Mandinko Holy Land

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Mandinko: The Ethnography of a West African Holy Land was published in 1980 by Matt Schaffer and Christine Cooper. The ethnographer felt that the entire Senegambian Mandinko were too widespread to cover in one ethnography so instead he focused on one of the former kingdoms known as the Pakao. The fieldwork was undertaken in 1972. The Pakao villages are located in southern Senegal. The Pakao consists of three different villages known as “the triangle.” They are called Dar Silamé, Mankono Ba, and Souboundou. They interact together for religious purposes because it is believed that “Allah answers the prayers offered in the three villages, whose mosques are believed to have special powers (23).” They believed that they were favored over the neighboring…show more content…
Artisan- praise singers are subdivided into three more groups: smiths, leatherworkers, and praise singers. Praise singers are subdivided into four other groups: the fino, the joka, the kora, and the balafong. The three main castes are primarily endogamous. Some marriages have taken place between slaves and members of other castes but only if the slave’s owner does not mind setting that slave free. If the slave’s owner allows the slave to become free then the slave must pay something known as “freedom money” in order to officially gain freedom. Although they are slaves some of them farm their own land and work for themselves. Owners are usually descendants of the slave’s ancestor’s owners. Slaves are able to acquire wealth. For example, Karafa Cissé of Dar Silamé owned a large herd of cattle and may have even been the richest man in the entire village. Slaves also attend mosque side by side with people of other caste and they are equally devout Muslims. Castes impose no theoretical limitation on who can become a marabout. Most marabouts, a Muslim religious leader, are of noble descent. Artisan- praise singer is the only caste that may be a profession. There are no noble or slave professions but any able- bodied man will at least
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