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(african songhai) Cloudred


Major language groups and dialects


Shared customary codes and values

gays are executed

Average technological level

very good for 1500 they had waterways and plumbing

Common Etiquette rules

shake with the right hand only

Common Dress code

the woman had headdresses with gold and other valuables on it and men had large amounts of cloth that covered them from head to toe nearly think Arabic people

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

Once a couple is ready to marry, the groom asks the permission of the bride's father. He is expected to pay his future father-in-law a bride-price, which today is a fixed sum of money. He is also expected to give his future wife and her family many gifts. The expense of marriage makes it difficult for young men to afford to marry. The marriage ceremony is marked by the presentation of gifts. There is also an Islamic contract (kitubi) that binds husband to wife.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

the mother and child are kept from men and are not shown till a ceremony.

Coming of Age Rites


Funerary and Memorial customs

When Songhay die, they are buried quickly and without fanfare. Mourning lasts for forty days. The family receives regular visits from relatives and friends. During these visits people honor the person who died by talking about his or her life.

Common Taboos

being gay...

Common Myths and Legends

The ancestral folk figure Faran Maka Bote is a Songhay culture hero. His father, Nisili Bote, was a fisherman. His mother, Maka, was a river spirit. Faran grew to be a giant with vast magical powers. As an adult he battled a river spirit, Zinkibaru, for control of the Niger River, and won. But he soon became overconfident. Dongo, the deity of lightning and thunder, demonstrated his anger toward Faran by burning villages and killing people. He summoned Faran and demanded that the giant pay his humble respects by offering music, praise-poems, and animal sacrifices. Dongo told Faran that if he organized festivals, Dongo would descend into the bodies of dancers and help the people along the Niger River.


Gender Ideals

men did the work and the woman stayed and looked after the house and children only rarely doing other things.

Courtship Ideals

buying a bride

Relationship Ideals

the man was at the head and the woman followed

Major organizations

nobles – served in government and the military, fought in the cavalry; freemen – independent farmers, fought in the infantry; guild members – craftsmen; slaves – worked especially on royal estates.

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Cover image: Mask brush old books scrolls wood poster banner by Anthony Díaz V


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