One day I was on the riverbank behind the Great Mosque. There was a pregnant goat that fell into the water. A friend of mine told me:

“Idrissa, you have to save this goat!”

I undressed and put my clothes on an old boat by the water. When I had taken the goat out of the river I went to get my clothes and I saw something pull my clothes into the river. I wanted to dive to get my clothes back but I hesitated because what I had seen was so strange…

Back home I explained to my mother what had happened. She instantly went to see Marabout Amma Lamine Kebe, asking him for advise. Amma Lamine told my mother that the goat belonged to the river spirit Mame Coumba Bang and because her son had saved the goat the river spirit was now angry with her son. He said: “If your son goes back to take his clothes you will never see him again!”

There is a place in the river called wakhande. In general, a body that ends up in wakhande will never be found.

“Oh wakhande! Tell me when you’re full, we want the bodies of our loved ones back!”

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Waxande – Stories From The Senegal River by Idrissa Diop (texts) and Jarmo Pikkujämsä (photographs & translations) © LATE AFTERNOON PUBLISHING Photo © Jarmo Pikkujämsä

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