Sande Society; Art of the Mende Peoples




Mende People

Sande Society



color symbolism


body mutations


Poro Society



The Mende people are an ethnic group made up of mostly farmers.  They live on the West coast of Africa in Sierra Leone.  The Mende are divided into two groups.  The halemo are members of the hale or secret societies and kpowa are people who have never been initiated into the hale.  The Mende believe that all humanistic and scientific power is passed down through the secret societies. A person who does not belong to these societies is thought of as "an ignoramus, a simpleton, a fool." (Boone, p. xi)  The proverb, "There is a thing passing in the sky; some thick clouds surround it; the uninitiated sees nothing" (Boone, p.xi) refers to the lack of wisdom of the uninitiated saying that they do not know that the sun is still there when it is cloudy.

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