how the country of mali put me to shame

I recently decided that I should do more anthropologically minded posts, because I am an anthropologist. While I do post quite a bit about primates, I am sorely lacking in posts about cultures that western civilization may not know about. I was thinking that maybe I would do a post about the pygmy people living in the Ituri or maybe the aboriginals in Australia. Little did I know I would be learning, not only about a new culture, but a whole new country. A big country. That country is called Mali, and the main tribe of Mali is called the Bambara tribe.


Mali makes the list of the 25 poorest countries, though it exports gold and cotton. It was a democracy until the military seized power in 2012, and they have been at blows within the boarders of their country ever since. Al-Queda’s allies eventually seized power and Tuareg rebels took control of the northern part of the country and claimed independence. But through it all, the Bambara tribe have stayed.

Photo from Times LIVE. From article titled "Mali war escalates with French intervention"
Photo from Times LIVE. From article titled “Mali war escalates with French intervention”

It is sad how little information I could find on the Bambara. Most of the information I got was from a mission website, which honestly horrified me. This is opinionated, and I am allowed my opinions, so no nastiness for saying this. These missionaries state on their website, Joshua Project, that “Prayer is the key to tearing down the remaining strongholds that are keeping them from knowing the Truth.” These people are actively working to tear down a culture that has endured for centuries because the tribes refuse to accept their churches. It honestly breaks my heart.

Photo from UCLA
Photo from UCLA

The Bambara are an agriculture-based society who farm during the short rainy months, though will also farm livestock throughout the rest of the year. They believe that marriage will increase the status of the men so much so that even the elder widowers will have suitors. The elders in the tribes will act as shamans and relay messages from the dead to the living.

Photo from All Posters
Photo from All Posters

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