Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Charter of The Ancient Manden Empire: What binds the Clans

The Charter of Kurukan Fuga, re -published here, is a version collected in Guinea at the
end of a concerting regional workshop between traditional and modern communicators
(Kankan: 3 - 12 March 1998).The traditionists are those who declined the texts; then it
has been transcribed and translated, with the help of guinea linguists and under the
supervision of Mr .Siriman Kouyaté-Magistrate and traditionalist (his family is guardian
of the sosoba, in Niagasole, Guinea). Afterwards S.kouyaté structured the charter,
without falsifying the essential point; talking here about the modern judicial texts with a
view to make readable for contemporise (the original text in Malinke is available on the
digital data bank ARTO).
1. The Great Mande society is divided into sixteen clans of quiver carriers , five clans of
marabouts, four groups of “nyamakalas “and one group of slaves .Each one has a
specific and role .
2. The “nyamakalas” have to devote themselves to tell the truth to the chiefs, to be their
counsellors and to defend by the speech the established rulers and the order upon the
whole territory.
3. The five clans of marabouts are our teachers and our educators in Islam .Everyone
has to hold them in respect and consideration.
4. The society is divided into age groups .Belong to the some age-group the people
(men or women) who are born during a period three years in secession.
The members of the intermediary class between young and old people should be
invited to take part in taking important concerning the society.
5. Every body has a right to life and to the preservation of its physical integrity
.Accordingly; any attempt to deprive one’s fellow being of life is punished with death
6. To win the battle of prosperity, the general system of supervision has been
established in order to fight against laziness and idleness
7. It has been established among the Mandenkas,the sanankunya (joking relationship)
and the tanamannyonya (blood pact ). Consequently any contention that occurs among
these groupsshould not degenerate, the respect for one another being the rule
.Between brothers- in-law and sisters-in law, between grandparents and grand-children,
tolerance and rag should be the principle.
8. The keita‘s family is nominated reigning family upon the empire.
9. The children’s education behoves the entire society .The paternal authority in
consequence falls to everyone.
10. We should offer condolences mutually
11. When your wife or your child runs away stop running after her/him in the neighbour’s
12. The succession being patrilineary, do never give up the power to a son when of his
fat hers is still alive .Do never give up the power to a minor just because he has goods.
13. Do never offend the Nyaras.
14. Do never offend women, our mothers.
15. Do never beat a married woman before having her husband interfere unsuccessfully
16. Women, apart from their everyday occupations, should be associated with all our
17. Lies that have lived for 40years should be considered like truths.
18. We should respect the law of primogeniture.
19. Any man has two parents-in-law: the parents of the girl we failed to have and the
speech wee deliver without any constraint .We have to hold them in respect and
20. Do not ill treat the slaves. We are the master of the slave but not of the bag he
21. Do not follow up with your constant attentions the wives of the chief, of the
neighbour, of the marabouts of the priests, of the friend and the partner.
22. Vanity is the token of weakness and humility is the one of nobility.
23. Do never betray one another .Respect your word of honour.
24. In Mande do never wrong foreigners.
25The ambassador does not risk anything in Mande.
26. The bull confided to your care should not lead the cattle -pen
27. The young lady can get married early as she is pubescent.
28. The young man can get married from 20 years old
29. The amount of the dowry is 3 bovines: one for the girl, two for her father and mother.
30. In Mande, the divorce is tolerated for one of the following reasons: the impotence of
the husband, the madness of one of the spouses, the husband’s incapability of
assuming the obligations due to the marriage .the divorce should occur out of the
31. We should help those who are in need.
32. There are five ways to acquire the property: the buying, the donation, the exchange,
the work and the inheriting .Any other form without convincing testimony is doubtful.
33. Any object found without known owner becomes common property only after four
34. The fourth bringing forth of a heifer confided is the property of the guardian of the
laying hen.
35. One bovine should be exchanged for four sheep or four goats.
36. To satisfy one’s hunger is not a robbery if you don’t take away anything in your bag
or your pocket.
37. Fakombè is nominated chief of hunters.
38. Before setting fire to the bush, don’t look at the ground, rise your head in the
direction of the top of the trees to see if they don’t bear fruits or flowers
39. Domestic animal should be tied during cultivation moment and freed after the
harvest .The dog, the cat, the duck and the poultry are not bound by the measure.
40. Respect the kinship, marriage and the neighbourhood.
41. You can kill the enemy, but not humiliate him.
42. In big assemblies, be satisfied with your lawful representatives.
43. Balla Fassakè Kouyaté is nominated big chief of ceremonies and main mediator in
Mande .He is allowed to joke with all groups, in priority with the royal family.
44. All those who will transgress these rules will be punished .Everyone is bound to
make effective their implementation.


  1. Please contact me - I am interested in the historical accounts of Sancho, Sanko, Sankoh, Sonko people. I most anxiously look forward to communicating with Ms. Patience Sonko-Goodwin. I also love to consult griots and members of the kinships of Sancho, Sanko, Sankoh and Sonko people of Pot Loko and other locations in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the basins of the Gambia-Casamance-Geba rivers, in Gambia, Guinea, and Senegal and elsewhere in West Africa. Please facilitate, immediately

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  3. Hi! I'm looking for the original text of the Charter Manden. Can you help me? email: