Little, Kenneth Lindsay. The Mende of Sierra Leone

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter I Traditional Culture And Warfare

1. Some Nineteenth-century Ideas Of The Mende

2. Early Mende Origins

3. Methods Of Settlement

4. The Coming Of The Warriors

5 Warfare As A Cultural Pattern

6. Kabba Sei, The War Chief

7. Military Organization And Tactics

8. Slavery

9. The Freeborn

10. Judicial Methods

Chapter Ii Post-mortem On The Mende Rising 1

1. First Political Contacts With Mendeland

2. Provisions Of The Protectorate Proclamation

3. The Origin Of The Rising

4. The Campaign

5. Lack Of British Military Prestige Before The Rising

6. The Treaties Of Friendship

7. Misapplication Of Administrative Methods

Chapter Iii Modern Mendeland And Its People

1. The Locale

2. Demography

3. The Material Background

4. Mende National Consciousness

Chapter Iv Rice-farming And Land Tenure

1. General Significance Of Rice

2. Upland V. Swamp Rice

3. Cultural Significance Of The Rice Farm

4. Social Incentives And Methods Of Rice Farming

5. The Basis Of Land Tenure

6. ‘ownership’ And ‘holding’ Of Land

7. Rights In Land And Its Inheritance

8. Religious Implications Of Land Ownership

9. Rôle Of The Head Of The Kin Group In Relation To Land

10. The Position Of The Chief

11. Settlement As A Method Of Obtaining Land

12. Pledging Of Land

13. Leasing Of Land

Chapter V Social Organization And Kinship

1. The Maw□ As A Social Unit

2. Domestic And Agricultural Organization Of The Maw□

3. The Local Group

4. The Rôle Of The ‘kuloko’

5. Interrelationship Of Town And Country

6. Subordination Of The Village

7. Implications Of Kinship Terminology

8. Kinship Duties And Obligations

Chapter Vi The Social Cycle And Initiation

1. Infancy

2. Childhood

3. Puberty

4. Initiation And The Bush School

5. Initiation In The Sande

6. Social Implications Of Adult Life

7. Manhood And Womanhood

8. Improvements In Status

9. Widowhood

10. Old Age And Ancestorhood

Chapter Vii Marriage And ‘friendship’

1. Social Significance Of Marriage

2. Prerequisites To Marriage

3. Prohibited Relationships

4. The Humui And Sexual Behaviour

5. The Legal Conditions Of Marriage

6. The Implications Of ‘woman Damage’

7. Ways Of Making A Marriage

8. Marital Obligations

9. The Dissolution Of Marriage

10. Re-claim Of Bridewealth

Chapter Viii The Position Of Women

1. Women's Position A Paradox

2. Tensions Between The Sexes

3. ‘husbandless Women’

4. Difficulties Of The ‘literate’ Or ‘educated’ Woman

Chapter Ix The Chief And His Chiefdom

1. Basis Of Political Authority

2. Political Confusion Following British Protection

3. Partition Of The Mando Chiefdom

4. Succession To The Chieftainship

5. Duties And Perquisities Of The Chief

6. Councils

7. The Rôle Of The Poro Society

8. The Chief's Court And Court Procedure

9. Social Insignia Of Chieftainship

10. Women As Chiefs

11. Other Political Figures

Chapter X Modern Methods Of Government

1. Modern Methods Of Appointing The Chief

2. Introduction Of The Native Authority System

3. Later Developments In Administrative Organization

4. Some Anomalies Of The Administrative Situation

5. The Present Political Trend And Its Possibilities

Chapter Xi Religion And Medicine

1. Introduction

2. The Supreme God

3. Ancestral Spirits 1

4. The ‘dyinyinga’, Or Genii

5. ‘nameless’ And Mischievous Spirits

6. Spirits Of The Secret Societies

7. The Nature Of ‘hale’ Or ‘medicine’

8. Practitioners In ‘hale’

9. ‘bad’ Medicine Men And Witchcraft

10. The ‘b□fima’

11. Practical Uses Of Medicine And Other Medical Paraphernalia

Chapter Xii Cultural Role Of The Poro And Other Societies

1. The Secret Societies As Cultural Arbiters

2. Traditional Explanation Of The Poro

3. Structure Of The Poro

4. Women As Poro Members

5. Poro Spirits

6. The Sacred Bush Of The Society

7. Secret Society Operation Of Medical And Other Services

8. Entertainment And Recreation

Chapter Xiii The Modern Social Trend

1. Factors Promoting Social Change

2. The Significance Of Literacy

3. Some Features Of The New Society

4. Sources Of Social Ambition

5. The Creole As A Cultural Medium

6. The Effect On Group Relations

7. A Structural Analysis Of The Situation

8. Conclusion

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: The Mende of Sierra Leone

Published By: London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951. 307 p.: map

By line: by K. L. Little

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2010. Computer File

Culture: Mende (FC07)

Subjects: Cultural identity and pride (186); History (175); Family relationships (593); Gender status (562); Regulation of marriage (582); Sodalities (575); Infant care (854); Spirits and gods (776); Prayers and sacrifices (782); Community structure (621); Lineages (613); Diet (262); (243565); Extended families (596);

Abstract: This document is a functional treatment of the culture and social organization of the Mende people by a British social anthropologist. The interrelations of the kinship system, the organization of farming, the social cycle, marriage and friendship, the position of women, the role and function of the chief, religion and medicine, and the relation of the Mende with the Native Authority of the British, are all carefully drawn. The role of the secret societies, and in particular the Poro society, as the chief integrating force in native culture, is thoroughly explored. The appendices spell out the role of Islam in Mende life; the organization of the fish industry and its relation to the domestic trade economy; and the manufacture of the characteristic 'country cloths' of the society. Material relating to the British rule over the Mende has been treated from the Mende point of view, although several cross-reference slips will direct the researcher to information on the British role in Mende history.

Document Number: 2

Document ID: fc07-002

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: 1945-1946

Evaluation: Social Anthropologist-5

Analyst: Leslie L. Clark ; 1958

Coverage Date: 1890-1950

Coverage Place: Sierra Leone

LCSH: Mende (African people)


Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the links below to export the citation to your chosen bibliographic manager.

Export a Citation