Category: Culture

The collective heritage – the shared perceptions, beliefs, behaviors, and interactions – that at once differentiate and unite the peoples of West Africa. Behind the material expressions of culture, (i.e. language, art), lie the more intangible societal values that create and refine these diverse West African identities.

West African Languages

So prosodic are the primarily tonal languages of West Africa, that most speech reverberates far, able to be beautifully mimicked, rhythmically reproduced, and literally "banged out" through the elaborate talking …

West African Architecture

The wise words of Dogon elders emanate from the low-rising toguna (palaver hut), an architectural structure that itself, ‘speaks’. Its thick roof of millet stalks speaks to the unrelenting Malian sun, …

West African Music

Pestles against mortars, axes against wood, the rattling of loom shuttles, and the gasps of billows all set the tempo, the cadenced backdrop, for traditional West African music. And its …

The West African Mask

As sculptural, aesthetic, and museum-worthy that the mask may be, it cannot, and was never meant to, stand on its own, at least in traditional West Africa. It is but …

The Mandé Ritual Clown

Comedians, contrarians, jokesters and tricksters have made their appearance in all human societies, from the more or less secular, bell-capped court jesters of the English Royal Court to the humorous …