19 x 24” Digital Print on archival paper
Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Print of 50
©1999 Djibril N’Doye
M’Batjh is one of the most culturally rich times in the work of a rural farmer. When the millet reaches maturity, it is time to separate the grain from the chaff. The harvest is gathered up and left out to dry. The natural drying process can last several weeks. This period provides a sufficient amount of time for the farmer to invite cousins, friends, and neighbors to help out because the manual threshing requires a lot of endurance and very strong arms!
The day of “M’Batjh”, the harvest in piled high in the middle of the group who form two half-circles. The farmer has cut branches approximately 2 meters long, one for each helper. The leader of the group sings, and, along with the beat of a drummer, the rhythm guides the two groups to hit the grain pile alternately. The work can last a whole day, sometimes longer. The farmer’s family who organizes the M’Batjh always prepares and serves a meal for everyone involved.
If the season is good, the M’Batjh can produce 1, 2, or 3 tons of grain which can provide enough for the farmer’s family to last 1 or 2 years.
“M’Batjh” illustrates the joy of life in a community. All the work is done by “volunteers” who rotate this practice among families.