are an Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...
and one of the largest groups in the Ivory Coast. The Baoulé are farmers who live in the eastern side of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The Baoule people are represented by religion, art, festivals, and equal society . There are more than sixty-five different Akan
Akan, also known as Twi and Fante, is an Akan language that is the principal native language of Ghana, spoken over much of the southern half of that country, by about 52% of the population, and to a lesser extent across the border in eastern Côte d'Ivoire...
-speaking ethnic groups living in Cote d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...
. They live essentially in the middle of the Cote d'Ivoire between the Comoé River and the Bandama River
The Bandama River is the longest river in Côte d'Ivoire with a length of some 800 kilometers. The south-flowing river is fed by the Marahoué, Solomougou, Kan and Nzi rivers and empties into the Tagba Lagoon and the Gulf of Guinea....
. They played a role during 20th century history.
In the 17th century the Baoulé left present day Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...
and traveled west into present day Côte d'Ivoire under the lead of the Queen Pokou. According to oral tradition, the Baoulé were forced to leave Ghana when the Ashanti rose to power. While they were fleeing for their lives they came to a large river
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...
that they were unable to cross. With their enemies chasing them they began to throw their most prized possessions into the river. It came to the Queen's attention that their most valuable possession was her son. The Queen realized that she had to sacrifice her son to the river and threw him in. Upon doing so hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...
es rose from the river and allowed them to cross, saving their lives. After crossing, the Queen was so upset about losing her son that all she could say was "baouli," meaning: the child is dead. From that point on they were known as the Baoulé.
One of the favourite pastimes is the game “Atté,” which is similar to the North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...
n version of marbles
A marble is a small spherical toy usually made from glass, clay, steel, or agate. These balls vary in size. Most commonly, they are about ½ inch in diameter, but they may range from less than ¼ inch to over 3 inches , while some art glass marbles fordisplay purposes are over 12 inches ...
: Ivorians utilize nuts
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...
, not marbles. An odd number of nuts are placed in a circular pattern in the centre of two opposing teams. The two teams, roughly 30 metres apart, take turns throwing nuts at the circle of nuts. Once a nut has been hit, it is eliminated, and the team that hit the respective nut gains a point. The game ends when all the nuts have been eliminated, and the team with the most nuts at the end of the game wins.
The Baoule religious world consists of three realities :
- Domain of God (Niamien)
- The earthly world, area of human beings, animals and plants. Also geniuses who though they are supernatural beings with vast powers
reside in the mountains, rocks, rivers, forests, etc..
- The beyond (blolo) where the spirits of the ancestors reside
Ivorian children begin aiding their parents with the everyday chores of life at very young ages. As soon as they are old enough, they either carry water from the village pumps or heavy loads of food and firewood to the village market. The boys, when old enough, may even help their father with clearing vegetation.
Like several other groups with Akan origin, Baoulé children are often named according to the day of the week or the circumstances under which they were born. For example, a male born on a Monday would be named Kouassi. However, there are slight variations in the spelling and pronunciation specific to the Baoulé. It should also be noted that the Baoulé have a calendar that is different from the calendar of other Akan ethnic groups. This may be due to the circumstances of their departure from Ghana and the need for them to mark a separation with the Ashanti Kingdom. For ethnic groups such as the Ashanti, Abron, N'zima, Koffi may be a name for a boy child born on Friday. For the Baoulé, Koffi and Affoué are names for Saturday, the day being Foué. there is, therefore, a sound common to the day and the names.
- Sunday: Kouamé, Amoin; the name of the day: Monnin
- Monday: Kouassi, Akissi; the name of the day is: Kissie
- Tuesday: Kouadjo, Adjoua; the name of the day is: Djole
- Wednesday:Konan,Amlan; the name of the day:is: Mlan
- Thursday:Kouakou, Ahou; the name of the day is : Ouwe
- Friday:Yao, Aya; the name of the day is: Yah
- Saturday:Koffi,Affoué the name of the day is: Foue
Education of Ivorian children
Education in the Cote d'Ivoire is extremely competitive. Those families that can afford giving their children a private education assure themselves that their children will receive a formal education. However, if you are in the public schooling system competition is fierce. In order to progress certain grade levels you must pass an exam where only a certain number of students are allowed to progress.
Due to lack of financial means, most Ivoirian children use slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...
to practice their writing and other homework. Small notebooks are also widely available for doing homework and are turned in to be graded. Many homes have a wall with a large chalkboard where children are tutored or practice subjects that they have learned in class. In school, Baoule children speak complete French, but at home they speak their native language of Baoule
Baoulé is a Central Tano language spoken in Ivory Coast.The Baoule are an Akan people of the central region of Ivory Coast. Baoule-speaking areas include Bouaké, Yamoussoukro, Bouaflé, Béoumi, Sakassou, Toumodi, Dimbokro, M'Bahiakro, Tiassalé....
. French is taught to them in grade one and they speak it just as fluently as Baoule by grade six.
One interesting note is that unlike in the American schooling system Ivoirians never learn how to print their letters. Cursive is all that is used.
With regard to the Ivorian economy, coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...
and cocoa are referred to as the chief cash crop
In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for profit.The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family...
. Up until the present day conflict, the Côte d'Ivoire was the world's largest exporter of cocoa. With respect to the local Ivorian economy, resources such as firewood and yam
Yam is the common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea . These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania...
s are transported to local markets and sold to other Ivorians or even foreigners. Within the local marketplace, one can find a wide array of goods, including tailored clothing, boiled eggs, popcorn and lingerie.
The Baoule people arrived from Ghana and already knew how to use metal. When they moved to the Ivory Coast, they learned how to use metal. This combined made them talented in African art. They are known for their unique mask and sculpture making. One of the kind of masks is the Goli kplekple mask.
The bonu amuen is a dance to protect the village from threats and it appears at the commemorations of death of notables. The Baoulé wore a wooden helmet that stands for a buffalo. Then they wore suits with raffia and metal bracelets for the ankles. The snout of the costume has teeth, which they believe a strong animal would defend them.
The staple food of the Ivorian diet is the yam. The yam is boiled, and, when cooled, pummeled into a mush to be eaten. Yams, in addition to corn, are stored until they are needed. Foods other than yams are obtained from the local market. The most important food of the market is fish, which is wrapped in palm leaves, an economically efficient alternative to wrapping paper. Ivorians typically receive their meat from goats, sheep and chickens, which happen to be shared by the entire community. They receive their milk from their goats and their eggs from their chickens.
One of the basic tools employed by the Baoulé populace is the machete
The machete is a large cleaver-like cutting tool. The blade is typically long and usually under thick. In the English language, an equivalent term is matchet, though it is less commonly known...
. The machete’s uses can include clearing vegetation or the construction of a paddle or canoe from logs. Another one of the tools employed by the Baoulé populace, is the snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...
shell, which is used for grounding and pounding tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...
, for the manufacture of snuffs.
The Baoulé political structure is simple; several senior village leaders get together and discuss various issues affecting their village. Each village is ruled by a village-chief (for small villages) or by a queen or a king(for large villages) assisted by somes notables or advisers. Queens and Kings rarely speak in public, but via a spokesman. Villages were dependent on others to form a canton or a tribe. Each canton is also ruled by a queen or a king. Everyone has a say, even slaves, and everyone was friendly and social. Baoulé political organization is matriarchal and Women s rights are very sacred.
Role in the 20th Century
The Baoule also played a role during 20th century history. They had the longest war of resistance to the French than to any other West African people. They maintained their traditional objects and beliefs longer than many other groups while often in contact with Europeans.