Discover Wolof

Wolof, also known as Olof or Volof, is a West Atlantic language of the Niger-Congo language family. It is spoken by nearly 6 million people in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania.

Main Communities

Dakar (Senegal), Banjul (Gambia), Rosso (Mauritania)

Wolof Names and their Meanings

  • Fatou - Fulfilment  or Happiness
  • Yaakaar - Hope
  • Guèye - Noble 
  • Cheikh - Leader or Noble
  • Gorgui - Boss, Chief

Staple Food

Thieboudienne – a rice and fish dish. it includes vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, eggplant and cassava. Thieboudienne is a great source of protein from the fish, carbohydrates from the rice, and various vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.

Culture and Traditions

Griot -  Griots are community historians who pass down the community's history and values through storytelling, songs, and poetry. The role is typically hereditary. Griots perform at special occasions and also serve as mediators and advisors. They are very respected members of their communities.

Laamb - traditional type of wrestling.  It is a national sport in Senegal and Gambia with a confederation and championships. The goal of Laamb is to life and throw one’s opponent to the ground outside a specific area. As of the 1990s, there are two formats - one that allows blows with the hands (frappe) and without hands (sans frappe).

Notable figures:

Akon - Musician. He rose to international fame in 2004 with his singles “Locked Up” and “Lonely. Akon is also a record producer and entrepreneur. He has won several awards including the American Music Awards and World Music Awards. 

Ndaté Yalla Mbodj - ruler. She was the last great queen of the Waalo kingdom. Ndaté Yalla Mbodj is celebrated for her resistance against French colonialism.

Cheikh Anta Diop - historian. He is well known for his work on pre-colonial African culture and history. Diop's work continues to influence scholars and activists around the world to this day.