Each year, Errou Sisse spends about eight
months in the Sahel, grazing his cattle and battling to keep his herd
alive and healthy. He
will continue to do so until he marries.
For centuries, Errou's Fulani people have grazed
their herds in the Sahel to escape the seasonal
flooding of the Niger River delta. Though cattle
herding earns only a subsistence living, it is
highly respected by the Fulani. Women from
Errou's village in Mali, Djafarabe, regularly greet
returning herders with town-wide celebrations.
But recently, the Fulani herders have run into
obstacles. Taxes imposed on the herds as they
cross national borders are cutting into income.
Frequent drought throughout the Sahel
presents an equally daunting challenge. In the
end, these obstacles may outweigh tradition.
Errou dreams of getting married and moving to
Bamako, Mali's capital, where he can work as a
shopkeeper or businessman and live a more
comfortable life. The one catch is the bride.
The filming of Errou's long-distance romance with Ica, a Fulani girl
from Djafarabe, promised the happiest of endings. But it was not to be.
After shooting for AFRICA wrapped, Ica and Errou went their separate
ways. In the end, Ica's parents objected to her match with this most
industrious of cattle herders.