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Daily life in Africa

Carved woman

Height: 57.000 cm

AOA 1911-225

Carved figure of a woman

From: Sierra Leone
Date: probably late 19th century AD

As in other parts of the world, many African people give their children special training for growing up. Mende girls aged between six and fourteen join the Sande society for about three years. They live together in a camp outside the village and learn how to be good wives and how to manage a home, but also about jobs, music and religion. They become friends and help one another.

The Yassi society is similar but for both young men and women. This wooden woman, called a minsereh, is used by the leader of the Yassi, who asks the carving for help when someone has broken one of the Yassi laws.