Chicotte

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Chicotte - also known as Sjambok

The chicotte, also known as fimbo, is a type of stiff single-tailed whip made of rhinoceros hide. The chicotte got its name from the Portuguese word for whip.

Under Belgian colonization, the chicotte was used to punish people who broke colonial regulations. The delinquent was undressed and laid spread-eagled on the ground to have his buttocks whipped with the chicotte.

Use on children

The chicotte was also used in other African countries for the education of children, such as Benin, Central African Republic or Burkina Faso. For example, in Benin, until 1991, it was usual to give the chicotte to pupils who didn't learn their lessons, or which were bad in orthography (French) or arithmetic. The correction was then inflicted in cumulative proportion to the errors made. For example, five errors were permitted in a dictation. If a student made six errors, he would get five lashes with the chicotte; if he made seven errors, the double, etc.

The chicotte is a traditional disciplinary method in West Africa and many Africans accept this punishment out of respect for the tradition.


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