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Mandinka

The Mandinka people of West Africa number over one million and live in The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau. Mandinka society has three divisions: free-born, artisans, and slaves. The Mandinka are farmers with peanuts, rice, millet, and sorghum being their main crops. Mandinka society is patrilineal (male-dominated) and the smallest social unit is the family.

Islam is practiced faithfully among the Mandinka. Most of the Mandinka observe Islamic rituals with little understanding of what they really mean. Today, it is not uncommon for someone to first pray in the village mosque, then sacrifice a chicken to the "village spirit."

A Sample of the Mandinka Language:

U-da ke yin a to wnyal;
ghg a wlyc rin-ku abi lc,
pan-du abi ben;
pun-du ab loy pi-ic acit wynal-ic.
Yeke ghog mwd-kua akol awtong;
pal ghg karc-kua,
acit ghg ya a pal koye ci kerc loy etong ghg,
ko dne pal,
bi ghg kuat temac-ic,
lone koyn ghg etong kerc.

Alternate spelling of Mandinka are: Mandingue, Mandingo, Mandinque and Manding.


Mandinka is also the name of a unique hairstyle made popular in the 1980s by star of The A-Team, Mr. T. Influenced by the Mandinka warriors of West Africa , it consists of a partially shaven head with a strip running down the middle of the head from the forehead to the back of the head joining with strips starting at each ear at the back of the head. It can be incorporated with a beard for maximum effect.



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