Portal:Serer people

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Symbol of the Ndut initiation rite
Welcome to the Serer people portal!
Ndalin poortal Seereer
Bienvenue sur le portail Sérères

The Serer people's portal

Youssou N'Dour's show in Warsaw (13 September 2009).

The Serer people are an ethnic group found in Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania. They make up the third largest ethnic group in Senegal and can also be found in the West. Their current population is over 1.8 million (2011). According to some scholars, they are among the oldest inhabitants of the Senegambia Region. The Serer group comprises the Sereer (the Serer people or Seex), Niominka, Ndut, Saafi, Noon, Laalaa and Palor. The Sereers are the most numerous among the Serer group. Although all the Serer group are ethnically Serers, some of this group do not speak the Serer language but speak Cangin languages. The Sereers speak the Serer language, and the Niominkas speak one of the dialects of the Serer language. The Serer precolonial Kingdoms included the : Kingdom of Sine, Kingdom of Saloum and Kingdom of Baol. The Kingdom of Baol was previously ruled by the Serer paternal dynasties such as the Joof family and the Wagadou maternal dynasty (Bagadou in Serer) at the time of the Ghana Empire. The Wagadou's were princesses from the Ghana Empire who married into the Serer noble families. These old Serer paternal noble clans descended from the ancient Lamanes (the old kings and landed gentry among the Serer noble classes). Traditionally, the Serers are landowners, mixed-farmers, fishermen and boat builders. Many of Senegal and Gambia's notable people come from this ethnic group. The famous Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour and the Gambian historian Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof are from this group. Although there are some Serers who are Christians or Muslims, many Serers adhere to Serer religion especially in the Sine area of Senegal. The Serers (and the Jolas) are the last to embrace Islam among the Senegambian ethnic groups and spent nearly a thousand years resisting Islamization. Serer medieval to 19th century history is characterized by resisting Islamization.

More about Serer people...

Selected article

Serer civilization : The spots where the Senegambian stone circles stand were ancient burial grounds. The stone circles that runs from Senegal to the Gambia were built by the ancestors of the Serer people.
The prehistory of the area where the Serer have lived for generations has been extensively studied and documented over the years.

Several material relics have been found in different Serer countries relating to their pre and ancient history. Some of these relics included gold, silver and metals. Laterite megaliths carved planted in circular structures with stones were also discovered in Serer countries. The controversial Tiemassassien culture dates back to either the Neolithic or Upper Paleolithic Era. The Cult of the Upright Stone and mummufication of the death were part of Serer religion.

Selected biography

Yandé Codou Sène (also Yande Codou Sene) was a Senegalese singer of Serer heritage. She was born in 1932 at Somb in the Sine-Saloum delta and died on 15 July 2010 at Gandiaye in Sénégal. She was the official griot of president Léopold Sédar Senghor. Most of her music is sung in the Serer language. Yandé Codou sings in the old Serer tradition and have had a significant impact on Senegambian music as well as artists including Youssou N'Dour whom she has inspired immensely. Although she has been singing since she was a child and have had a profound effect on Senegambia's music scene, she did not record her first album (Night Sky in Sine Saloum) until she was aged 65. Her first recording debut on an album "Gainde" was in 1995 that she shared with Youssou N'Dour (another Serer but who tends to sing in Wolof) in which she received rave reviews.

Serer religion

The Star of Yoonir, symbol of the Universe in Serer cosmology. Commonly known as the Star of Sirius.

The Serer religion, a ƭat Roog (the way of the Divine) is the original religious beliefs, practices and teachings of the Serer people. The Serers believe in a universal Supreme Deity called Rog (variation : Roog) also known as Rog Sene. Serer religious beliefs encompasses ancient chants and poems; veneration and offerings to the Serer Gods, Goddesses, Serer Saints and ancestral spirits (Pangool), astronomy, initiation rites, medicine cosmology and history of the Serer people. Rog is both everywhere and nowhere. That is why there is no house of Rog. The Serers pray to Rog (through intercessors), but do not make direct animal sacrifices to Rog.

There is no heaven or hell in Serer religion. The immortality of the soul and reincarnation (ciiɗ in Serer language) is a strongly held belief in Serer religion. The Pangool - ancestral spirits of those who lived pure lives after they have passed on to the spirit world (Jaaniiw) are canonised as Holy Saints, and will be called upon and venerated, and have the power to intercede between the living and the Divine. Acceptance by the ancestors who have long departed and the ability to intercede with the Divine is as close to heaven after one passes over. Rejection by the ancestors and becoming a lost and wondering soul is as close to hell in Serer religion.

Religious calendar

2012 Calendar

Serer religion

  • Xoy
  • Jobai
  • Randou Rande
  • Mindisse
  • Mbosseh
  • Mboudaye
  • Tobaski
  • Gamo
  • Tourou Peithie
  • Daqaar mboob
  • Raan - Thursday 3rd May at Tukar, Senegal.
  • Sam Southieh
  • The royal struggle
  • The massacre of Cadde
  • The session struggle at Ndiaye-Ndiaye
  • Khanghere
  • Diouck
  • The consultation at Ngalagne
  • The session struggle Jiloor - Jijaak


Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof

I have been born in knowledge.
Geidj Faye (a Saltigue)

(Oberdiek, Ulrich, "Anthropological Abstracts", Volume 2, p 126, LIT Verlag Münster (2004), ISBN 3825880109)

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Selected picture

Buur Sine Kumba Ndoffene Fa Ndeb Joof.jpg
Credit: Les Nationales Archives Du Senegal

Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Fa Ndeb Joof (reigned: c. 1898 - 1924)

Did you know...

Anthem : Fañ na NGORO Roga deb no kholoum O Fañ-in Fan-Fan ta tathiatia. - [No one can do anything against his neighbour without the will of the Divine (Rog)].
Motto : Dial - fi - mayou to Tiin. – [Selflessly serve and produce].
The Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune
a 19th century Royal War
19th century junjung of Sine
Date 18 July 1867
Location Kingdom of Sine, now part of independent Senegal
14°40′N 17°25′WSenegal
Result Serer victory
Muslim Marabout Serer people
Commanders and leaders
Maba Diakhou Bâ
(Almamy in rebellion)

Damel-Teigne Lat Dior Ngoné Latyr Diop
(King of Cayor and Baol)
Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof
(King of Sine"Maad a Sinig")

Maad Amad Ngoneh Joof
(King of Thiouthioune and uncle of Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof)
Units involved

Maba Diakhou Bâ :

Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof :

  • Buumi - Somb
  • The Great Jaraff
  • Maad Patar (King of Patar)
  • The Sandigue Ndiob
  • Maad Amad Ngoneh Joof (King of Thiouthioune)
  • Maad Semou Gallo Joof
  • Mbagne Somb Faye
  • Makhoureja Ngoneh Joof
  • Army of Sine
The Muslim Marabouts prevailed in the early hours of the battle, but the Serer army held firm. In the latter part of the battle the Marabouts were defeated. Maba Diakhou was killed and his body decapitated. Damel-Teigne Lat Dior Ngoné Latyr and Bourba Jolof Alboury Sainabou Njie fled. Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak was injured. Mama Gaolo Nyang was held prisoner.


Serer topics

For more Serer related topics, see Category:Serer people.