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Bambara cosmogony

The Ciwara to magnify the work and courage


Secret societies practiced initiation whose teachings are protected by prohibitions, as they are peaceful, taking a role of social cohesion, while they aim to settle personal scores or to satisfy the thirst for power of some.

Cosmogony Bambara or Bamana society divides its secret societies.

There are six (6) hierarchical associations: Kono Ntomo, Komo, Nama Ciwara and Koreh. Each giving rise to an initiation with a secret teaching.

Ciwara is best known because of his crest antelope, which was chosen as an emblem by the airline Air Afrique.

The Ciwara symbolizes fertility citing the union of heaven and earth through the dance of the male crested mane bristling (antelope, oryx), which include aerial and underground parts of fonio and sorghum. A good point and not the least remain indelibly engraved in letters in our minds all companies or businesses who have worn the emblem Ciwara all parties are bankrupt.

The case of Air Afrique is still here. The awards given to individuals Ciwara Mali or corporate sponsors are now experiencing the galley. This means therefore that the emblem is a symbol Ciwara commonplace.

The Ciwara is composed of words in the language Bamanan: CI = Work and Wara = lion. The Ciwara, carved, not a mask, but a crest, held at the top of the head through a small straw hat. In rural Bamana, the Ciwara after several stages of initiation, the greatest reward workers in all areas of life. Representing the legendary Bambara antelope, the Ciwara is the symbol of courage, selflessness, wisdom. Like the chimera, dragon, siren or jellyfish, the Ciwara became a theme contagious, an exuberant symbol, which is in the lives of all the curious of Africa. The Ciwara carved, etched and patinated, have earned worldwide fame in Bamana Art from Mali, celebrating the mythical union between the sun and the earth, promoting the hard work of young farmers.

The headdresses Ciwara are emblematic of art and culture in Mali. The Ciwara emphasizes the traditional aspects of society Bamanan, while focusing on the aesthetics of these antelope headdresses carved, etched, patinated, painted with stylized shapes and materials vary by region and the evolution of time. Dances Ciwara society are related to agricultural rites and therefore the idea of fertility, fertility, seeding. Striving to master the elements of nature, that mimic the contortions of antelope masks during ceremonies, the men looking to make animal allies. According to the localities, which generally leave these headdresses couple may have a different use.

In all cases, "these are objects unifying and protecting the community," especially since they can be seen by all, not being reserved only for insiders. The crest Ciwara became the main symbol of contemporary Mali. Ciwara a massive throne of a fountain in the center of one of the largest gardens in the capital. The same symbol was the logo of government programs and projects of NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations). It also appears on postage stamps, banknotes, and coins, postcards, the website of the Malian Ministry of Crafts and Tourism. Best, Ciwara also became the mark of a hydraulic pump and the name of a community school program. The Award Ciwara exception "is one of the highest national awards, a sort of legion of honor that the Head of State of Mali Amadou Toumani Toure has offered, in May 2005, the Pope. Nowadays, the craze Ciwara know a great many international and copies are Ciwara years in public and private collections around the world.

Source : l’Agenda du cinquantenaire


It is not an orphan having lost father and mother, but to have lost hope.

[Malian proverb]

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