardless of whether they win or not, losing is
considered shameful to the family name.