Gnena

Little People of West Africa that share some attributes with the legendary Islamic Djinn (intermediaries between humans and angels) and

Small Hominids.

Etymology: Bambara (Mande) word. Variant names: Gnena or Guinne is the generic name for all of these entities, including some larger ones. The smaller ones include: Ar-takourma (Zarma/Songhay), Asamanukpa (in Ghana), Attakourma, Bari (Susu/Mande), Be-sonroube (Manza/Ubangi), Dato (Senoufo/ Gur), Datobou, Deguedegue (Songhay), Dioudiou (Fulfulde/Fulani), Doudo (Baka/ Ubangi), Gottere (Fulfulde/Fulani), Kele-kongbo (Banda/Ubangi), Kelekumba (Banda/ Ubangi), Kinpelili (Gbaya/Ubangi), Kitikpili (Bokoto/Ubangi), Konkimbu (Lobi/Gur), Konkoma (Malinke/Mande), Kontimbie (Lobi/ Gur), Kontoma (Dagaari/Gur), Korokombo (Banda/Ubangi), Mokala (Manza/Ubangi), Nyama (Bambara/Mande), Ouokolo, Pori (Gourmantche/Gur), Sonkala (Manza/Ubangi), Tikirga (Moore/Gur), Wokolo (Bambara/ Mande), Wouoklo, Yamana (Bambara/Mande).

gnena 209

Physical description: Height, 2—4 feet. Covered in long, black or dirty-gray hair. Sometimes said to be covered with sharp spines. Large head. Yellow eyes. Pointed beard. Long arms. Knock-kneed. Feet are turned toward the rear or webbed.

Behavior: Walks on the outside of its feet. Very strong. Malicious. Sleeps in the trees. Collects sticks and bundles them together. Shoots tiny arrows at people. Said to switch its infants with human babies like the European Fairy does.

Distribution: Côte d'Ivoire; Senegal; Guinea; Burkina Faso; Mali; Niger; Ghana; Cameroon; Central African Republic.

Possible explanation: Legends about the ancestors of the Mbuti, Twa, and Mbenga peoples— short-statured, forest-dwelling Pygmies.

Sources: Abbé Joseph Henry, L'âme d'un peuple africain, Anthropos Ethnologische Bibliothek, Band 1, Heft 2 (Munich, Germany: Aschendorffsche Verlag, 1910); Victor François Equilbecq, Essai sur la littérature merveilleuse des noirs, suivi de contes indigènes de l'Ouest-Africain français (Paris: E. Leroux, 1913-1916), vol. 1, pp. 106-135; Margaret J. Field, "Gold Coast, Ethnography: The Asamanukpai of the Gold Coast," Man 34 (December 1934): 186-187; Eugène-René Viard, Les Guérés, peuple de la forêt (Paris: Société d'Editions Geographiques, Maritimes et Coloniales, 1934), pp. 11-13; Antonin Marius Vergiat, Les rites secrets des primitifs de l'Oubangi (Paris: Payot, 1936), pp. 60-64; Mamby Sidibé, "Légendes autour des génies nains en Afrique Noir," Notes Africaines, no. 47 (1950): 100; Bernard Heuvelmans, Les bêtes humaines d'Afrique (Paris: Plon, 1980), pp. 483-487, 496-498.

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