Tuesday, May 6, 2014



The people of Mende being the largest ethnic group in Sierra Leone historically has being known for its cultural domination and expansion (referred to as “mendenization) among its neighboring tribes for a long period of time even the days of colonialism in Sierra Leone. They have strong cultural values, beliefs, and traditions which bind them together and are being passed on from generation to generation. They have come to impact their culture on their less populous neighbors. For instance, the Gola and the Krim affirm to being culturally influenced heavily by the people of the Mende’s.
Their geographic mobility explains aspects of Mende cultural diversity, particularly dialectic differences.
Located in the coastal areas of West Africa they have a typical equatorial climate, with wet and dry seasons each lasting about six months which makes up a good climatic condition for their subsistence method of farming and animal domestication.


Political leadership is structured that political leadership rests on the shoulders of the section chief or subchief who in most cases is the oldest person and most suitable in the male line usually from a descendant of a victorious warrior and founder of the settlement. The chief and his council of subchiefs, title holders and village heads make decisions on matters of public interest, settle disputes and punish lawbreakers.



These factors among others are what make the people of Mende unique in their own way and the reason they continue to thrive and adhere to their own traditions in this modern era.

Monday, May 5, 2014


The people of Mende account for about one-third of the population of Sierra Leone. Linguistic and cultural traits suggest that the people of Mende descended from the thirteenth-century Mali Empire. Before the eighteenth century Mende territory did not extend to its present coastal areas, and territorial increase resulted from wars. Through wars and raids and subjugation and enslavement of other peoples, the Mende assimilated other groups, such as the Sherbro and the Vai. Mende cultural expansion and domination, referred to as "mendenization," continued through the colonial era, although more peacefully as Mende settlements spread in the trading areas. This geographic mobility explains aspects of Mende cultural diversity, particularly dialectic differences.



The people of Mende occupy the southern and eastern parts of Sierra Leone. Their territory falls within the rain forest belt of West Africa. The narrow strip of coastland forms the western and southwestern boundary between the Mende and the Sherbro-Bullom, the Krim, and the Vai. To the easternmost part of Sierra Leone and the northeast are populated by the Kissi and the Kron peoples, respectively. The Jong, Sewa, and Moa rivers flowing from the more hilly northern region of Sierra Leone intersect Mende territory in the west, center, and east.
Historically, from the sixteenth until the early eighteenth century, the people of Mende were aggressors against their neighbors: the sherbro-bullom, Vai, and Gola. Mende fighters participated in the wars and revolts of the colonial period, which ended in 1961 with the independence of Sierra Leone.



The Republic of Sierra Leone is located in coastal West Africa. Sierra Leone has a typical equatorial climate, with wet and dry seasons each lasting about six months. Due to condusive climate within the regions of the Mende's, they are blessed with a variety of birds diversifying these areas. Some of these birds include:

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. Generally have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers. They have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. Interestingly out of the 20 species worldwide, 1 only species is found in Sierra Leone and in the lands of the Mende.


Shearwater petrel bird
These birds are generally characterized by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 4 species are found within the homelands of the Mende's.
shearwater petrel bird

Large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 1 species is found in the Mende regional lands.

pelican bird

The Phalacrocoracidae
The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating sea-birds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage coloration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colorful. There are 38 species worldwide and 1 species can be found in the main lands of Mende.
a phalacrocoracidae bird

  • http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/66/Podiceps_nigricollis_001.jpg/300px-Podiceps_nigricollis_001.jpg
  • http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?&id=HN.608028581684578648&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0
  • http://www.birdsgallery.net/gallery/pelicans/pelican_3.jpg
  • http://www.hat.net/photo/africa/30_birds/cormorants/070920121344_cormorant.jpg
Marriages are mostly exogamous and patrilocal within the mende's. It's a sign of social progress, and chastity is frowned upon and considered abnormal. For a man, Polygyny enhances a man's social caliber and prestige. Economically, polygyny provides labor to the family for farming when children are being born into the family. Divorce traditionally is not common, but exceptional circumstances can lead a marriage to be dissolved after which the bride-wealth is refunded to the husband.
 Patrilineal form of inheritance is very common in the inheritance system of the Mende’s. After the passes away, his immediate heirs to his land are his brothers in order of age, followed by his sons and then his daughters. In their absence, the matrilineal system of inheritance prevails and the nephew becomes the heir.
Religious Beliefs:
Priests serve as mediators between the local people of the Mende and their deities. They offer sacrifices to the deities to ask for protection and favor on behalf of the local people. There are also diviners, traditional physicians who diagnose illness, interpret omens and predict the future. The traditional healing doctor takes the functional role of the priest's in ritual healing and prepares protective charms against evil and harmful spirits.


Sande, also known as bundo is a women's association found within the culture where girls are initiated into womanhood with notions of morality and appropriate sexual conduct being instilled in them. In these rites, women are made to wear wooden face mask controlled exclusively by women – a feature which underlines the peculiar social position of women within the society.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

World of the Mende
People of Mende practice the chieftaincy rural system whereby each chiefdom is made up of different sections with each consisting of a number of villages or towns. Traditional houses are built relatively close to each other and are usually round or rectangular in shape built from mud daub and palm thatch as roofs. 
typical mende house 

The subsistence way of farming is the most common farming method, where families engage in gardening
around their family homes to grow crops like cassava, yam, millet, rice and vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, chili peppers,etc.
Animal domestication is purposely done for meat and poultry for eggs and excess of food is being sold at the market and those they couldn't produce is being acquired at the market place.

Manufacturing of crafts in the form of earthenware, brooms, mats, etc is very common. other forms of industrial artifacts include simple farm tools like machetes, hoes, rake; and sculpted objects like masks, ritual objects,etc used during traditional ceremonies and festivals.