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Secret Society
African Secret Societies

Mask for the Okuyi Society (Mukudj), late 19th century, Punu Culture.
Medium: Wood, Pigment. Located at the Brooklyn Museum

Banutu-Gomez, Michael Ba. 2006. Africa: We Owe It To Our Ancestors, Our Children, And Ourselves. Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books.

Piersen, William D. 1993. Black Legacy: America's Hidden Heritage. Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press.

Poro - [Wikipedia]

Sande society - [Wikipedia]

Sande Society by Madelyn Henry

Sande Society – Afrika Dawn Gaffery
“Sande (san’ day) is a traditional women’s society found in western Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and as far eastward as Côte d’Ivoire. Nearly all adult women of the Bassa, Bullom, Gola, Kissi, Kono, Kpelle, Limba, Loma, Mano, Mende, Sherbro, Susu, Temne, Vai, and Yalunka tribes are members of the society, with a membership of over 1½ million. Anthropologists believe that Sande originated in Gola society and spread to the neighboring Mende and Vai; other ethnic groups adopted Sande as recently as the last century. Sande is a secret society. Many of its practices and rituals are private to society members only.”

Secret Societies in Western Africa
“Several neighboring peoples in western Africa use secret societies as a way of drawing members of different kinship groups into crosscutting associations. The most famous secret societies are the Poro and Sande, which are found among the Mende, Sherbro, Kpelle, and other neighboring peoples of Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Guinea.”

Transatlantic Connections: African Secret Societies in Cuba
“Building largely on the foundational works of Cuban scholars Fernando Ortiz and Lydia Cabrera, Miller details the creation, development, and eventual repression of Abakuá in Cuba. While many Africans, both slave and free, arriving to Cuba before the nineteenth century either possessed a knowledge of Ékpè or were members of this society, it was not until the appearance in Havana of royal officials from Africa that Ékpè followers in Cuba were formally allowed to organize around the religious identity they now called Abakuá. Composed mostly of “free urban black workers” but also including slaves, the initial members modeled their organization after the cabildos de nación, black mutual aid societies grouped according to nationalities and prevalent in Cuba during this period.”




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