The Djimini (also spelt Dyimini) people of Ivory Coast belong to the larger Senoufo group. They have a population of about 181,000 and live in the north-eastern area of Ivory Coast, in Burkina Faso and Mali. (Peoplegroups.org, 2023)
The Djimini are a sub-group of the larger Senufo group of Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso. This people group lives in the northeastern central region of the country.
It is important for a Djimini to be a good farmer. The more successful a man is as a farmer, the greater recognition and respect he receives from his peers. Men and women from all stages of life are expected to farm to contribute to the needs of their family in the village.
Community and friendship are equally important. Greetings between individuals are very intricate in the Djimini culture. During the course of a conversation, the greeting process may be repeated several times to clarify that all is right between the two individuals.
Every part of the life of the average Djimini depends on the ground. The Djimini are subsistence farmers. They grow the food they need to survive. Meals are cooked just over the dirt in a pot balanced atop three large stones. Most of their homes are made of mud and clay. And the animals they raise feed on the vegetation growing on the outskirts of the village. In early childhood, Djimini are taught the stories and traditions of their people. Circumcision and cultural ceremonies are performed as rites of passage. Djimini men are taught what it means to be a man and what their place is among the community. When a man reaches the age of 30 he is considered an adult.
For generations, the Djimini have clustered their homes around a Baobab tree. Djimini plant a Baobab tree at the site of every new village. These trees can live to be thousands of years old. The tree is unique in its appearance as well as in its endurance. The people believe that such trees are associated with a good spirit, which can provide an abiding source of protection and good fortune for their families. Djimini people search for something unique that they can identify as a representation of a god. It is for one's benefit to possess such an item, believing that a good spirit will bring blessings to him and his family. Some people wear charms or put the bone of an animal in their home. Many believe the ground itself holds spiritual blessings for them. A lot of villages have priests who make sacrifices to the earth. No elaborate altar is built, just a special place is chosen on the bare ground for the offering of sacrifices.
The Djimini pass on their stories and traditions to their children. Men are considered to have reached adulthood by the age of thirty and are then taught about what being a man means and about their role in the community.
Their language is in the Niger–Congo family. They think very highly of their language and speak it at home, working in the fields and at the market place, so it is not likely to disappear.
The Djimini are farmers. The more successful they are, the more respect they receive from the rest of the tribe. Men and women of all ages help with the farm work, to contribute to their family’s needs, as the Djimini grow all the food they need to survive. They grow peanuts, cassava, corn, rice, millet, beans, mangoes and cashews. They are paid poorly for them, even when the harvest is successful, so when there is drought, life is very difficult.
In their spare time, the Djimini enjoy playing soccer. They have their own festivals and traditional dances, during which they wear masks which often have a trunk-like nose.
They are known for their unique artwork, influenced by the neighboring Senufo people. Artwork includes masks made from wood carvings.
Animism is the main religious practice of the Djimini. This is a traditional African religion, which means they believe everything has a spirit inside it, for example inside the earth, moon, sun, lakes, rivers and seas.
Almost 50% of the Djimini practise Folk Islam, a mixture of Christian practises and pagan practices, but only 1% are Christians.
They have situated their houses around a baobab tree for generations. They plant one at the site of every village and associate it with a good spirit that provides protection and good fortune for their people. Baobab trees can live to be thousands of years old.
Because the Djimini depend on the food they grow, they believe that the ground holds spiritual blessings and many villages have priests who make sacrifices to the earth.
Like many of their neighbouring tribes, the Djimini believe that when people die, their spirits have power over their descendants’ lives.