Evala (Togo)

Evala (Togo)

Name of sport (game)


Name in native language

Place of practice (continent, state, nation)


Initially practiced in the nine Kabyè districts, the evala wrestling has crossed the borders of the Kozah province. The Yaka district in the Doufelgou province also practices it now, not to mention at least 13 other districts — Lama, Pya, Tchitchao, Yadè, Bohou, Kouméa, Sarakawa, Landa, Djamdè, Yaka, Tcharè, Soumdina and Lassa.



Evala is a traditional form of wrestling whose purpose is to overthrow one's opponent and which takes place every year in Kara, Togo.
The fights take place in teams of 5 young men from 18 to 20 years old. The techniques seem rather unstructured. Each fight ends with the victory of the competitor or with a draw at the limit of the fight time. No final ranking is established, only the valiant behavior of the wrestlers remains.

Current status


Evala is the very first introduction to the human life of the teenager Kabiye. Before being subjected to these rites, young people have long been prepared psychologically and physically. In Kabyè country, a young person who shies away from this initiation suffers reprisals from the wise men, his parents and the whole of society. He's sort of excluded from the community.
The primary purpose of this operation is to accustom the young person to endurance, courage and stoicism. The cultural aspect of the event is heightened by the sacrifices that the teenager must make: fasting, sexual abstinence and the scarifications which are the outward signs of the warrior.
The traditional aspect of the ceremony is revealed by the presence of the elders of the community. It is these wise men who ensure compliance with the rules, ensuring the management and arbitration of tournaments. The dates on which the ceremonies are held are fixed by the consultation of the oracles followed by the authorization granted by the high priest called "Tchodjo". After the struggles, traditional priests tour sacred places to thank the ancestors for allowing the ceremony.




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