is difficult to date with precision the historical origins of
joking relationships. As we say in some African languages, it is
a “born to find” phenomenon (traditions received from the
ancestors). The different alliances were developed through time
and cohabitation between the different social groups. Therefore,
it appears that each joking relationship has its own context and
history. They are sometimes linked to common historical events.
Moreover, the origins of the joking relationships between two
ethnic groups may vary and is sometimes linked to a specific
event, most of the time “difficult” to check. The following
example tells us the origins of joking relationships between the
Mossi (1) and the San (2)
Mossi came from Ghana. One of them got lost. A San found him
near a river and took him back to his friends in the bush. Then,
The San invited the Mossi to come to Ouagadougou (now the
capital city of Burkina Faso) that used to belong to them.
Later, the Mossi proved to be “thieves”. In order to dominate
them, “we told our little brothers, the Bisa (3), to
settle on the way to Ghana, and then We settled on the way to
Mali”. The aim was to avoid the Mossi to have access other areas
to practise their favorite game, theft.” (4)
It is since then that the San and the Mossi have
always treated each other as “thieves”.
NB: The Bisa and the San consider each other as
“cousins”. A Bisa would defend a San if the latter is “attacked”
by a Mossi in a situation of joking relationship.
NB: The way this
legend is told automatically makes you imagine that it was told
by a San!!!
Therefore, it is obvious that the Mossi would have their own
version of the story!!!
(1): The Mossi represent the major ethnic group of Burkina Faso
(more than 40%). They are located in the centre of the country
and on the “Plateau Mossi”
(2): The San or Samo are a minority group located in the
North-West of Burkina Faso
(3): The Bissa are another minority group located in the
East-Centre of the Burkina Faso
from Alliance et parentés à plaisanteries au Burkina Faso,
Mécanisme de fonctionnement et avenir, Alain Joseph SISSAO 2002,
Sankofa et Gurli Edition)