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 Religion(s)

Though a majority of West Africans have now adopted Abrahamic religions such as Islam or Christianity, there are still pockets of people who adhere to the spirituality of their ancestors. …

The Sogo Bò Masquerade

"We were in the center of the village and children, playing the djembé, poured out from everywhere. Young people announced the performance by blowing through cattle horns; adults were adorned …

The Masons of Djenné

The master mason makes his way through the maze of twisting alleyways, staircases, rising spires, and banco houses that not only typify Djenné, but designate it as a World Heritage …

Twins

Whether kicking up red Sahelian dust or the sands of the lower-lying coastal plains, the footsteps of twins throughout West Africa leave an indelible print along a customarily unified, synchronous …

The Puppeteer

The West African puppeteer lurches, leans and sways, giving himself over to the demands of his carved creation. He is at once ajogi, a Yoruba dancer of the wooden image, …

Rhythm

So synonymous is rhythm with life and movement, that many sub-Saharan languages, like Igbo, Efik, Hausa and Yoruba, do not have a distinct, disambiguating, readily translatable word for rhythm ― …