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iHISTORICAL. STUD.
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CENTRE FOR HISTORICAL
sTUDIES Bt. ORAL
(ORGANIZATION OF iFRicN 'UNITY)
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IN MENDE SOCIETY
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Niamey, July 1980
CLHSOT/ER/5
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,0:.-. toI " ,
1. The Kwa speaking Peoples of Liberia
2 Denkyira 2
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3. Oral Traditions of Sierra Leone
Some Names and Place Names in Mende Society (Sierra Leone)
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Organization of African Unit Y
Centre for Linguistic and
Studies by Oral Tradition.
B.P. 878
Niamey (Niger)
.1 :
INTRODUCTION
Divinition as an art and an attempt to probe
know the future and thereby control events, i5 a commen socio-
cultural phenomenon among West Africans. The origin of the art
of divinition itself is deeply rooted in history.
What makes one system of different from another
is the employed by each group of people. However,simi-
larities do exist as to the and instruments,utilized by
different . the fqcus of in
every society is the, . In every sqciety mentally
engaged in the quest of fully events that are in-
., t '.' '." ".
comprehensible within.the,frameworkof their environment. When
baffled.beyond.
are too complex to an extent that they tend te unhinge their
psychic equilibrium, they resort ta a process that would explain
such events.
The Mende people of Sierra Leone who inhabit the southern
and sorne portion of, the eastern part of the country are no
ception.
Divinition in traditional Mende society reflected Mende
weltanschauung, i.e. their view and philosophy of the world.
Their's was a world, of the
mystery. For instance,the death of a child was supposed to
be due ta Bither witchcraft or the vengence of an ancestor.
The witch could be located in the community or else-
* ,) * .
where, by employing ,the services of a diviner or
If the indeed the responsibility not
just be aside as due to over-used land, but to sorne
diabolical forces have contrived to rQb the farmer of
his bountiful harvest. Befare setting out for a long journey
,
* Diviner &oothsayer are used interchangeably.

- 2 - .
t is necessary'to asertain one*s se6urity. When a husband
visited by he sought the a sooth-
sayer, him tb place responsibility on his wife as a
result her {nfideiity,
It is within 'socia-cultural autlook that divinition
tiaditionai society had become
assumed a' religious signi ficance. This 'religia'us element was
. ., ,
relatd to Mend'e belief in thei!' ancestors, in ':God and'. in ,thef
< - :art" of diviri"i't'{'on 'a" process of cdmmunication be"tween
,.
... " - ,... ,_., ,-
. tt is quest 'for explanation
of evs'nts',' 'quest' to knaw 'the present' and the:
future that reinforced the of :diviner in ....
society.
: . ' i' ...
Divinition then, or the art itself in Mende
'. ' ..
society should be seen in the context of Mende cosmological,
religious and moral ideas, set in the backgrond of the material
environment 'and social It is withiri this coritext
that the whole fabric of Mehde social cohension and sclidarity,
between the living and the dad was conceived.
,AND 'ntvINATION
Divination as a form of:religious practice was and'still
is a common phenomenon in This isso whether in
and post Divination is
from the belief in a Supreme Being . As .
and the individual's sense of lack of:60ntrol over
his social, eeonomic material he tries
to eomprehend and bring under his control the that
belieges are responsible for his problems.
Every ethnie group in Sier.ra Leone b.eli.ev..e.p. .;i.n._.
of a Supreme Ambng the Mende people, He is called NGEWD?
among the Temne, KURU and among the Limba, KANU, etc. To say
that these people were pagans or superstitious before the advent
of Islam or Christianity is misunderstanding of sociological
- 3 -
the sociology of The existence of God,
Allah, His .Omnipotence f p. His benevolence 9 in SLlm: .
aIl His attributes are firmly entrenched in the psychic of
of traditiorial man and this is sa even today, at a time when
man,_ is in fact bf3coming 0
Thus, illnes8, problems, difficulties, anxiety creating
situations, a run of long life, death
1
all are
cribable to the will ahd decision of God. Similarly, recovery
from illness, a run of good luck, a harvest, a nartow
and other are seen in the context of
divine causation, In short, for traditional man, God is supreme.
. 1
It is; the means of solicitation, of approaching and
nicat-ing .with God seems ta have di ffered and for sorne, still
It is this mode of communication with Gad by Africans
that to my knowledge ha sibeen misunderstood by missiol1aries
as superstitious and pagan
o
Thus, a careful observer would notice that. in
society, whereas on the verbal level. good and bad fortune,
happy and unhppy events are as the result of the
the will and the decisions of Gad, on the practical level.or even
when rituals are performed; the ancestors
When a member of the family, lineage or community
falls ill, it is the ancestors who are called upon to bring
about his or her recovery. When a house has. been constructed, a
ritual ceremoney asking by the ancestors for its
inmates is performed. At planting and harvest time, the ancestors
are supplicated
p
again by the performance of a set of rituals to
1
help secure a bountiful harvest. After the harvest, a series
of is again performed ta thank the ancestors and to give
them their share of the The question naturally
why.does God,:the Being figure so prominently in the
or beliefs of traditional man, whereas on the
4 ...
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ritual 'or practical level, the ancestors become the centre of
interest and the point of To questioh:
it is necessary to dwell briefly on the Mende conceptions of
&".. '" e '4:., -,
the origin of the
Ta the Mend& people, as ta many,other African peoples,
. :
God created the earth in it; man, animaIs, plants,
the to God as the
Chief Creatort the Chief of the Earth.
Bot for aIl that He is not regarded as immanent. Having
created the world He retired tO,the Though He continues
to take an the affairs and 'fhe fa te
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of man. He in fa ct far too removed from of
, .. .
This physical distance between God and' man aiso makes him
:tous and ,ins..r..utable. Therefore t get in touch wi th' Him', man
t6 find a medium. And is wherethe ancestors come into the
picture
o
Amdng the Mende. death is regarded as the definltive qualifi-
cation for aceptence\ as an The de ad are cdnceived
of beirig not only physitally nearer to God, but are also
believed to be in direct cbhtact with Him. Their proximity to Gad
and their capacityto Him directiy invests ,the
with spiritual or supernatural powers. At the same time, the
aneestors, in sd 'far -s'S they had lived on earth also of;"" ,
human qualities. This ambivalence that attends the fact of death
makes it possible for the living to get in touch with God through
the agency of the ancestors. There is, thus, no gap between
theory (belief in God) and (ritual centered around the
ancestors) as might first appear ta be the cass.
It i9 also illustrative to point out that man does not in
fact communicate directly with the ancestors
o
Thus it is not
possible for me to know definitively why l received a snake bite,
or ta say exactly the reas9n for the death of a member of the
family, the failure of the harvest or sorne other calamityo In
t.
... . :.
t.
this';respct, l hve te '. resort to .namely; a.'-,
. diviner. Diviners commurd.cate direc-."!.y \Ji"ch -Che ancestors. They
were the media for communicating with the
c"stors with man. The' raIe of the diviner.: in 'society \rJas alrr:ost "'
infinite in this respect. Diviners were' ta be endow8d
with" prophetie powers as a result of their'ability ta relate with
man dead. Through them message ta the living
ancestors was communicated. 1 t was' :,them :that man ,knew
the reasons why particular befall an
individualj the family or the community as a whole o
The hunter. who wishe.d to _.set . out for the hunt will consul t
"
a ,diviner, sa w,as the. who wanted to venture into the
river. Diviners were for virtually
tel .. do of which hewas and .u.r:'der-
standing.
" :
It was contrary tothA social cbde for seek
tane of a diviner in the' .. t of evil designs.. One eouJ of
course seek th assistance of the' sorcerer" .. Often, the" same, man
was 'possessed of bath' The, point however is that man
w'as' concerned wi th the safety and order of' his" environment, not
the destruction of li fe, for the attainment of ends: t:het: were
of social and
reiatiortshlp the dead .. and the living was conceived
'of' in reciproca'1' 'terms and positive ends. The ance:5'tors .pro.tect
the living' memhers of the communi ty,' the 'fam:ily and
assist them in brnging 'about a desired state of affairs .and
generally concern themselves with the weIl bein.g :of aIl tbe mem-
bers of the familyor The living members in turn, reci-
procate by the ances't,ors. Such remembrance involved
the occasional performance .of ri sha..r,ing the. harvest by
putting food by the grave-side and rendering of
communel feasts as a token of forthemo
A breach df, reciproci ty l'"y sour the hearts of the ancestors 0
Many misfortunes and unpleasant cccurrences.irl
lineage are ex-plained in terms of neglect Qf It
aften happens that someof the ancestots in some
living members of the family ta complain of some neglect or trans-
gression of the moral code. Such dteams get definitive interpreta-
tians by The tould ,say, nit 1s due fact
that' you failed last year ta offer the annual ri tuaI, demer:tded of
you as an elHer that ancestors X has made your ill etc
In these circumstence one 'is supposed ta ,take the appropriate:
. .
measures to remedy the situation.
One should add that since the ancestors are regarde'd and
treated merely as a medium through whom God may be cohtacted,
neither the Mende ancestors nor the
performed in their hanour should be as constituting
superstition. After al1:- it can be a:rgued that the seme idea
of approaching God through a medium is amply demonstrated in
the reverence both Christians' and sholllJ for. Jesus Christ
and respectively. One is inclined ta for inotance,
what is the yardstick", by which, the;,) christian missionaries r,egard
theit own beliefs, andrituals expression of the one true
r"eligioh a'nd anything from i t as ah expression of
superstition and an 'act of, paganism., '
The relationship between God ; the' anc'estors 'and diviners
and man was one of a' network 'of cpmmunication. T.his
was a reflex of the social structure of societies.
The diviner' s 'role in this network was productive in
that he served s an agent for bringing about social
among the living and and, the ancestors, md
between man and God through the ancestors
o
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To understand in its total context,
l have decided to present several case studies. These'are pre-
sented in their entirety. They ae concrete summary of'Mende
conceptions of their world in sa far as this makes for meaning and
unit y in their environment. AlI the case studies are actual
life experiences.
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Informants gave reasons why they consult soothsayers or
Il s.aid that consulting diviriers or' 'soothsayers
was a traditional practice handed over to them by theirr pre-
decessorso their living have ta maintain
the customs and traditions of theit ancestors. The diviner
... ....
theY,said helped them in unknown. A diviner could
tell a thief iD the communty or the cuse of cleath.' Otherwise,
"
they would have had to g6 ta the poli6e to
The diviner could tell them about their past, present and future.
their guides in life ahd without
t '.
them they will be living in complete darkness. Man s always
nat sure about the outcome of any . .Y. ...
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to the outccim of such it was one
".
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"In our society, may like most societies, we live in
a state of mutual
.. . 1 .
We attribute to
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and good ta Gad .. Thus you will find out that we only consult
a diviner when evil befall us. When the godd'things in life
happen to us we do not bother to find out. In 'this' regard we
take it for granted. It is Sod".
Informants revealed sorne instances or situations that lead
them ta solicit the services of a diviner as follows:-
1. When a man wants to get married
2. When there is problem in the home
3. When issues are not forthcoming with
4. Repeated death of children of a pouple,
._ ... _ ...... _ ..... , .. , .. _ .. -... _ ....... _.-_ .... ',
5 ... When looking. for a job -_._-.. __ ..... _ .... -...... .
6:" looking for asch.olarship
7. . ..When promo.tian is nat, forthca.ming in ane t s jab
8. one's buainess is not flourishing
,9. When laokiD9 for a 10an.
10. When travelling
11. When place nf residence
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12. When a house
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13_ Ta find out whether a pregnant woman will' deliver a
baby boy or girl
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14 prolo,!",ged labout by a preg'nant woman
15. asbertain the of serious illness
16. When the harvest fails
t
etc. etc.
j7. When there !s a court case between individuals
18. In a contest for power
19. When somethihg is lost
20. Initiating one's child into secret etc
THE DIVINERS INSTRUMENTS
These are familiar items employed by diviners in their
trade. Most of the informants agreed thet there may be sorne
other devices, but from the following are the ones
they are familiar with:;..
;
1 Smooth pebbles
..
2. Mirror
3. " Sand
4. Cowrie Shells
5. Peanut peel
6. Ordinary wate1
Hot oii
8. Hot pot
9. Whip or broom
10. Ashes.
THE DIVINER'S MEDIA OF OPERATION
1 The instruments or paraphernalis which soothsayBrs or
diviners employed are varied as they are complexe One of my
informants told me that she had occasion to consulta diviner
when her only son died ln circumstances she considered mysterious
On this particular situation,the"diviner used pebbles. The
diviner brought his little sac which was made of goat"skin. The
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contents were full of angular, round and smaath stones.
They were many. She said that she was unable ta eount them,
The diviner sat on a sheep skin spread in the, mlddle the roomft
The diviner emptied the contents of the sac on the goat skin.
The lady sat in a distressed eauntenanee. The diviner was mani-
pulating the pehbles in diverse ways.
The cliviner asked the woman what her mission was about.
The lady explained about the mysterious death of her son. After
a brief period of esoterie utteranees, the diviner handed four
pebbles to the lady. He told her to say anything she wanted
to the pebbles. The lady did as instructed. She then handed
the pebbles back ta the soothsayer. Aceording to the lady, the
diviner at various times put the stones in different positions.
Sametimes in IOWS of fours Dr seVens,or nines. This
continued for sometime. Then a of qustions followed
with their appropriate answers.
What is significant for our purpose is why one item is
used by sorne rather than the same items by aIl. One Mr. Lahai
l interviewed told me that smooth pebbles were endowed with
spiritual quality. His own instruments were inherited from
his father. He was convinced that they were not just ordinary
stones. Questioned as to how one,could differentiate one class
of pebbles from others as to quality; he said
that l should nat be surprised'to,know that aIl soothsayers who
use pebbles only use smoath pebbles. These "are:the 'pebbles
that are likely to be endowed with supernatural powers.
2.' Mirror
An informant who was a welthy business man told me catelori.-
cally that divinition with a mirror is the He
concedd that he had no knowledge as te how it works. He said
he only knew twa people in his'entire life who used mirror for
divining. One was a blind old 'woman and the ether a lame
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Both stayed miles apart . Each time he had problems
business he went to both, one after the Bothdiviners
keep their mirror in a sacQ In each case, a clientwas asked
.what his mission wes. The diviner sat withthe mirror_trapped
bet:ween his :or her"legs. The' div{ner wO'Jid then utter severaJ.
statements. At time my informant one:of the
the spirits of the AlI his
missions to these two people have been successful.
3. Sand
One of my,informants who had consultad a "diviner using sand
.was a student at the:universi ty. While he tonfessed that every-
thing the man told him was he baffied as ta .how the
soothsayer manipulated the sand, a process he was equaIIy interes-
ted in for The 'diviner said, brought
out a 'sac hal f filled' wi th sand 0 The .sand IJasspread on a piece
of cloth which wes on top of q mat, on . which the soothsayet. (1
After spreading<the 'sand on the cloth the .s:oothsayor said
sorne prayers in .silence.He then asked the name -of his clients
and the bf hisclient's mother. The following .signs 'were
drawn on the sand:
...
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, ,
1 . f
f ,
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From t'his, many tterances and revelations:. followed about the
background of hisclient 1 sorne Iife experience ,:what his client
wants ta do in life and about his present intention tomarry a
. '... .
.. - ........ .
girl he engaged the complexion of the girl etc
4. Cowrie5he.:li-..
It would appear that cowrie 'shells are much more in use than
any other item used for divinition. Seven out of ten people-
interviewed in this connection that most of the
they have come across use shellso Of the eight sooth-
.1
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sayers l.was introduced to. six used One does
not know the number each soothsayer uses '. '. They are aIl. put in
li ttle sacs. On arrival-, soothsayer brings, his sac and
emptied its contents on the- mat pr shepskin. When the consul-
tation fee is paid, the diviner takes the money together with
some of the cowrie shells and utters words. He then puts
the money aside. He takes four cowrie shells and tells you to
utter any statements in silence to the four' ''owr'ie 'shells'. 'After
this the four shells are returned to him. He will then include
them with the rest of the sheIla. He st arts a dialogue with his
clients. He will be throwing some of the cowrie sheIla like
'one throws a dice. Some' of the shells he will also drop on 'the
mat en masse It is from the different formations :of the shells
that he makes his prescriptions. At one instance: 1 saw ,him drop
four cowrie shells on the mat. They aIl teok faceward and one
the expression on his fact was not very good. Then
he would redo it. If the formation repeated itgelf, he would
pre scribe sorne' sacrifice etc
5. Peanut Peels
This is.a simple art. The soothsayer takes four peels
. it"
throws them on the floor and an empty bowl to cover
peels. He then aske his clients what'his mission is about.
In return the soothsayer will utter his ritual statements and
tap the bowl on the top. He will then remove the bowl. The
peels will take different positions. It is from these that
he will make hia prescriptions.
6. Ordinary Clan Water
He
Only one informant claimed he knew someone who used this
method and that he himself had gone ta see this man when he was
faced with mental problems. Water is put into a big clean and
white bowl. The diviner then covers himself with a white piece
of cloth and begins to question his client. The essence of this
form of divinition is that the soothssyer i8 communicating with
the spirits of the encestors
7.
The Hot Pot
:::a;z
12
The use of the hot pot as a process of divinition is
rather restricted. It is u-sedfors specific purpose.. It is
used in the home to detect athief or witch whom everyone
It is a form of person responsible
w11i be' burnt but '"no one els. While 1', got no iri'formant had
seen a soothsayer in this ell those 61aimed
that most time, the culprit owns -u'p rathe'r than u-ndergd the test.
8. The Whip or Broom
'1'
This takes place when one wantsto .detect a thief to
find lost property. A man put.in a state of a
whip or broom in his hand. He chases the thief or. traces the,
stolen item.,
"'9. Ashs
The Use of askes is 'n6t from the 'use
of the sand described ,above.
10. Jhe Chicken
Some diviriers use chicken. A live hickn i9 The
diviner commuriicates with the chicken until it sleeps. Where
basic factual information .is sought the divine'rs' woura"'say:
hWere this the case let this chicken come out alive, other-
wise let the contrary,happen". 5
7
y:ra+ of my informants claim
that tryey have consulteq who have used this method.
One Madam Kema said that she;t9st her priceless gold ear rings
. .. .
and was recovered by this method
of divinition.
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1. A WOMAN IN LABOUR
Mrs. Foday was pregnant and was about ta give birth when
labour became very difficult and protracted. Her attendants
decided ta take her in ta the secret society grave (the sende
. society) where they were ta and render appropriate
local ta ensure her safe delivery. It was not possible
for Mrs. Foday 0+ her pain and ensure her safe
delivery had The was informed
about the state of affairs, ..
The husband was advised to c.onsul t a diviner. in the
town. The diviner was ta t,ell them the reason fO'r such pro-
tracted and painful .Mr. Foday the proposi-
tion and they with several others went ta see the diviner at
his residence. A consultation fee of was: paid ()
Mr. Foday went at length to explain ta the the
reason for their missiono In the end, the. took out a
.. '."'." .. : .... ' ... ". . . ...
mat which he. carefully on the floor. He sat down with
folded legs. He drew a plate which contained sorne oil.
He put the plate on the mat and uttered several statements. He
smeared sorne of the. qil on Mr. Foday's palm and instructed
Foday to say whatever he had in mind in connection with his
mission. Mr. Foday did as he was instructed by the divinere
The diviner then looked into the plate and uttered several
words. While doing this, he would stop and ask sorne
questions' as follows: Did your wife stay with you aIl along her
pregnancy? Did you ever suspect her ofinfidelity? 15 this her
first pregnancy? Mr. Foday gave appropriate answers ta aIl such
questions.
The diviner then told Mr. Faday that despite Mx. Foday's
denial ta the fact of his wife's infidelity, he was putting it
ta his client that his wife had a boy friend and that it was
the boy friendwho had pregnnted wornan, that it was pot
his client. It was left ta the wcman ta confess this fact
before she could be relieved of her protracted labour. Other-
wise, the diviner went on to predict that the wife will die
14'
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in labour. Howevert he told husband ta pour libation for
his wi fa t s sare delivery. The' infor'mation was conveyed ta the
.1
woman and those attend1ng her in the grdve. The chief
who happened ta be at the sam'et:lme the head of the 'wome'n' s
secret society informed the wife about the news fram the qiviner.
She then implored her ta confess in order to save her ciwn life.
The flatlytwice over of her ihvolvemerit with
any person but her lawTul husband. In the end, she even con-
o
fessed a faked boy friend, but this did:'not he,lp .her. Trye husband
decided finaliy ahd rirmly that he was taki'n'g wi fe, .to the
hOspital. He did, even though the attendants and elders pro-
tested. FartunatelYt the hospital was not far away. The woman
wes given immediate attention. 5hedelivered ih 1ess than an
hour their arrival in the hOBpital! The it said,
-
i9 still alive. The nurses tb the husband that
the cause of the protracted iabour :was ta the that his
wife had a small pelvic and also becaus thaf wes her first
delivery.
2l THE CASE OF AMAN IN SEARCH Of A JOB
Dauda in a town far away the city. He wanted
a job in the city. He embarked on a spree of applications to
many of the government He'failed in his
attempts to secure a j ob and 'in some case
1
s he fal1ed even to get
a reply. Confrontsd wi th this si tuatioh!,' h'e decided to 'consul t
a divine;c in order to ascertain the reasori for' his 'ill luck.
He went to a popular. diviner in ,the tqwn. ,in which he was
living. He explained his problems .to .t_he diviner. The diviner
listened with calculated interest and concerne gave a
consultation fee of The diviner from behind his
many boxes in the room a sac. From the sac, he took ,out a
mirror. On the edges of the mirror were cowrie shells. He gave
the mirror to Dauda ta say a"nything he has in his mind in res-
pect of his for a job. Dauda in tuin wasted no time in
saying exactly what he had in mind among them was whether some-
was pewi tching him and thus preventing him from ,getting a
job. The diviner took the mirror from Dauda'. H'e then started
15
,talking." He uttered several statements none of which was
,,' -. _. '0, .1 l j ..
comprehensible :to his,client, who sat in a,state of .. utter con-
,cern. He went on to,ask Dauda as follows: Are parents
had
what was the reason? delved into his cl;ent's back-
, .;. .
ground at length. In the end the 9iviner revealed Dauda
had"wronged his pa;ents who in turn had nursed serious
" ,,',' ' .' ' l' "
grudge::, him... He should go. fO,f.th and ge9 them by pOflring
libation for them. If he failed ta do thi, the diviner
certain cauld h?rdly get a job. ,Moreaver, he told his
client to offer as sacrifice, ten cola nuts,
of cooked rice. The rice should to eIder men to be
eaten early in the morning. When they had finished eating the
. -. '.. '. --: ......
rice, they should aIl wash hands in one bowl and wipe
their hands, on Dauda's feet. This was ta be a sign of
blessing which will.go a W3y in good luck
in his bid ta geta jobp The whole went on as the
hadordered o
Dauda taok ta applying for as: he had done.
Four months later, he gat a ,jo.b with ane o'f .. the' government
departments. '
3. A IN SEARCH OF A CHILD
A woman who was said to be extremely pretty gat married.
For fiver- years, she neither conceived or 'ev'n gat 'a stomach
ache. Jae, for that was the name of the suspected his
wife was barren. If Hawa is barren, the said, 1 will
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either leave her or take another wife who will bring forth
children.
became painfully aware of her husbands plans. Hawa
j,:.
was reputed to be a very woman.
suIt her mother far any motherly advice.
1
She decided ta con-
'Was Hawa sure that in
the event of her getting children for 'her husband the husband
wiil not 'get a second wife if he wanted to? Hawa swore ta her
ancestors that her husband will note Hawa's mother then su-
ggested they see a famous deviner ta find out whether in fact
Hawa will ever bring forth children unto this world. They
!
1
i
,
16
travelled to another'vlllage to see the diviner. 'On arrivaI,
they met the diviner. The diviner'told them that hewas aware
of their coming and what they were coming for. Both'Hawa and
her mother were Thediviner went on to tell them
what their mission was. He was correct. By that intuitive
Hawa was so impressd that she'felt that the child
had already come. The mother paid a consultation fee 6f
The diviner was a palmist, He took Hawa's right palm and stu-
diously looked at it. He offered a prayer and cir-
cles over'Hawa's palme He went on ta ask the follwing 'question:
How long have you been married to this man? How he
absent home? Do other women vis!t ydur husband with your
consent and use your bed room? Have you ever lost any'of your
pants? Several more questions followed, one after the other.
He then went on to say that th woman had been bewitched'by
her wh6 was in the thai she
was not as as her eIder sister and that her
was Ies weIl off. Her ydunger sister had then stolen her pants
which she used in a,bad luck charm ta ensure that her eIder
sister never begets children. tf toescape' from the
situation, she should embark on the following;
(a) Offer as sacrifice a dress Hawa admires most and is ih
love with.
(b) Huy fruits to be put in a big
bowl and give to children not more than five years
oid.
(c) Offer seven bowls of cooked riee, seven yards of
white material, and seven white cola nuts. These
should be given to seyen old women.
(d) A charm was to be made which she should tie on her
waist. Another charm wes to be made and .up
on the ceiling of the room where she sleeps. This
was to prevent anyone from her room.
.. ... ..
17
If sne arried out aIl these instructions, the diviner assured
, ,
her that her problems will be solved. She and her mother car-
ried out aIl tne instructions with precision and
, .
Hawa said she gave,birth year later ta a baby boy. Now she
has three to her delight., It was that
" -
Hawa's did confess that she had undertaken to
ensure that her eIder sister never gave birth, but this was not
_. ... l' -
.. ... ..
because envied her eIder but rather had nursed
a grudge against her as a result of certainderogatory remarks
her sister ta her 10ng time aga.
4. A CHILD FALLS ILL
Manu was the only child of her mother. Sne came of age
, . , \. . ,
and married a young, handsome and man. They gat
. '
their first child in their first year When the
, . . ..
baby was six months Manu decided against the instructions
" . '
of her husband ta visit her parents in another village. Befare
then, the baby boy was well and sound. Two weeks after their
departure, Manu t s bahy.:.became .. ie.d, .:te-.. cure' the
.. cnild in the village, aIl treatrrierit faild." Manu' therefore
rushed husband. The conditi6n
increasingly serious. It was said'that' the"husband sven wept
at tne sight'of his'child.
Finally, the was taken ta e Unfortunately,
the child's condition the same. At this juncture, a
. *, ..
friend of the father of the child suggested that a diviner
should be conculsted. This was dane with'rapidity. A con-
sultation fee f 50i wes pairle The diviner was a'blind man.
His own divining parephernelis were white He took
them from his"sacred looking sac and uttered some statements.
" He tif the beads'which he had spead on the he
was sitting on and said sorne He sorne beads
'to his client nd asked him ta say aIl he had in mind in con-
nection with his mission. Th hsband did'as he WdS instructed
. and handed, the' beads back to; the diviner. A process of cou nt-
ing exercisewas by the blind old It
was repeated seven times over. Several questions were asked
.'
1 a. ",,". .:
"
;
by the diviner ta which his,client gave apprapriate answerSi
Fallawing thls, the said includ-
. .. ...
ing wife were bewitch!ng h!ld., The fact that the
child is still he said. due ia fact'that a
. .
quarell had arisen over the 7hi1d by those who are bewitching
t " " ,
it. If they had resolvd the child would have
bee. dead by then, for irideed they the chiid.
ihe matherl he went on, should confess her invalvement. When
the motheE was about her own alleged involvemnt,
clenied flatly.
The diviner said that if the husband brought Le20.oo,
he will the child f rom the hand's" bT-t""h- wi t-h-s'; the
' ,
husband bsrgained for Le1(.OO.
H-
said he had up ta the time
of coming ta the diviner
sorne The diviner con-
sented. THe child was ta He made several charms
amo.g them were ta tie on his'waist and wri;tJ The baby
i t was':' said survived and now lives and goes -L i sch.Jol.
5. A IN NEED OF ASSURANCE
'. 1
A buYra for
purposes. He ,. wanted; ta :' know this, type of, business
would pay much uncertainty, he decided
ta consulta diviner. He travelled" ta a' neighbouring village
where he knw of a man who was an excellent diviner. He told
the divinet what his his desires.
'," .. -: . ,
He a consultation fee of Le3.00.
T.he diviner took out.,a, small sac hal f : full wi th cowrie
shells. He put the'money the mat and spread the cowrie
shells on top of the money. He uttered few wards. He Fhen
.took sorne of the shells and gave them to the man and asked
,him to say whateyer he to find out in connection wi th
his missio The backjthe cowrie shells from his
client. He spat on them and put them among on the
mat. A series of questions as follows: Have you ever
owned a lorry your ,life1 Is pi a twin? How
often do dream people etc
19 -
The diviner told his client that he had many enemies who
ar acutely interested in his dewnfall in bueineso o He will
succeed as, a trasport opetator if he' offered the following
sacrifice:- on' no other day but"a Friday. He shouJ.d do this
"
befare buyihg the vehicle. A white ram which should nat be
killed for cansumption but should ,be:keptand. taken care bf
as if :it were a child. This will bring him good luck. A
charm should be prepared, a talisman, and it should be kept
semewhere in the vehile in arder ta avoid Ta ward
off his numerous enemies. sacrifice seven items, each
. ...
seven in number. After the he should transport
these items early in the tO:
9
road where he
should leave them. he should make sure th2t while
. . J': P...
on his way to dispose of the items, he should neithe:I' see nor
.be seen by a woman he should not talk to anybody
while on his way.
The man did as he'was instructed meticulous effi-
ciancy. Sinca th;:Jt time, i t is said tha t he is i.l' goo.d huai
ness.
6. A MAN AND THE SECURITY OF HIS HOUSE
...
One Mr. a to build his How-
ever, he wanted to know ahead of time, whether the site was
t
fre from evil spirit and forces that.would be
ta.his habitation. Withthis concern, 'he went and
cantacted .. .. .. .or ... ... 0 told the
diviner what he te find auto He paid a consultation
fee of 50.
Mr. Manga, the took a gat
his \bed. In the pot were sorne water and smoeth angular
(pebbles). Hs teok out twenty-saven of the stonas and put
them on the mat he sat on. He theri tonk "'=.Q'.!X' of the stoi1se
and gave them ta Mr. Lapia to him ta whatever
he wanted te k.riew in connectien wi th :his mission .. ' this
exercise, Mr. gave the 'back to the divinero The
. diviner put the pebbles in sorne discernable in rows
'. of four, but each row was .di fferent in numbers 0 He: cDunted
them frem different directionso He went .on doing :this several
times while his client, Mr. Lapia was watching with calculated
/
! ,
- 20
.... ,
-'.
interest. The diviner went on ta ask several, specifie and
general questions, first relating ta his client's personal
life and then about the town in ganeral. Mr. answered
each question as best as he could4 The then went on
. . .. i ..
ta
(a) That the chosen was not good enough as
was on the route of very powerful evil
(h) That if Mr. Lapia defied him and built his house
on the spot,his own life and that of his family
would be in jeopardy.
,: .
(c) That his client should not even contemplate on
building near the spot he had chosen. He went
" ..
on to suggest to Mr. Lapia to chose fram spots
he the diviner considered safe. In this circum-
stance, his client should offer some sacrifice, a
white cock to be killed'within the proposed build-
and a piec of red cloth should also be
sacrificed, tied ta a long pole and planted at the
very site wbere:the was ,ta be erected.
, . .... . ... -'-- .. ' ....
ihis pole and the cloth should be thero for twenty
one
Mr. Lapia went along with these instructions. He later built
his house and has beeM living in peaee.
1. A WOMAN HAD PROBLEMS WITH HER P.REGNANCY
Mrs. Luseini was married for five years and had no child
ren. Each time she conceived she will abort,! :followed by
serious stomach aches. Un th fifth year she.was faced with
the same problem but taking a more She
was rushed to the hospital in the locality but the situation
did not improve. The husband's mother insistsd 'that they con-
suIt a diviner ta ascertain the reason for 'such constant pro-
blems. One of the reputable diviners in the area was said
to be a twin by birth.' Mr. Luseini 'problems to
the diviner. He paid a The
diviner then brought out full of
He then brought out sorne leaves from a small sa:and
/
.. 21,-
'.
come, of the lelves into the cup of water 0 'He ''av; the cup
..
and its contents ta the man and asked whatever he
had in mind and wished t6'solve. Mr. Luseini did aIl thse
..
and finally handed the cup ta the soothsayer: The
; 1''
said several words to the cup of'watero The diviner
then, asked a series of questions relating to the life history
, ,1
of the woman. Sorne of the questions were: The residence of the
woman when she was a girl,' was: the fathe'r an l.mpoant
ity in his community, especiaily in the men's society?
Likewise the mother? Did she ever eat food prepared in any of
the secret graves? In the end, the diviner
that, when Luseini was a young girl, her had given
her sorne f.ood prepared in the men' 5 secret society' which
was not to be eaten by womeno AIso, that Mrs.' Lueeini had tIIet
the initiates of ,the Poro sociefy accident, astate
of affairs which, is religiously forbidd3n in ,the ty (
That her prob1t?ms stemed from these infractions of the Fo:i.'o
secret society. To help her become normal, she will have ta
be initiated inta the secret entirely meant for men
and a libation should be poured in her behalf at the society's
site.
Mr. Luseini went on discharge aIl that the diviner
had instructed him to do': At the time of my research, t"e
couple had two children.
8. A IN LOVE
Mr. Fefegulah wes in love with a 'woman'who wanted to
divorce her tiusband for him. He wanted to, the dowry.
But before doing he wanted ta know what the end result
-.
would be. Sa he decided to consult a diviner. He found a
famous one aIl his to him. A consultation
fee of was paid.
The diviner took out from under hii pillow a piece of
black cloth containing He ipread the stones on
a small mat before him, closed his and picked up one of
22
the stones. He then gave it to Mr. and instructed
him to say aIl he had in mind 0 Mr, Fefegulah dropp'ed the
stone the others after he had said what: h' ';,ad in his
mind.: The then put aIl the stones put
them in rows. He counted from aIl directions while asking
questions relating to the wife and husband. Their past lives;
their family background etc. Many of these 'qustidhs were
answered. Sorne re-arrangements of the stones and:some personal
. 1; . ... . '.
talking to the stones were done. At the end the diviner re-
vealed that Mr.F.efegulah would win the woman over and
gain favout from the relatives of the The date of the
. .
case would be postponed as the woman and her would
want ta have ward with him before the arder ta
succeed, he would have ta offer sorne sacrifices as fallows:
On the. day he inte nded going f017 th .case; one .'2gg and a cola
nut, the 8gg to .b'e broken at a road j:un'tion, ,'a'nd the cola, he
will split into two and 'throw and the other
in the he was going. The sacrifice to avert
any evil plans that might of his best
dresses was to be sacrificed and 'givn away ta an old man.
This would appease the mindsof "
He did aIl the se things and left to go te meat the
, '
woman. To his d.isappointment he foun'd the base had been
settled between and
9. A MAN WANTS TO HAVE HIS DREAMS INTERPRETED
Mr. Gbandawa wanted to travel, .. to .. FFeetewn to SEe
his son. Two nights before the date of his 'journey he had a
dream in which he was in an He decided to
,. . .
consult a diviner ta know whether "journey and the
dream . He gave a consultation fee bf Le1.O: The old man
took a plat from his tabie and a from a
corner, of his room containing oilo 8e poured;ihIs in the
plate and put it on his knees. He made four circles in the air
over the plate. He then som8 over Mr.Gbandawa's palm
23
and told him to say anything he had in mind. Mr. Gbandawa
did as instrueted" and the looking into the oil.
While looking, he talked and asked some'questions.
Finally, he told his client tbe journey would be
safe, but he must sacrifice following on the day of travel:
an egg which shou1d be broken on a highway. This was for his
safety. Combined pieees of white and red eloth should be
and worn as an underwear or veste - when travelling to
Freetown. This was ta avert evil Mr. Gbandawa said
that his to Freetown was safe and he a1so had a safe
journey hqme .
10.' A PREGNANT ,W.DMAN ,AND HER DRE8MS
Madam Kadia wes for. seven months when she star-
ted dreaming-of Sorne time she dream of
cows runntng after her. Because of this she decided ta consult
a diviner ta know about her condition and whether he delivery
wou1d be safe or note
Kadia went to one Mr. Kagobia, a weIl known diviner
around the area. It was believed that this man invoked spirits
who told him She exp1a{ried her problems and the
frequent of wild animaIs and caws. She then paid a
fee of 50i.
The diviner put the money on-"his knee and put a glass
of water over i t. He removed a silver 'ring from one of his
1eft fingers and dropped it into the glass of water. He asked
Madam Kadia to ta1k to the glass of water 50 that it cou1d
revealed to her exactly the The woman talked to the
glass of water . The diviner then looked the water and
murmured sorne words. He was then heard While
doing this he posed such questions as: How long have you star-
ted having such dreams? Did the ,animaIs .dreamt of ever
met you? Or did you overpower them? Have you had any wet
dreams?" If 50, who appeared to you in the'aet! With such
question and.answers the diviner later on reveal the following:
<#'
:
,
,
24
.The drearns he said were rneant ta harrnher in her
pr.egnancy.
That close relatives changing the
.,' .
, ' ,
animaIs she Was dreaming of. That the woman should leave
the village and sett1e somewhe're after.'the' 'delivery or the
will go after the child.' she must
perform ihe following
must have warm'and cdld in a
of wet black c10th' and lier dress hung 'at the Jdoor of thE
bathroom. She wou1d turn her back tothe door and take a warm
bath. After which, she wauld pour the 'cold water aver her
body, then put on the wet black cloth,'move bakwards ta the
door, collect her .:dre.sL_3D,q .. ... t cloth.
She would come out with her back turning round. A
chaim mst a1so be prepared for ta be: worn round her wais'
If ls done aIl will be weIl with deliveryo
1 1. A F;\ R M R H [-\ D PRO BLE MS \Jo! l TH HIS F ;; R I\'}
__..... .. _ .... ____ -..a-.. ' ___. .... ; -.-.., ....... __ .w_._
was fermer and very hard working and am-
.bitious. ,He lived with his relatives in their home town.
'Each 'his narvest was the centre of envy. Because he
wanted a house for himself, ,he one year that
he will farm many more acres ,than he usel .. to, so that he coull
sell his surplus yield in order ta facilitate the building
of his new house.. He did make a farm year to the
envy and admiration of many. His rice
and he very. happy.
5uddenlyI' rodents and birds became a menance on his
farm. He became very woiried. : Every morning he find
'his rice 'destroye'd by pests" .He consulted a diviner and ex-
plained'his problems'to He paid ,a consultation fee of
4oi. The di0iner a small mirror from under his pillo\
He took a bowl of clean water in He placed
'the mirror inside the 'water"and gave it to 'his client to say
wnatever he' thinks are !- is problems, the solution ta which
he would like to find. His client did as instructed and in
the end handed the bowl back ta the The diviner did
.',
. f . ,
.. ' .',
..
5 ....
,Oc-
o'
'- .. '":.-.
not salt hta clier-t any questions.. .:He d'id t'ake 'a very .long
time in consulting the mirror t.o.-the water . 'f:. : ...
:., :'.' w: .:. ',,;._ . " '\ .. ....
. -.He, then' t:nl,I- his ... client it was his relatives
. . '. .... . ... .: '. '. . ,-
.. w.ere for t.he of his riqe .crop.
,hB on, tr<;lnsf9.rmBd.
rodents night and "went ta .. the day
they go and eat the rice:
. . .. ' '... - , ..
This ofnight and was intended ta
hasten the: destruction of the crop.
. '. His' solution lay :LM preparing charms which should be .
put in'. t,he ferm. -' One of these charms' wes to be: placed at the
. . "
main -ent"ranc.e of the farm and the other in the centre."
12. A RUNAWAY MAN
One Mr. Lavali wanted ta go get alse-
where becausehe was not satisfied with his condition among
his own relati ves. rnfact he said aIl was' cfften b.ad wi th his
farm work decided- ta con-
sul ta . diviner' t'o know whether new' :plac:e:' of'
would be
"
'met a divin'er who was a twin by birth. He explained
pro,blems. and 'paid a fe of The. tbok a plate
sorne in He told Mr.
Lavali 'ta 'say all he' wanted Mr. Lava'l' di'cl sa and
t'he' to himl' . Tt18 looke"d 'into ,it1'e water
for spoke 'to the .wa'.ter and' 'som's qestions.
questions' were rel:ted t'o 'Mr: ':L:avali's' wo"rk, 'his family
f. " .-. . . . .. ' ,.' - .'. -'. - ..
and his pest'life with his people. The questions ans-
wered .. and .after 'some tninutEfs the diViner revealed th'at Mr. La-
va'l"! Will, be well 'sett:i:ed' ih' his ns'w place and will' 'find .
ii fe mo're comfortable. That his stay in his' pre-
sent place will create. 'fric'tidns between: him and' 'his people.
The cfivinerasked IMr ':to .offer the foiiowing
.... sacri fic: "a' whi to ::b'
J
:tri. .. the plats
.. . , . , . . .
, ',.'
p' "
"
.1
;

-,
2 6

..
.. ....
. ,.
:,: ';
.,

:
of copked rice ta be given way wi th s-ve:n cola A liba-
be sa that.he will have a peaee his new place.
,.', . - ". . , . ' ....
13. A COUPLE
- .
unfortunate :coOpl "who :'were breaved' of ',five of their
" wanted tO'know the about
.a who could give for
' ... rt:Iisfortune.
They :he'a'rd of a ,:highly reputabl "som's miles a.way
",: .their own village. 'They went ta the village and' found
the man. He was an. cId man. It was believed by fhe' la'cal
people th,at divine.J; could i'nvoke spiri ts. . 'The couple first
.. . . " "
Le1.00 as that theymay be
ihis was meant ta appeal to the diviner ta do his.best
the;' him say the tr,.uth. Later on they expIaJred
.. .' j.
difficulties to the and 'them to give
as : ,consultation .fee.
The diviner for a man almost door, to him.
came and the old man the difficulties of the
," and .gave him This mn was a helper, he the money
. they set ta:work.
The diviner. rubbed sorne li,quid on the man and covered
with'white sheet" Few sorne :words
from'the, diviner, the 'm'an be'came posseesedt 'wh'ils in';this st;;ite,
the dviMer gave'him the message ta tell.the spirits and there
a diviner and the possessed man. The
f' '. ': ' 1
diviner asked the spirits the
. '.'
or due ta sorne' evil. This continued' ,for 'some,time th,e inter-
, .
mediary' started the messge fromthe
from husband's side wa& once
t for the de'ath of one of the children, that per$,.pfI involved
had died. A witch trap set on the back of the mother, sa
that tMe children wben,they, carried on
,
the back of the mother. Ta over come th{s, the w9man should
never again carry her 6hildren on her back.; A sacrifice
of made to 'A native spun
.0 :.1. .. '
. : ' ..
27
. be fl.ed a'nd' run' ther touple,. .. This is
to trap t'he' witches;. 'Sbme be made for the woman,
which she" should pour a"bucke,t 'of',water, All
:. .; ..: '. : :: ...
.' . .. '>. '
.', '
Mx'. Lapp'ia' was' ',s'eridsly>i:ll and' his,wife gat, and
wanted ttl' know "fr'o'tn:a :wh'ttfe:r -he wduld "l"i,ve' or not. She
" 'met a: m1ddle:'ge,-d ,him wi th 'her problems. Sne
then paid "30' fr fee.' The -dv..i'ne,r ,took a mall
bag co'n'tainng' 'sorne H 's'and Q,n, asma:ll mat and
l\ie11ed it wi th the :palm: ':of his handi.: -He tweiity
dots in the sand w:lth' his' ; ','<He 'closed ,:h;'s .. :-eyes, .. and
. , .
'hi-s harid" cv,er K,is "hed ',' four "times' droppe,d 'iin the sand.
6h ohs bf thdots. He :dounted the dots and
got ah odd number. tM this asked the questions
which were 'aliswered. He act and, fina11y got more
" ,' .. " , ,
odd numbers than even
He 'revsaled ihat there was oO',hope foxMr. Lappia
Thit he would sure'ly, die. He,:did' nt ask them to offer any
sacrifices. Mr's.' Lappia became more worried' but sceptical about
the divin'rs revelatibn.' Shedecided .. :,to ,take the husband to
hospi tal'. He' was admi tted for: qui te s,bmetime but 'r.eovered
,from his "illns 'et 'the: eri:d. f'-;:,: t .. .:-
15. CONTEST'FOR POWER
Mr. Kopoi,:wanted to fOr a section'
In view of'this'he tried: ta, consult, a,diviner ta know whether
he would, succeed or not.' He 'w.ant" to a well, estab1ished diviner
in the','neighbourhood :to make his He paid for

The' d"iviner tock a g1a'ss of water and uttered some words
-
t6 it. He then water on the hand 'palm of
, ,
Kopoi who spoke to, the ta the truth ahd to '
hid no'thlng good" or" Ttlerdiviner lo'oked into the
w'ater and utteied s'orne, stterrl'e Rte. q Ha stopped at intervals' and
"
' ..
,
" ,
, ,
: '
.. :
... .'
.. ." ... .
l',.
28
-'
askeJi-:.qU$Gtons about, Mr,. Ka,p,oi' s, about'''Mr. Kopoi' s
own b'ackgr-o-qnd., -; A" p,erio.d.of
. . . '.'
e'nsued during' which ,i,ivine'r that Kopoi was con-
testing to succeed his ,.fat:her. He again looked into the
.' '.'
water and after a while
, .. ........ :
That one of his rivqls was trying to him under the
influence of a harm so t,hat 'the electotta not favour him.
\
But that sui of the to have'
'an' rfl3j o:ri ty /he must have, a ',.:charm, mad.e for him as, \.
, , '. " \ \
this will ny other A red and
whi he fol': him to . wear under . his A rem
.' ' .,... ..' 1 \
be, sabil fit.ed ridkept for his' and long life. Also
a libatioh be 6rl- for.the late.,father. will
'" , 1
him for-his the

i
,,",1 6 , PROBLEM OF BARRE NESS
i
'.
-.
\
Madam Kadi was to a polygamous chief - a man with
than ten wives. Madam Kadi no children for the husband
l '
nd ffsred she will :pe oust.eet as, was senior w\fe.
She to' stay and, be ,lo\(d by .the hL!sb:1,nd ,and also be
, / !. \
pected by the othe:-r mates. t,heJ;'efore decided to make
ries' from 'a :diviner, as ta wh'at,ta do. she went tO,a respec'table
, \
diviner and har' and paid" 4b,t . "for consul tatio'n
The diviner took fram one cornen of his room ,a small bottle
.... .;.. .... '_.. . .. ... -- ... _ ......... ...: .... :.. "
red palmoil. 'He poured s9me in a clean plate, dippel
a finger smea-red itover the lady's palme He sugges
ted that'the woman;should tell the ail the truth and'
her.'exactly what ta do in order that'she would regain aIl
the love and favour of the husband. and th-e j L:Jnior mates. The
diviner looked into the oil and spoke to it. In the of
. !:'. 1
this he tbe she any secret about her hus-
band, and any., of the relatives .is by' her husband CI He
further .9sked about the numb'er of children each of the wives has
.
-;' the husband. He was able to reveal ta Madam Kadi the follow
ing:
"'. f'
...... ; 29
The: fO'ur-th' had. ;lo:n . .9-;.hated. her .qnd was, rea.ponsible
. . ... .
for misfor:tune . .. .was about ,te ma.1'ry, to the
, . chieJ' ha,d, a .charm" ,(qr n.er., She was to
: "", this wi th ,her .'
In arder to regain the' 'husband 1 s"lci'\ie and fa'vour she will
"t,o two .0'/' 6boketF 'r'ice on a friday morning,
orietb' gven t-c:i 'th': ';'and the o'the:r to be' given and
eaten 'by a11: in the' compou"nd 'inIuding hersel f.
" ..
Someth:tng of which the chief' washed in a
container, a'nd -:sacrif.iced 'by spr-ink1i,ng tt)e: wa.ter round the co'm-
. :pound. .A cha,rm:shoi.l.id be, ,made :for ,her, ,and round her
': "wais,t, .alw.ays. If a,11, i.a dORe, :,:thi-ngs will .. for the better. \
One Mr. wanted to know about the fqtur status of
. .
hie' family t'in respct of th'is, h 'decided ''!;o consulta diviner
.: .
who could help him. ;The divin'r, onb :'W1S a reputable
'. . ..
soothsayer arourid the are. He ,used a 'mirror for divination
.
1
He, a that -was ht?ngi-ng behind the
He'- wiped themirror and' said "few words he 'gave i t to Mr.
Lahai to 'say ta" lie his mission' was ': bout. He did
so t'h di\liner.'
The the". .. put, ,!:he;. his and 'started
.' '.'. ',,'. 1... . . :.,' - ::'r",
While lpoking, be speke, and at intervals asked 'sorne
", ,.' o' :.: ... .,1'
" .. , t) :r amity. of .. li fe, ,the
'wife' s.' fam:i-ly and I?O on. His client answered the
A ... : . : '. : ... :' (': .' . ....
After a while, he revealed
the fe.llowing:
.:... ..
That' he" '( Ml:' Lahai') was a lutky ,man and w.oull one day
becdnfe' a' fam'ily .' That his" \Nife' was .net" fai thfull
hence financial: ,problme . Th,t. sorne .membex:s of his family
to,make him leader.
(:-. the:children,w'ere- his .'but.: should' take precautipns ta" hide their '
f'ace's from 'witches 'and sp'i,r,d. Jhat;. order'. to ever
.. '
:.,
, .
"
..... ,
'- 30
ome he, should,sac;:ri the ,followir.lg: a white ram
for long good luck for his family. A charm ta
,be made and the entrarica"of his ,This ,will
,fight witches 'nd other spirits., fruits and an
egg ta be and at a road junction. This
will save from his enemies, and charm to'be carried
'with him always as a good ,luek charm. That if aIl is done,
will be good 'for him and his entire family.
18 ..
A CHANGE OF FORTUNE.,
. One Matia was.a very niee section chief. He
liked and admired,by his friends and subjects. Allofaudden
. . . '., '.' '"
things took,an opposite turn., He eould not'gat a
clue to this sudden change, he therefore deeided to meet a
diviner.
.;..- ..... _. . "';" ... --", .. -
,.
.. - ' .......... -..... _ ... ..
He to another village and found a weIl diviner.
He told him his pro blems him soi consl'tation fee.
The diviner his work.' He 60wries
several time and gave one ta it'by saying
.'; his: Mr. Matia' did as' he was then
dropped the cowrie the "'The stated
fumlilng wi th and aske'd"some 'reiating Mrl Matia' s
'wee For
sorne minutes he' murmured and finally 1'8vealed that, was
a plot this plot his eIder
brother nct able. to win the chieftaincy he won)
'That 't.he brother was working hard te see that he (Mr'. Matia)
was released of his duties chief. to overcome aIl these
envy and hatred, he should sacrifice a sheep: This
wi,ll give h,im good luck.. Also a sacrifice of one egg and a raw
will justify that, the plot will be unsuccessful and sorne
of the enemies will strtt come arpund him.
.fice of 100 cola and will bring love for him again.
, The. and. the salt were te be distributed to ewners of, houses
in the village. That if it, is do ne aIl will be 'weIl wi th him.
- 31 -
19. FEAR OF SURGICab.OPERATION
Mr. Sowa was ill and he cohsulted a d t o r ~ After care-
fuI medical examination, the doctcir suggested that he would have
te perform peration on Mr. Sowal Th doctor charged Mr. Sowa
Le100 for the dpeftibn and treatment. Mr4 Sowa agreed to pay
th amourit bt insisted that he will first go home to consult
his wif before subjecting himself to the operation.
He did go home and as he said, he informed his wife about
what the doctor said. The wife became afraid. She therefore
decided to consult a diviner and find out whether her husband
will survive if operated on. She met a twin who was known to
be a famous diviner. She explained what her mission was about
to the diviner. She paid a consultation fee of 60t.
The diviner took out a white plate containing palm oil.
He held it in front of the lady and told her to say aIl there
was in her mind. The lady did as she wa3 told and th3 diviner
withdrew the plate. He then looked into the plate with a studious
degree of concentration. He went on to ask the lady several
questions about her husband. He wanted to know from the wife
how long her husband has been ill. Several other questions
followed.
The diviner went on to tell Mrs. Sowa that there was no
need for concern, the operation he said will be successful.
However, it was necessary for her to sacrifice a white piece
of cloth which her husband should tie on his head for seven
days before the operation. A white hen should also be sacrificed.
Her husband should pour libation at the grave side of his father
and mother and ask them to forgive him if he had ever wronged
them. After aIl these are done, he assured the lady that the
opeation will be successful.
Mr. Sowa said he went through the operation and has
sinee then been very weIl and sound.
... 32
. ,
, .
....... ..., ....
20.
Alimu had had serious since he was a
l '
.'.;.
small boy in the pr:lmary He sa,id at the time i t was
,. ,
because one of his mother's mates But the step-
mother had since died and Alimu felt was still
him. He has been ,ln school. Many times he
spent two to three years in the same class. At age twenty-six
he eaid he was determined to get a univrsity education. He
was now in the last class in the secondary school and was one
6f those who was gaing ta take the General Certificate Examirla-
tian. He felt he had studied a lcit, but he wanted ta know
befare hand what his chances are.
He confided this infoimation inhis whci gave
mony to travel to a far iaway town where they told there
diviner whase wards and predictiaMs It tdok
A,limu twa days to \'IIalk ta the town. He' wes 'able ta see 'bhe
man the very day he arrived, be6ause the man' himself had
velled to villageto colle ct said he wa$ted
for the man for two days. ' He eventually 'met the: 'mari and explained
his problems touching on the fa cT. that his step mother had once
confessed that she had to with Alimu's academic
The diviner asked topay soi as crinsultation fee.
Sin.ee Alimu had explmined his prpblems wi th metict.Jlous thorough-
ness, the diviner did not ask him any questions. He t,ook out
a bowl, containing four gro'undnLJt peels. ,He pwt the' four faceward
and covered', them \'Iii th the bow'l. He spoke several time's and
uncovered the, bowl. He repeated' this ope'ration several'
He told Alimu that his had ,nothing t6 with his
problems. When Alimu was a ;li.ttle boy he insul ted' an elderly'
lady. The lady he said took offenee and' responsible
:for his problems. To appease her, the sacrifice was
:in order: one hundred penies, to be given away to children"
- 33 ...
one hundred white cola nuts women, seven
ta be at, a junction, something he has which
he likes most should be given away4 With these, Alimu's pro-
solved. Alimu went home and without wasting time
himself his.mother set out ta perform the sabrifices. He
,took.his month later, when the results were out,
he failed. He said he repeated the,examination four times and
never passed.
, 21 YOUNG' GIRL IN SEARC'H OF A HUSBAND
Bai is a pretty girl who love with a boy iri college.
Even though Boi' knew that'the boy'was in love with other girls,
she was convinced that the boy loved her most. This conviction-
was firm and impregnable. What she was not sure of was whether
the boy will marry her. Many a time the boy had
made"it known t her that he will marry her.
She went ta a nearby village ta see a diviner. The divi-
ner was a lame man. It was believed that he was afavour
ner. Bai met him and told him her problem .which was rather
, .
straight for\l\!ard; will the boy friend event,ually marryher or
"
note She gave a consultation fee of 50i.
The diviner brought frorn under his, bed a small redish
looking containing pebbles, sorne round sorne etc.
He spread them on the mat. He took four and gave them to Boi
ta say whatever she had in her mind. Bai did and returned the
stones to the diviner. He did not ask Bai any questions,
He toyed with the stones several and came with his pro-
nouncements: the boy will marry Bai eventually but Boi should
.... ." , . .
sacrifice seven yards white material. and leave it at the
road junction. She should;also, throw watpr at.all the
four poi.nts. This she do a
When aIl these were accomplished, she was gqing. be the wife
of
Bai wasted no tirne in executing these orders . The.boy
left and went ta Germany ta continue, his, studies where he
married ? white woman.
. ,
"
34
22.
'IN' SEARCH: ,OF "CHILDREN
Yebu was nearly.30 years old. ,5ince '.-
Steven 'she had never had e baby., ,She became 'a'nd
worrid.
She was in constant state of tension. she
;
. .,
her cycle, for two or,.three the case bel
such intervals aIl
aIl of a menstrual periode
of this she went and saw Mr. a man his art
of divinition. She wanted to khow what was the root of her
problem ,in life ... She paid
. '
a consultation fee of 2oi. Mr. T6mmy picked up his mirror
'which by. head his bed on the floor. 'He lo6ked
at the with deep and'uttered severalwords
which only sense ta f. At intervals he would";ask
his client which she in turn would answer. He'clid
suggest ta his client that she oftsn dreamt having an'
..
with some men unknownto her.: Such men were evil spirits. Thi{
. ; ... :'
he was the crux of problem. Unless this was
stopped, Yeb'u' s chances of' givi'ng-!'birth are 'slim. was
not happy wi th these rev'ela'tions :'and so decidad ta ca nsul t a
and:a specialiste The
.. .'
s.ubjected Yebu ta seriaus'and thorugh medical examination. In
the end; she was tteated and nbw has,' children td her

2,3. A MAN IS .LOST IN'THE BUSH
One Mr. MJsa who was to he from a heart
disease went ta the bush tb tp palm wine.: He was expected
to by 3 p. m but' failed to come as ,
tives becameworried' and decided ta go" and consul t : wh(
was very famous and in:the same village. He received his
:. 'z, .
consultation fee of 1015. He t06k out his and sornE
ointment in the face of the mirror End started to it.
Suddenly he stopped and told the expectant relatives that he
was sarry ta say that nat turn' up' aliye. He said
that as he was he saw Musa in the of a crawd o
The following morning, Musa was in
surrounded by many ants which may have been the crowd he
\
;
l'
1 .
- ....
..", ... -..:,'
.. '-
, .... ,
A,MAN .. -. 24.
Vandi Joe ... t7\f; ... for .arson. "He' ha'd
set fire on a t6 :the husb.and of. a girl he
was in love ... Afs.:rqb.the,r::wEryt t'o' see a find out
the' fte' o{ her .. .:#be 30i aS conpul tation fee. The
diviner tbok was stru991ing ta be set fre_.
: ( ,," 1. ; '. i
whather mission was ta
,: .; > , :
was;.' s'till..' The lady then handed the
: .' chl.cken. back ta th'e ma'n .:'.' He then, pn talki,g ta the chicken "
f
, , !
until i t stopped: stxggling, .. 'arid we-nt into trance. ' He was talk-
.:' 1
ing wh'ile the chic ken :,,"8S i,n' t.rance. Her' .told. the .mother that
r
the tsel f,' a grave Hawe.ver, iler' will eve'n-'
be' free if that willnot;"happen. thi.;s chi,t:ken wan't wake
'. . infarmed: the that cap:ture' a
'. :' i;. .\
br,d .. and: s apr i 'i:t ,a nd' t_ i t q'a .ree antL'a:l!s cacl<\
- shquld the'
.,:" "; fo.r
.. bih- ,:'r in:;,-y rie t. for .. 1;0 ne e' il]. ,his- ..
_ - A MA N Ii SE ARC H' r. AL/T'Ii 1 N- Tli r p;f.1Q.N.D:-fy-.NE.S '.
'. . , l' " )
, fir. Lahai, ","'0 "t'o Kano the area to
'.:' J .r, 1 \ r
d;2'am:'nd . ' we--6t ta 'see q
, . ' \ '., '
to' paid his',
" 1 !
c'onsul tatian fee of Lei;.'"il . ; The:..div several cawrie\
. fram a s:ac antt spreal ths'm ,an' the mat. ,on which he 'was
" .
si tting. He t6k and >"gave tQ :M'r.'. Lahai 'te ta and
say aIl that in his Mr . Lahai did as he ,was tald
'aMd returned the diviner. The 'diviner did not:ask
1
Mr. Lahai any ques{ions. He, told him tht if he went tothe
mines wi thout wa.shing his. ome back
a He j anc.esters are angry with him for
h_s di.sre.s.p.ect and: uf1cern t;r th81ir. __ him' ta sacri fi ce a
" . J J ' . __ ,
cow with white and black sJ?ats, ,sever) white ram.
cansented and all.the,saorifices. 'He then
to the mines. : H said. that . he months in the
, , 1
area and he was luc'ky ta discover a; big."gE\!m he sald for
.. ' '''.
- ';,J . '!- ,'.
. ...
thousands of Ieones to a 'He: the'n, went to Me.cc,a.
"":.',
He is now an Alhaji and ... in. his
. - .. :':'.>,:.;..-!. ... ,.' .... '.;'- -: .. .. :;' .,' '-..... _. .-
26.. AMAN. WANT5:TO GET" MARRIED" .. .. ' .....
, 2 _ _ .......
, . Je, a' boy oftwen-ty:. ye'ars of:, age lived in a village.
6aIIed Mcikolo. Mokolo is a fairly big where he 'lived
wi th his parents" ,
In this there we're a .lot oT beautiful young girls.
But J oe WS interest:ed in one called Kona.::Kona 1 s parents were
not friendly wi th Joe.l.s parents, but. Joe was very much: keen in
getting Kofia.: as his, '"o/'i fe . : One evening he assembled his family
and told. them his i'ntentionfor 'the, girl.' The' father was
: .' . ,_ J', . ...
suggSstion. Joe tried aIl the meaos he
. ." "
to convince them. lasthis parents agreed, they
"
if Joels union Kena would bring
,'" 't;
in their'family.
" -There was: a Mr. Ndokoin the village who was a diviner.
Joe we:nt ';w-ith father Ndoko to know the
truth. Mr. Ndoko used stones.to' . , He spread the stones
aryd. . put tham in line of twosand .. ' He :'the n one and
gave .it Jos ,.so that he maY9ay aIl he .wanted .. to know. Joe' s
",.,,' ... l" .', ., ")", ";''':': " -. ....... ; .' ol , ...... '. .:.. __ :. ---.::._.:.. 1'(.... '., ,
father talked ta' the stori and'passed head then
threw !it:: the other ,stones wi th a consul fse of 3o..
The negotiated wit.h the stones. and to}.d ... them
. that Joe would get ,Kona but the.y have to make a., sacrifice of a
te t,hree white 'kola :nuts, and seven dishes . of cooked
rjce with the at the of the
The familymade the sa,cr,ifice anq when ,they approtched
Kana 1 s there 'was campramiE?e- an.d Jae finally gat his
wif. .
27.A COUPLEBEREAVED TOO OFTEN
:: .....
Tommy and Gbessay gotmarried . The yearthey got married
ws pr.egnant . They got the child in ten months Ct The
wa$ healttiy and strong. After .. four months the cb,ild died.
ndt Tommy:much. They hoped
;. -- l
,they got but died two weeks after birtt:\. This kind of
times .
r ,.
,i'
- 31:, --
Tommy was advised by the eIders ta cansult a diviner
o
This he did. Thre was ,B Mr. He ,used sand to
:; ... : .: _. ! .i. . ...
He t'Ohe pattern and made others, then asked a
,consultation fe.e of 2ot .. , Tommy threw the money if!, the sand and
. t. .:.
was asked ta say what he came for. He explained his pro-
blems. The diviner he
'final1i rlefinite
he
interpreted what
.'
'He that wife was bewitched by her awn
They w'ere eating the children., He advised that if
, ,
they wanted theirfuture children ta' stay alive, they were ta
offer with an egg and sevenneedles. After the
they should burn the egg at daor of their
, '
house and the were ta be buried at the place where
. -, ",:
they do their and that would help Of course
Tommy dfd ho wante'd childre'ri ." T:his ' sacrifice had
good resul ts. AlI the three' childrn 'h'e had after are aIl
alive.
28. NO 'PROMOTION IN THE JOB
"1 was employed by my present employer 'in 1964. l tried
my best ta please aIl my bosses. l did aIl l could just ta
keep up with the standard they required. In 1970 thare was a
!
to aIl departments for letters of recommendations.
j My Head of Department reeommended me 'for promotion. When the
,
letter gb:t to the higher' l was 'not considered.
The .(:ither yea'r:the sam thfn:g 50 l weht' ta a diviner
to know the man Ngoni. He
- -
used hot ?il. l my ,consultation'fee of in the ail.
H, looked in the ,ail. about five minutes and told me that one
. :'",.. ".
of the rnqst i.mportant, men commi t:tee was my
enemy. He ,was the my way. WeIl l asked what l
this man
He told me that 1: should offer a sacrifice of seven
bowlsof riee, seven a kola
..., ' . . .' , .. ' . .' .' . . -.
nut at the top,., After the" sacrifice l should give "the rice
. : . " .... !' . '.; . 1 .,'. :
to l wash the, bowls, and the water
,-
,: ,"
. . :,
38
h_ouse. 1 should, share the flour among the grdwn
the, kola nuts ta a stranger and a dress 1 shauld give
The fallawing year l was
. . .' .....
29. : ',A MAN WANTED A LOAN:'
"A fiend of miMe was in a big financial pra-
blem. The was about sa16ry was tao small
ta settle even one tenth of the amaunt. WeIl ta free himself
from "the mess he planned ta' raise a laan ta settle the amount
in question. But he didn't'believe in' gaod luck sa he went to
a d'iviher ta know if he would sec ure the laan from one Mr. $am,
told him thet he a white sheep.
If
M,y
to
he did that Mr. Sama wouid readiiy:'g'ive him' the said amount
friend'had no maney ta the sheep. He was tempted
steal an, but decided against it He ta me for
tald me his 1 told h!m
if he had stale" the ':sheep' hewouid' ha\18 'added more ta his
problems. We decided ta go ta Mt. Sama ta for the
amount. But before we Mr. Sama' s
. ',.
son who 'friend'and our problem ta him in orde:
that h may help:uS!O'nvince his' fa't'her!to"' giv"' 'us" the money
and under what trms We should' rep'ay' the' money. By the grace
of Alla " the boy agreed to' 9:0": wi th us tD his' f'ather.
With the we were -able :get the fIIoncy.
. " ,'" j; "
Mr. gave us gacid time t'a r's'pay' his manyt'-. ' "
. . . :--, . '. . .'
30. SAFFA WANTED TO GO AND STUDY ABRDAn,

Saffe ,had never concealed ta stu,dy abroad
His ,was .. . "Germany and
Canada in thpt arder e. Wi th this cOJlQentrated on
his s,tudies in order ta for ad.mission .. tq"any reputable
university or, college in thase In the end,' Saffa
t
securE:d a good second division pass i.n the: West African School
Examination. He then embarke,d o"n applying for
. '.
and to many.', and colleges
abrpad . ' . AC:C9 rding::, ta him,' he 9Hbmi tted seventeen
39
applications te all.-.th.e.._ .. and. colleges in those
. '''. -- ..
he had wished to go and study.
Having gone this he went to see a
diviner ta find qut what his "are that he will go
and continue ,his studies. relying on his good
resul ts, ,he ,was that he will at least get into one
of the several.institutions he ta, he declined a
local:award ta go and study atthe University of Sierra Leone.
He" gave the diviner a consultation fee of 4Qi. F irst he told
the diviner that his main interost was ta go ta England but
if was nat possible, him find out whether in the last
resart he will go any of the countries he had in mind.
The diviner 'toak out a sac half with ,stanes/pebbles.
'. .
He spread aIl of it on the goat skin he was sitting on. He
took ta them in silence geve them ta Saffa to
express his mind. Saffa went through this and gave the stone
back ta the diviner . The diviner took them and included them
in the rest of the pebbles on the'flaor. He spread them in
variaus formations, sorne even in humbers and sorne odd. He ma-
nipulated them He then went on to. tell Saffa that
he was a lucky 'boy.' He assured .oSaffa that in seven days time
he will hear fr'am twd colleges from .. .and they will ad-
mi t hirri and offr him with s'cholarship. ' Americ.a will ,not
offer him scholarship but will gain ,admission; aB for Canada,
he may not: even get an answer. Three universities will
, . - - ._, -_.' .. .
him in Germany and one gi0e In the
end, he advised his client ta accept the offer from Germany
and go there. The Germans, he said, are good people. There
was no sacrifice about this, because it was destined. Saffa
said he 1eft the old man's ra am full of hope.
In aIl these institut;ions, he never got any scholarship.
He did qua-lify for admission" in most, but no schalarship
award. He finally ta the national university.
.. ;
40
31.
A BOY OF EIGHT YEARS CBIED IN HIS'S'fEP
)
Foday.a boy of eight'years used in his sleept
probablY'getting nightmares! . His fatherMr. Brima sought the
of a diviner. Heihformed him his son would
cry inhis sleep and shout'as if someone had whipped him. Thi
state 'of affairs had continued for sometime'and there is no
impravement. He was therefore worried about his son. This wa
the reason he came to see the diviner so that he could find
was the problem. He gave the diviner 20i consulta
tian fee.
The diviner brought out a mirror and a piece of red clot
He put the rd cloth over the mirror and bawed over it for few
minutes. He then put forward severalquestions to the father%
He wanted to.know whethex the boy's mother was alive, how many
wives he had, whether -he hadever had serious misunderstanding
with any of his etc . He said that the boy wes
visited by powerful evil spirjts and unless necessary steps
are ta drive the spirits away, the boy*s life was at
stake. He prbmised that he himself cantake bare of that aspel
of the problem if the was willing and. able to pay him.
He charged the fether.Le20.00 . Thefather said he will pay
Le15.00. This was the final he agreed on. THe.bciy
was brought to him and was treated for severai days. His nigh,
mare stopped.
32. A VILLAGE PROSPECTS FOR DIAMONDS
The people of Dama were prospecting for diamonds in
their village where they had heard rumours tht diamonds existe
CollectivelYi they sought the aid ofa diviner. They sent a
mission to sorne remote part of Mende country where they said
there was a divner who can say nothj.ng but the truth and only
the truth. The' mission consisted of three interested men.
They went by car and'returned with the man the following day.
He was regarded as an important guest of th village. They
paid him a consultation fee of Le60.00. He said that they
41
will find diamohds in their area, but they needed t6
sacifice seven rams, three white cocks and 100 bowls
'0
'
'".:. ..
of cooked rice ta be eaten by aIl and sundry and 100
white cola nuts. The sacrifice was carried out in jubilation.
The people have since been prospecting. evidence of dia-
monds exist, but no one ever picked a piece of diamond.
33., RIV&LRY FOR A GIRL
Kaffar and Marie were bath in love with a girl, Musu.
Bath had an interest in marrying the girl. Whiie the contest
was on, Musu was initiated nto the women's secret society,
(sande). As time went on, Kaffo's uncertainties increased.
He was not sure of his chances. He therefore went ta see a
diviner to ascertain what the futue halds in store for him
in respect of Musu. He met a diviner in the village. He paid
him The divinor used cowrie shells. The diviner told
Kaffa that he should sacrifice B gold necklace and make sure
it gat to Musu befare Musu'left the saciety grave. If he did
this, he would win the heart. This was what Kaffo did
and finally married Musu.
34. MONEY 15 sTOLEN
'tA'
'"
"
Mr. Momoh Pesima had =given his wife 5artta Le120.00
ta do business. After few days, 5artta reported the money
missing. The husband became worried and decided to see a
diviner. The diviner went on to select a ma, who could be
induced into a state of franzy. He gave .the man a broom.
. ".:. Il
A fee of Le2.00 was paid. Every member in Mr. Momah's house-
holcl was assembled. The idea was that the man in a state of
franzy would come close by aIl members of the household and
will eventually whip the person guilty until persan con-
fesses his guilt and brings the money out. When the.man
came up ta 5artta, he 5artta mercilessly until Sart ta
admi tted and said that she had g.iven themoney to her ,boy
friend although the boy friend denied the allegation.
f
42 ..
35.
There was 3 CO!lr-t case over land between two families
in The case itself had been on for nearly ten yearso
It had go he to the High Courto Both parties had spent lots
of money on lawyers etc The two families became further
apart;as the case lasted o
the town of there was luckily for them a
famous diviner called Mangao His medium of divinition
was ordinary water in white bowl. One of the families ta the
dispute appr6ached him tofind what.the outcome of the
dispte would be, whether in their favor or that of their
dversary. It appeared the dispute had reached astate where
no party could easily determine the outcome from past ex-
perience. The them ta paya consultation fee
of He then askndothe eldest memberin the family ta con-
jure: the spirits 60 that they:will say the and only the
The in the family held and bowed his
he ad" in the bawl and spoke for few then'gave back
thebowl ta the He drbpped the consultation fee
(aIl of it in coins) into the water and started talking.
The diviner asked the man whether the' land in dispute
belonged to their grandfather to which he gave an affirma-
tive answer o He further since the death of his
grandther and other eIders in the family who had died they
have been pourin'g libation for them, if sa how often. The
confessed that they havebeen in their
co,fnitment ta the 2ncestors"
The divincr told them that were to have
rushed ta him;; sflido that they were going ta 10se
the The ancestors he on angry about the way
they obave been treated Ly eIder members of the familyo In
\
this they W8re o90in9 revenge by ta king their
source of li.vellh'Jod from Hr.! told them ta go forth
and pour!.:U::aotion a:-:d Cu t: consisten"; about it' from then on
o
should offer spotted ram 2S sacrifice and hundred k61a
..
,- 43
nuts, fifty of which should b red and the other fifty white.
,The sheep should and given to the people in
the" town the'kola nuts shoUld to strangers
passing bye. If they carried out his instructions the deci-
sion was going to be in their favour. They did exactly as
he told
the'm. However, when th case came up for final judge-
ment, they were on the wrong and th other family won,
A WoMAN WANTED To TRAVEL
,"My wife (informant) wanted ta travel ta Kano to see
her sister. This was about Christmas time when many accideMts
place in this country. We were not sure of her safety.
50 she went to consult a diviner ta ascertain whether aIl
: ,'. ;. ' ..
will be weIl with her and the children. She was told that she
could go, that she must:secrifice several articles aIl
mixed together in a these were eggs,
rice, salt, sweets, sugar, beans and sn on. AlI the se were
ta 18ft on the road side a,day before she travelled.
She did aIl these things left for her destination. The
journey was Buccessful. She came back with the children
t '.
and'''we "ff- -t-og'th'r' a'S Y'ou""can" s'e'S" for 'yourslll fil
37. :LOoKING ,FOR A JOB
was the eldest son of his mother. He had four
'other brothers of school age and three sisters. Their father
died. when was in primary schaol. He did manage
the perseverance of his mother and sorne uncles to
secondary school. He secured a division three pass
in the West African School Certificate Examination with
distinction in mathematics, his ,bast subject.
In ,view of this his. ;mother suggested he takes a j ob and
help the ,family until such time candi tians are favoura-
ble before on continuing his education.
Kaanja sent many applications to several Depart-
ments, but the responses,were His mother
sorne uncles got went ta see a diviner and
explained his ,Problems ta l'lim. He.saw an old man in his late
. '
70's, Mr. Manawai, who used a mirror to divine. He told
-
Kaenja to paya consultation fee of 4o. He took a small
" s't-uffe'cl theh' i t on the' surface of the
mirror arid uttered a few gave the 'mirror witl thE
horn on it tb Kaanja and told to aIl he wanted to kr
fro'm ''':M-a'nawai n. He told him to put the consultation fe Dt;
the m,i"rror'. 'Whn Ka:anj a d'id this, the money got" on the
mirror. Kaanj a was impressed. He assure.d his ciint that
.,
in 21 "day's time, to be exct, he will get.a iette:r: from one
Government Departm.ent of.fering .. him a job. In order for
, ........ ,- ... --_ ... _ ..-.,,-_ ... ",
Keanja to believe, said when Kaanja returned home, he wiJ
'find a girl of'coffee complexion However,
hewas not certain the 21 since the 21
would fall ona 'Sunday when nd mails
. As 'i t happe nad Kaanj a got -the letter' on a S\Jtitlay
offering him the appointment. .The .letter had come on a Sa-
turday, but one of his brothers nad taken it;6.nd
went alang with it he had gone ta
visit a friend. He slept there and came early 5unday mornir
and' delivered the letter ta
38. "A MAN IS WtTH MAN5LAUGHTER
Mr. Lavali owned a car. One day, on a Sunday after-;
noon, he deeided to go This is what he does every
._-_. ..... ...... _ .. __ .. _.4_ ............ .... . .._
Sunday uniess samething. interrupts his program. On one ocea
. sion he was returning from.his hunting inta
pedesirian and kiiied him. The case wa !nvestigaied and
it was decided that a coroner should an !nquest. The
inquest went on for without any that it would
tb a canclusion. At this juncture. Lavali decided
ta consult 50 travelled. ta village which
was over 120 miles away. went there because he knew of a
diviner who is supposed be very goodin her art. He met
her and .explained his prabl.em. said sinG.e the incident
or he has been depressed wcrried. .It is a seriaus case,
he continued. The lady diviner asked for a consultation fee
but did not mentiQnany specifie Lavali then ga
her lady small sac full of cowrie

She spread them severa11y on the mat. She spoke ta the;stnes
several times. She asked no questions. Finally, she told her
client that he will have ta appear three more times before --
the coroner. On the third and last time the case will be
decided in his favour and he will be free. However, he should
buy a pound of meat, cut it into four pieces and throw it ta
dogs. He shou1d also get four nails and make sure he dropped
them each at a much frequented by people. that he
will get a favourable verdict. Mr. Lavali went and per-
formed aIl the sacrifices o He said that the case was called
three times and it was dismissed in his faveur. The
was death by misadventure.
CONCLUSION
From these case studies, it can be seen that Mende
divinition, like most others is concerned with the very prac-
tical aspect of life. Mende divinition seeks ta solve the
prevalent problems that confrant the community. It is a re-
flex of the social structure and a manifestation of the phy-
sical constraint in which man finds himself. Every society
is concerned with the security and wellbeing of its members,
the stability of the commuhity etc... In this respect aIl
necessary staps are ta ken to ensure not only the physical
we1lbeing but a1so the emotiona1 wellbeing of its members.
Anything that tends ta disorder this physio-physhic
harmony of the community generates cancern for the community.
Because these physio-psychic phenomena when in disharmony
baffles members of the community, they immediate1y turn for
answers and explanations fram members of the community who
are endowed with supernatural powrs. A diviner is the
mirror of the community, through whom events can be seen
beyond the ordinary. The diviner is the pillar that re-
inforces the whole physical and emotional fibre of the
society.
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