Bambara Tribe in Mali



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Origin The Bambara are among the most powerful and influential groups in Mali. They are also the largest ethnic group in the country. The Bambara live in the middle valley of the Niger River. They spe

Bambara Tribe in Mali Description

Origin

The Bambara are among the most powerful and influential groups in Mali. They are also the largest ethnic group in the country. The Bambara live in the middle valley of the Niger River. They speak Bamana, which is one of the Manding languages. Bamana is widely spoken in Mali, especially in the realm of business and commerce.

Culture and their life

Most of the Bambara are farmers. Their staple crop is millet, although sorghum and groundnuts are produced in large quantities. Maize, tobacco, cassava, and various other vegetables are also grown in private gardens.

The Bambara farmers also raise cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and chickens. The neighboring Fulani herdsmen are often trusted to herd the Bambara livestock.
Many of the Bambara hunt animals such as antelope, boar, ostrich, and guinea fowl for their meat and skins.

Both men and women share the farming duties. However, the wives usually arrive in the fields later and leave earlier than the men. This gives them time to prepare the morning and evening meals.
Each Bambara village is made up of many different households, usually all from one lineage or extended family. Every household, or gwa, is responsible to provide for all of its members, as well as to help them with their farming duties. Bambara homes are typically larger than the homes of most other West African groups.

Marriage is very important to the Bambara. Although the cost of marriage is high, it is viewed as a type of “investment.” The main purpose for marriage is to have children, which provide the family’s labor force and ensure the future of the family lineage. The average Bambara woman has eight children. All adults are married. Even elderly widows in their 70s or 80s have suitors because the Bambara believe that a wife increases a man’s prestige.

Their Belief based on their origin

Although most Bambara claim to be Muslim, many still follow their traditional beliefs such as ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors for guidance). The Bambara believe that the ancestral spirits may take on the forms of animals or even vegetables. In special ceremonies, the spirits are worshipped and presented with offerings of flour and water. The eldest member of a lineage acts as the “mediator” between the living and the dead.

Location and Size

The Bambara are a large Mande racial group located mostly in the country of Mali. They are the largest and most dominant group in that country. Across the border in Mauritania, there are about 1000 Bambara living near the town of Timbedra. The Bambara live in the middle valley of the Niger River.

 


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