The Nafana Tribe


The Nafana Tribe is a Senufo-related group who, according to oral traditions, migrated east sometime in the seventeenth century in search of fabled gold deposits, eventually settling in a region that now borders the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Their strategic location along the trade routes extending between the Asante kingdom in the southern zone and the Saharan cultures of the northern desert led to an uninterrupted and prosperous exchange of goods, ideas, and institutions.

Time in the Nafana world is governed by the rotation of two calendars- a cycle of six days that rotates against a cycle of seven days, creating a 42-day calendric cycle. A similar calendar governs the passage of time in the Akan world. As among the Akan, certain conjunctions between and six and seven day cycles are considered particularly auspicious for ritual activity, while others bode less well for specific ventures.

Nafana identity is defined by a variety of cultural practices. Their language is chief among them. Additionally, rites of passage, marriage ceremonies, state ceremonies, and their artworks. Nafana artworks convey a connection to the Burkina traditions of contrasting colors and geometric patterns. They are also are known for their huge and ornate vertical plank masks.




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