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A Celebration of Life-Part 2

Hi everyone,

it’s a pleasure to be here to share my little experience with you again. Last time I explained “Kalas Poum”. Today I am going to tell you all about “Kalump I Chape” and “Bu Patte”

Since the old ancestral days, our great grandparents make their own signs of remembrance to their deceased and create protection for their homes. Kalump I Chape is only done for men and not women because it is always said that women have more power in spirit when they die. Kalump I Chape is performed for the ancestor to become a protection to his family from evil in order for the family he left behind to remain safe and far from bad influence.

Kalump I Chape means “to bury the statue”. A statue of the person is buried in the ground half way to stand for years as a memorial.

The statue is made of wood, and the maker uses the picture of the deceased person to make the statue look like him so that everyone can recognize who they were (shown above). In the old days it was made simply, with the person’s name but no pictures. When the statue is done, the maker will inform the family in order for them to pick a date to perform the rituals. When the date is chosen, sometimes many years after the Kalas Poum, the family gathers and music is played. It is always a fun night to play comedy based on how funny the person was.

Early the next morning the family kills a cow and the old men carry the statue to the place

specially chosen for it. Before burying the statue, the family elder pours wine in the hole dug for the statue. Next, we eat the food “premntaw” made with rice, milk and palm oil (shown below).

It is a Manjago traditional food. After that, we bury the statue, then prepare a nice meal with part of the cow and the other part is shared with the neighbors.

The next day, which is the village market day, we follow the tradition called “bu patte”. All the neighbors and family members cook different meals from their homes and bring it along with live hens to the house to give thanks to their loved ones who have passed on. The head of the family pours some of the meal on the statue then kills the hens that were brought. Finally, the meals are given to everyone present on the occasion.

The main goal of these traditions is to help the spirit be protected and move on, and to celebrate the life of the person with our loved ones and neighbors. Hope you have enjoyed reading about the ways we honor our deceased and ancestors in West Africa. Thanks for reading!

With love,

Touty from Teranga market

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