Watch the spectacular and unique tap dancing techniques of ethnic Gurunsi people Ghana and Burkina Faso as performed in the village of Tiabele in the Southern Burkina Faso, West Africa. By the time you finish watching this video, I hope you will now understand where African-Americans got their tap dancing gene from in Africa.
The Gurunsi or Grusi people are cluster of Gur-speaking peoples of larger Niger-Congo language family found in Northern Ghana and Southern Burkina Faso. There population of Gurunsi in Ghana is estimated to be approximately 976,311 and in Burkina Faso an estimated population of 1 million.
The Gurunsi people of Ghana and Burkina Faso are known for their elaborate mural painting houses and its architectural designs as well as their (sculptural) zoomorphic masks, covered with geometric motifs. The masks have concentric eyes and polychromatic effects in black, white and red. Winiama sculptures are the most geometric.
The name Gurunsi comes from the Djerma language of Niger words “Guru-si”, which means “iron does not penetrate”. It is the Mossi that gave this name to the diverse peoples that live in Burkina Faso, to the west and south of the Mossi plateau. The Mossi have never succeeded in controlling the Gurunsi. This name has a pejorative sense for the ethnic groups concerned: the Winiama, the Nuna, the Nunuma, the Lela, the Sisala…The Gurunsi (Gourounsi) are made up of about 300,000 people. The largest ethnic group is that of the Nuna.
The Kasena, Nuna, and Sisala refer to themselves as Gurunsi, talk about Gurunsi songs and Gurunsi customs and traditions, and the Nuna even consider themselves as the best preservers of the Gurunsi traditions, where the old customs and practices still stand. Although of uncertain origin, the term Gurunsi is still currently used, at least by these three groups, as recognition of their common cultural and linguistic ancestry because they share the same cultural traits and language roots and even bear the same facial marks.
The Grũsi or Gurunsi languages are a group of Gur languages, comprising about 20 languages spoken by the Gurunsi peoples. The Grũsi languages are spoken in northern Ghana, adjacent areas of Burkina Faso, and Togo.
The largest language in the Grusi group is Kabiye, a language spoken by approximately 1,200,000 people (of which 550,000 are native speakers) throughout central Togo
Oral traditions of the Gurunsi hold that they originated from the western Sudan near Lake Chad. While it is unknown when the migration occurred, it is believed that the Gurunsi were present in their current location by 1100 AD. Following the 15th century, when the Mossi states were established to the north, Mossi horsemen often raided Gurunsi areas for slaves, but the Gurunsi peoples were never fully subjugated, remaining independent.
According to doctor Salif Titamba Lankoande, in Noms de famille (Patronymes) au Burkina Faso, the name Gurunsi comes from the Djerma language of Niger words “Guru-si”, which means “iron does not penetrate”. It is said that during the Djerma invasions of Gurunsi lands in the late 19th century, a Djerma leader by the name of Baba Ato (better known by the Hausa corruption of his name: Babatu) recruited a battalion of indigenous men for his army, who after having consumed traditional medicines, were invulnerable to iron.
The 1884 Conference of Berlin, which partitioned the continent of Africa into European colonies, saw the French, British and Germans each claiming part or all of Gurunsi territory. After establishing the protectorates of Yatenga (1895) and Ouagadougou (1896), the French annexed Gurunsi lands in 1897. Eventually the Germans withdrew to Togoland (modern Ghana & Togo), and an 1898 Anglo-French agreement officially established the boundary with the Gold Coast (now Ghana). This partition divided Gurunsi peoples among French and British administrative systems, facilitating the political and cultural divergence of sub-groups on each side of the boundary.
Political and Economic Organisation of the Gurunsi (Gourounsi)
The Gurunsi (Gourounsi) society is an acephalous, that is, it has no political organization or centralized power. They were led by the council of elders of lineage.
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