The bouéni ticklers


Zaïna Méresse

Bouéni is the Shimaoré word for woman, but it conveys more than that. A bouéni is mature, imposing and plump. No zero size models here – buxom wives are seen as a sign of vigour and prosperity. Nor are they in any way shrinking violets, Mayotte being traditionally a matriarchal society. There was thus considerable sadness last year at the death of Zaïna Méresse, the last of the bouéni ticklers. The tickling women movement began in the 1960s, a reaction to the threat of independence from France, which the bouénis were keen to avoid. Whenever a Comorian politician arrived in Mayotte, he’d be surrounded by a goup of bouénis who tickled him into helpless, squirming laughter while they repeated their demands. In the 1975 referendum, the three other Comoros islands voted for independence, while Mayotte opted to remain French, a result due in no small part to the ticklers. If only today’s world leaders could be tickled into making good on their promises.


Les Bouénis, Cyrille le Corre


7 thoughts on “The bouéni ticklers

  1. Had Gandhi and other deceased leaders of his ilk had been alive today, they would have tickled themselves to death learning about Mayotte remaining French due to the ticklers! Unfortunately, most world leaders need be flogged into making good on their promises.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW great post Curtis: I love it that buxom women are valued and admired in Mayotte and that political change occurs by tickling.

    Incredible! If only the rest of the world would follow suit! Mr Obama and Mr Putin, stand back whilst we tickle you! Although the ticklers probably wouldnt get past first level of the bodyguards and the ticklers would be accused of being terrorists and sentenced to death!

    Liked by 1 person

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