Scattered in small villages across one of the most picturesque parts of Senegal, live the Diola people. Diola means ‘payback’. This is because of their habit to do back what's been done to them, either good or bad. Find a new rhythm in their music-loving culture and learn more about their crop-growing expertise on this enlightening experience.
Region is Central Africa
Climate here is Tropical
The Casamance region is very fertile making it ideal for farming. People living by the river fish, while the communities living in forested areas gather edible leaves and fruits.
The Diola villages feature simple homes made of mud walls and grass thatched roofs. The more wealthy, however, tend to live in more modern rectangular homes with corrugated iron roofs .
The Diola have a classless society where all members are considered to be equals. Elders are a highly respected part of the community. villages feature simple homes made of mud walls and grass thatched roofs. The more wealthy, however, tend to live in more modern rectangular homes with corrugated iron roofs .
Today, Diola practice their traditional beliefs alongside Islam or Christianity. The traditional supreme being is called Emit, or Ata Emit, and resides in the sky.
The Diola are famous for the akonting, a folk lute instrument. Music is very important in their daily lives. Masked dancers also often perform at key ceremonies and events.
Jola-Fonyi and Kujamataak are languages spoken by half a million people in the Casamance region of Senegal, as well as neighbouring countries.
Known for their brilliant carving skills, local craftspeople create drums, canoes and more out of wood. With the arrival of tourism, some carve objects which are then sold to visitors.
The Jola participate in traditional Islamic holidays. They also have several initiation ceremonies, while funeral ceremonies are also important celebrations within the community.
In 1982 after Senegal obtained independence from France, the Diola people protested against their government, demanding independence from Senegal. Breakaway rebel movements and government forces are still fighting on the territory.