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1. The Mandinka People of West Africa


The Mandinka people of West Africa number over one million and live in The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau. They are an attractive people and guard their culture and deep traditions zealously. Mandinka Society has three divisions: free-born, artisans, and slaves. The Mandinka are farmers with peanuts, rice, millet, and sorghum being their main crops. Mandinka society is patrilineal (male-dominated) and the smallest social unit is the family.

Islam is practiced faithfully among the Mandinka. Most of the Mandinka observe Islamic rituals with little understanding of what they really mean. Today, it is not uncommon for someone to first pray in the village mosque, then sacrifice a chicken to the "village spirit."

A Sample of the Mandinka Language:

Uâ-da ke yin a to wnyal;
ghôg a wlyèc rin-ku abi lêc,
pan-du abi ben;
puón-du abî loy piñ-ic acit wynal-ic.
Yeke ghog mîwd-kua akolé awtong;
pal ghôg karác-kua,
acit ghôg ya a pal koye ci kerác loy etong ghôg,
ko dûne pal,
bi ghôg kuat temac-ic,
lone koyn ghôg etong kerác.

2. A Hairstyle made famous by 1980s TV Star Mr. T

An unique hairstyle made popular in the 1980s by star of The A-Team, Mr. T. Influenced by the Mandinka Warriors of West Africa , it consists of a partially shaven head with a strip running down the middle of the head from the forehead to the back of the head joining with strips starting at each ear at the back of the head. Can be incorporated with a beard for maximum effect.