People and Culture

If there is one West African culture that has become legendary in the western world, it is the Dogon of Mali. Dogon country (Pays Dogon) has been classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its rich civilization. The Dogon are known for their art, especially their masks which are used in their complex rites and rituals. Their history is marked by the will and stubbornness to remain authentic and preserve their traditional way of life. Despite the diversity of their dialects, they are of great ethnic cohesion.

They believe in a God called Ama and remain faithful to their ancestral beliefs. The Dogon live in a mysterious world of symbols, signs, hieroglyphics, colors, and emblems. Objects – a language without words – lay down man’s relationship to the world: the reign of the sacred. Thanks to their adherence to their traditions (dialects, dance, music, worship, ritual practices,parties and so on), ancestor worship and animism are still very present among the Dogon people.

The Dogon are rich in their differences. However, they are linked to a single cultural heritage that provides a history with a very strong identity. Dogon country is not solely populated by Dogon: Bambara and Peul also live there. The official language remains French, although few people speak French well within Dogon country.