Duniart – Photography and Blog by Toine IJsseldijk

Sisemba – Tana Toraja, Sulawesi

September 2020

Sisemba in Toraja language means kicking each other’s feet and is a foot fighting game. This tradition is held as a feast after the rice harvest and to show gratitude for an abundant harvest.
 
Sisemba is played by two teams: the villagers who host the harvest feast and the residents of neighboring villages. Each team consists of pairs of fighters, going hand in hand. Only legs are allowed to be used to fight and referees make sure some basic rules are followed. For instance, it is not allowed to kick anyone who has fallen to the ground. Referees also make sure emotions don’t take over too much and assure that eventually the game also strengthens the ties of brotherhood and friendship between villagers.

 

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