Sunday 5 June 2022

Mende People of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia

Mende people can be found in Sierra Leone,  some parts  of Guinea and Liberia, they are part of the Mande speaking people also they grow crops such as yams, cassava, millet, plantain, and other crops. They occupy  small towns and villages from sections, and several sections make up up the chiefdom, each section is headed by a Sub Chief who is the eldest suitable descendant in the paternal line of the founder of the area, Chiefdom is headed by a paramount Chief choose on same basis.  

According  to other accounts on Mende People, Mande language  group It is believed Mende migrated from Present  day Sudan to the north, the oral traditions of the Mende a peaceful migration into the area that  may have spanned the period from 200 AD to 1500 AD and Mende ethnolinguistic group which belong to the larger  Niger Congo phylum living mainly in Sierra Leone with a small representation in their neighboring Liberia and Guinea, they are considered to be Sierra Leone aboriginal.   

According to Mende history they are descendants of the 13th Century Mali Empire that migrated from Present day Sudan before settling in Mali Empire later settled in Present day Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea also among Mende the Poro Societym membership in the Poro is necessary for anyone in a position of authority, Poro and other societies educate the boys and girls. Mende art is associated with Initiation and healing it includes wooden masks,  twin figures, medicine objects, Utilitarian objects such as heddle pulleys are decorated with carved  heads or unique designs. The Mende mask is very important in the Sande female society  the Bundu mask represents both ancestors and feminine ideal, this mask is sculpted by men, outside of the village  in the bush and it is worn by women in the helm shape of Bundu mask have a diamond shaped face with a rounded forehead place under a high coiffure a very elaborate form, the face emerges from a wide neck, folded with rings superpower one on top of the other and that create puffy folds synonymous with prosperity, the mouth is tiny, a sign of obedience. 

In Mende concept Ngwo is God the creator of the Universe who is accompanied by Ancestors, women act as intermediaries between the spirits world and earthly world. Mende music the common singing form is Solo with refrain, sung by both men and women the main instruments providing rhythmic variation  are Kelei slit log drum, Sangbei, Single skin drum and secure the rattle, Mende songs feature traditional themes of love, war, death, liner notes contain song description, substantial cultural, and historical  information about Mende and illustration. Mende art is the form of jewelry and carvings, the mask are associated with fraternal and sorority associations of Marks and are probably the best beside celebrations in Sande Initiation there are 3 major events in which the ndoli  jowei  appear publicity,  the first occurs 1 to 3 days after the Initiates have been take into the bush to be circumcised,  this event is known as Yams gbegbi. Hojo is a clay which is a white clay the clay comes from the water like many other aspects of Sande it's smooth, shiny surface,  reflects light,  making it eye-catching, Hojo is found in scale of colors from beige to pure white, Hojo is more rare, found only deep beneath the surface of the water, Hojo symbolized world, society secret parts and aim for highest standards known and finely crafted in the region, Mende also produce beautiful woven fabrics which are well known such as gold,  silver,  necklaces,  bracelets, sellers and earrings and most hunters often wear a single bell that can be easily silenced when stealth is necessary, Ndoli jowei is a principal spirit for celebration  although she also appears on other occasions, during slave trade Europeans captured Mende to Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico,  USA, Jamaica, Chile and other parts  of the Americas and Mende masquerades  the occasions for each masquerades are setup according  to traditional  calendar, Gbini is considered to be the most powerful of all Mende maskers Gbini appears at the final pulling ceremony of Poro Initiation for a son of the paramount Chief and also at the coronation of funeral of a paramount Chief because of its power, women stand far back from Gbini, Gbini wears a large leopard skin which indicates its association with the paramount Chief and Sleep promotes and represents the images of women in festive contexts and Mende performed dances such as mask dances including Matorma, Gobi, Sleep mask dance and other kinds of traditional dances.

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