Earth & Conservation

The Fierce Musangwe Fighters of South Africa

A 200-year-old tradition

The Venda tribe in South Africa has been participating in a fight club, known as musangwe, for close to 200 years. Some of the boys who fight are as young as 14 years old. The musangwe are located in a very remote part of South Africa where it can be hard for men to find employment. It's not uncommon for fathers to leave their family in search of work. When this happens, the eldest son often takes responsibility for his household. Being a musangwe fighter makes him feel strong and capable--more prepared for this important task.

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The leader of the musangwe says that the boys fight, not to hurt one another, but to test each other's strengths and capabilities.