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Michael Kevane

Burkinan author, canton chief, and civil servant, was born in Sao village, about 60 kilometers northwest of Ouagadougou, in the Mossi region of the present-day country of Burkina Faso. His mother was Datoumi Yaaré, from the village of Kaonghin; and his father, Gueta Wagdogo, was the son of Yiougo, the naba (Mossi chief) of Sao. Naba Yiougo supported Mogho Naba Wobgo (Boukary Koutu), the principal king of the four Mossi kingdoms, against a rebelling vassal, the naba of Lallé. In 1896, Mogho Naba Wobgo supported Gueta Wagdogo to attain the chieftaincy (whereupon he assumed the name “Naba Piiga”) after the death of Naba Yiougo. The meaning of Dim Delobsom’s name, “The king has returned the favor,” acknowledged the relationship between the two rulers.

Naba Piiga was unable to help his suzerain when the French column led by Captain Paul Voulet seized Ouagadougou on 1 September 1896 Mogho Naba ...


Elsie A. Okobi

Ibo novelist, was born on 26 September 1921 in Minna, northern Nigeria (Niger State), to Ogbuefi David Anadumaka Ekwensi and Agnes Uso Ekwensi, who were from Nkwelle in eastern Nigeria (Anambra State). Ekwensi’s father was an elephant hunter and a great storyteller; from him, Ekwenski learned the Ibo folklore that would later enrich his stories. Ekwensi grew up among Fulani children, learning to speak Hausa, in addition to Ibo, which was spoken at home. He was known to have married at least twice: Eunice Anyiwa in 1952, with whom he had five children, and Maria in 1969.

Ekwensi was sent to Government College in Ibadan in Yorubaland where he absorbed the Yoruba culture and language He continued his studies at Achimota College Ghana then at Yaba High College Lagos and he studied forestry at the School of Forestry Ibadan He worked in the forestry department at Ibadan from ...


Mildred Mortimer

Algerian novelist, essayist, and ethnologist, was born on 28 December 1917, in Taourirt-Mimoun, Algeria. A native of the mountainous region of Kabylia, where Amazigh (Berber) culture and language persists, he brought the Berbers of Kabylia into Algerian fiction, beginning in the 1950s. In addition to publishing fiction, he taught courses in Tamazight (the Berber language) and Amazigh culture at the University of Algiers, and translated Tamazight poetry into French. In addition to his fictional work—novels, plays, and short stories—he published a Tamazight grammar as well as two anthologies of poetry that he translated from Tamazight into French. A posthumous collection of essays, Culture Savante, Culture Vécue: Études 1938–1989 (Learned Culture, Lived Culture: Studies 1938–1989), appeared in 1991.

At a time when Algerian Arabs and Berbers did not have many educational opportunities Mammeri received a unique education After completing primary school in his native village where his father ...