Biafada people

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The Biafada people are an ethnic group living in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Gambia. This group is often considered as a subgroup of the Tenda. In Guinea Bissau, they are divided into four groups. A small group live on the north bank of the Geba River and speak the dialect Gool. Two other large groups reside in Quinara Region, the southwestern part of the country, and they speak the dialects Bubwas and Guinala. The fourth group live in the southern province of Tombali, on the border with Guinea Conakry, and speak the dialect Bagandada.[1]

For a long time in modern history, they were grouped into three kingdoms: Biguda, Guinala and Bissege.[2]

The Biafada speak the Biafada language, a language belonging to the Niger-Congo languages family. Like most West Africans, the Biafada are farmers. The staple crops for these people are maize, cassava and rice. However, due to globalization, they also raise other crops which originated in other parts of the world: squash, melons, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes. Devoted to livestock, the Biafadas raise sheep and goats, but only for meat, as they do not drink milk from those animals. This reduces the importance of the hunting in the community.

When an individual is about to enter puberty, develops a ceremony to launch. One characteristic of these ceremonies is the practice of circumcision. Normally, male circumcision is practiced, but sometimes also practice female circumcision.

In more conservative families it was forbidden for a woman to become pregnant before marriage. If this happened, the woman and the man were subject to a heavy punishment known as' di minjer justisa '(literally:' justice for women"). This was banned by the government of Guinea Bissau in the seventies. Polygamy is common among the Biafada, probably due to its current Islamic religion.

The majority of Biafadas are Sunni Muslims. However, some are Christians (Catholics) or animists, believing that objects have spirits. The Biafadas mix Islam with animistic rites. There are also about a dozen Biafada Protestants, most of them resident in Biafada, and some more that are Biafadas Catholics in the capital of Guinea Bissau. However, they are not practicing. [1]


  1. ^ a b The Joshuaproject: Biafada people. Retrieved March 5, 2013, to 02: 18 pm.
  2. ^ ORIGEN EN AFRICA DE ALGUNOS APELLIDOS (in Spanish: African origin of some surnames). Retrieved in March 05, 2013, to 12:39 pm