The Mandinka

"A bird is in the air but its mind is on the ground."

Wherever you are it is important to remember where you come from and what is important.

The Mandinka are a beautiful people known for their musical abilities.  They live throughout West Africa, predominantly in the Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea.  These are some of the poorest areas of the world and most live on less then $300 a year.  Living on sustenance living the Mandinka form very close knit groups which depend heavily on each other.  The Mandinka live in village groups that are independently governed by village elders and chiefs.  The women work tending rice fields and planting other substance crops while the men pursue the cash crops of peanuts and corn as well as take on other jobs during the dry season.    

A largely oral society Mandinka will many times speak 3-4 different languages.  They are almost all familiar with Arabic from studying in Koranic schools and are predominantly literate in Arabic.  Before the Islamic invasions the Mandinka were animistic followers, believing in spirits and in natural forces but during the invasions and since that time more then 90% have become followers of Islam.  


The Mandinka are amazing dancers and are especially known for their dancing and singing.  They are the makers of the kora and many dancers and singers will tell stories through the use of these instruments.  It is believed that when the kora player plays the instrument and the singer become one.


More African Groups

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