Temne in Sierra Leone

Population

1,404,000

Christian

Evangelical

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Introduction / History

Seke! Seke! My name is Isatu, and I am a Themne. My people claim to be Muslim but we still practice many traditional religious things as well.

When I was a baby, I was sick a lot. In order to help me breathe, the sorcerer wrapped a leaf in tobacco, lighted it and wafted it in my face until I sneezed. Once my mother left me on the trash pile because I was sick so often. My mother thought this would make me angry so I would stop being sick so much.

When I was ten, I went to live in the forest for six months at a special bush school conducted by the Bondo secret society for women. I learned Themne customs, like how to make a powerful charm out of a cigarette container, how to respect the devil and put a curse on someone, and how to be a good Themne wife. I was circumcised as part of the training, although l I prefer to call it female mutilation because of the pain I still suffer as a result.

My family arranged my marriage. My husband is much older, and he already had a wife. I know that when my husband dies, my children will belong to my husband's family, and I would be invited to be one of my brother-in-law's wives. I could choose to return to my parent's family, but I would lose my children.

I understand that this is the Themne way. I must follow the ancient traditions or the ancestors and spirits will be displeased. We have a special small hut on the edge of our village for the ancestors. That is where we go to make our sacrifices. A white chicken is especially pleasing to our ancestors. If we neglect the spirits, terrible things may happen to us. My people live in fear all the time. Is there any release from this fear?

The people of one Themne village, relatively close to Freetown, suffered the loss of their homes during rebel activity five years ago. They came on foot to Freetown, but the city-dwellers were also suffering the effects of war and had little to share. They reached a fenced churchyard in the city where they were allowed to sleep. The people of the church shared the little food that they had. Sierra Leoneans prefer to eat rice, and they apologized that they only had bulgar to share. They tried to help with clothing and other physical needs, too, although these things were scarce. During this time, the church members and these Koya Themne became very close. When the time came to return to their village to rebuild, church members helped them and accompanied them.



Profile Source:   West Africa Gateway 

People Name General Temne
People Name in Country Temne
Population in Sierra Leone 1,404,000
Progress Scale 3.1
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Banta Themne, Buya-Romende, Temine, Time, Timmanee, Timne
Affinity Bloc Sub-Saharan Peoples
People Cluster Atlantic
People Name General Temne
Ethnic Code NAB56c
Country Sierra Leone
Region West and Central Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Northern Province, west of Sewa River to Little Scarcie
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Themne: Temne (1,404,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Themne: Temne 1,404,000
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1865-1993)
New Testament Yes   (1868-1992)
Complete Bible No
Audio Bible Online
Category Resource
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Themne
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Scripture World Missionary Press Booklets

Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 3.00 %)
7.00 %
Ethnic Religions
16.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
77.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
15.0 %
Independent
15.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
5.0 %
Protestant
35.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
Map Source: West Africa Gateway  
Profile Source: West Africa Gateway 
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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