The Mende People

Thanks to African Ancestry and their DNA testing I know that I am Mende from Sierra Leone. I am in the process of tracing my family tree ancestry backwards towards Africa. This is proving to be a daunting task. The lack of records and the disrespect given to our people is just as criminal as Slavery was in its own right. So far I have traced back five generations and now I am stuck. Thanks to African Ancestry I and have a point of start back in Africa.

The Mende are one of the two largest ethnic groups in Sierra Leone, along with the Temne. They make 30% of Sierra Leone’s total population [2] or 1,888,432 members. The Southern and Eastern Provinces of Sierra Leone, collectively known as the South-eastern is largely populated by the Mende people, with the exception of Kono District (a cosmopolitan settlement, but primarily inhabited by the Kono people).

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Afar People of Africa

The Afar (Danakil) claim to be descendants of Ham (Noah’s son). They are located in the East African countries of Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. They prefer to be known as the Afar, since the Arabic word “danakil” is an offensive term to them. They are a proud people, emphasizing a man’s strength and bravery. Prestige comes, as it always has, from killing one’s enemies.

The Afar consist of two subgroups: the Asaemara (“red ones”), who are the more prestigious and powerful nobles living primarily in the area of Assayita; and the Adaemara (“white ones”), who are the commoners living in the desert areas. Those who live in the desert inhabit one of the most rugged regions in the world, known as the Afar Plain or the Danakil Desert. One area, called the Danakil Depression, consists of a vast plain of salt pans and active volcanoes. Much of it lies 200 feet below sea level and has daily temperatures as high as 125 degrees F. The average yearly rainfall is less than seven inches.

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