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Kono people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Eastern Province (particularly in Kono District)
Related ethnic groups
Mandingo, Vai people

The Kono people (pronounced koh noh) are a major Mande-speaking ethnic group in Sierra Leone at 5.2% of the country's total population. Their homeland is the diamond-rich Kono District in eastern Sierra Leone. The Kono are primarily diamond miners and farmers.

The Kono people speak the Kono language as their first language and is the most widely spoken language among the Kono people. Many youth from the Kono ethnic group use the Krio language as the primary language of communication with other Sierra Leonean ethnic groups.

Unlike many other Sierra Leonean ethnic groups, the Kono people rarely travel outside Eastern Sierra Leone; as a result only few Konos are found in the capital Freetown and in northern Sierra Leone.[citation needed]


The Kono people are the descendants of Mali-Guinean migrants who are said to have moved to Sierra Leone and settled in what is now Kono District in the mid-16th century, however there is archaeological evidence of settlement in Kono District as far back as 2200 B.C.[2] Kono history claims that the Kono were once a powerful people in Mali and Guinea. The Kono migrated to Sierra Leone as peaceful hunters. The tribe was split during partitioning of Africa by European colonists and part of the tribe still exists in neighbouring Guinea.

Attacks from the related Mende people forced the Kono to seek refuge in the Koranko territory to the north, where they were allowed to farm the land. The Mende eventually moved further south, and the Kono returned to their own land in the east.

Religious and spiritual beliefs[edit]

Most Konos practice Islam or Christianity. Some practice traditional religion as well. Konos invoke and pray to their ancestors and other spirits for protection, health, guidance and good fortune. They believe the ancestors are present during every activity, including eating, sleeping, and important events. Some Kono are also superstitious and use curses, omens, charms, and magic in their daily lives.

The Kono people also utilize practices of the Bondo secret society which aims at gradually but firmly establishing attitudes related to adulthood in girls, discussions on fertility, morality and proper sexual comportment. The society also maintains an interest in the well-being of its members throughout their lives.[3][4][5]

Notable Kono people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sierra Leone 2015 Population and Housing Census National Analytical Report" (PDF). Statistics Sierra Leone. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  2. ^ Coon C S (1968) Excavations at Yengema Cave, Expedition Magazine, vol 11 issue 1 September 1968, http://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/excavations-at-yengema-cave accessed 15/10/2014
  3. ^ Pemunta, N. V., & Tabenyang, C.-J. (2017). Cultural power, ritual symbolism and human rights violations in Sierra Leone. Cogent Social Sciences, 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/23311886.2017.1295549
  4. ^ Bjälkande, Owolabi, et al. Female Genital Mutilation in Sierra Leone: Who Are the Decision Makers? African Journal of Reproductive Health / La Revue Africaine de La Santé Reproductive, vol. 16, no. 4, Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC), 2012, pp. 119–31, http://www.jstor.org/stable/23485781.
  5. ^ "FMG in Sierra Leone" (PDF). 28TooMany, Registered Charity: No. 1150379. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 2021-12-28.