Traditional Boxing Festival
Traditional boxing is one of the Ngada and Nagekeo’s well-preserved cultural attractions passed for generations. Local people in Soa community call it “Sagi” or “Sudu” while people of Nagekeo call it “Etu” which both means fight.
Being the war exercise for the warriors in the old times. Sagi or Etu is also a thanksgiving for good harvest. Thus it also a lively celebration with sing along accompanied with bamboo music. It is believed that blood dropped from the fighters bodies marks the blessings for that year’s abundant crop and is anticipated with gratitude.
Unlike modern day boxing, the players wear special gloves named Ta’i Kolo made of palm fiber rod sticks held together using palm tree gum that forms a hard clot with sometimes glass flakes added, then wrapped with a cloth to the size of a adult fist.
The match also serves as a means of strengthening communication, brotherhood and kinship among the villagers. The spirit of brotherhood is highly appreciated that there shall be neither winner or loser from the game and fighters of the same family are not allowed to join. Boxers are called Ata Sagi and each has Sike, a companion protecting and giving instructions when to strike and defend. The referee – Dheo Woe ensures the match run fairly. Spectator or guests are welcomed to box.
This traditional boxing matches are held in almost some places in Ngada and and Nagekeo tribe starting on April to July. You can plan your trip to involve in this local annual event. Go with us to get in depth understanding on the rituals.