The Senoufo-Djimini people live in northeast Côte d’Ivoire in the Hambol region, specifically in the Department of Dabakala department. The approximate area of the region is 10,000 km². The region is bordered by the Department of Ferkessédougou on the north, by the Department of Bouake on the south, by the Departments of Bondoukou and Bouna on the east, and by the Department of Katiola on the west. The Djimini population is approximately 95,500 (1993 SIL).
The language classification of Djimini is Niger-Kordofanian, Niger-Congo, Gur, Senoufo, Djimini. There are ten dialects of Djimini: Djafolo, Dofana, Foolo, Kanegbono, Kumbèlè, Kawolo, Singala, Bidiala, Bandoro et Kpana. Singala is the prestige dialect of the town of Dabakala. There are three ways to write the name of the language: Djimini, Dyimini, and Jinmini.
The language is highly used by the Djimini people. In 2015 a Bible was completed. This dictionary will help the entire community by serving as a repository for the extensive words and idioms in the language. A word-collection workshop held in July, 2017, in Dabakala produced a vast quantity of words, a high percentage of them being distinctly Djimini. We welcome any additions or corrections to this dictionary. Please leave your comments on the Contact Us page.
The story of the settlement of the Djimini region
According to Father Jean Lejeune, the Djimini migration to Dabakala happened in waves over periods of time, similar to that of the entire country of Côte d'Ivoire.
According to early history, the first ethnic group to occupy the region were the Djimini. The Djimini orginated from Mandé Kaba in Mali. This first Djimini couple were a hunter and his wife who settled in Korhogo, Côte d'Ivoire. But, he continued to hunt game, going further eastward into the forest. Then, he suddenly decided to camp in a place he named Kapele meaning I will begin here in the region.
The hunter and his wife stayed in Kapele and raised a family. Subsequently, their offspring established their homes there as well. Then, a son of the hunter committed adultery with the wife of his older brother. This was strictly prohibited at that time; sanctioned by death. For his crime, the son was bound in a place in the forest where all who committed such a wrong were punished. His fate required that he be killed the next day.
A friend of the hunter who lived in Sarala, a camp of Kapélé, went to untie the young man. After he freed the young man, he sat down in his place. The next day the hunter and his oldest son came and discovered the friend of the hunter. They untied him and brought him home to his camp. The friend commanded the youngest son to leave the village. He went to another camp and named it Tohdanlan which means I was lucky, then renamed it Kafou, which means come meet together again. The younger brother followed this son a few days later, not wanting him to be alone. The two brothers at Kafou would separate because of hunting, and the younger brother would create his camp with the name Yélignin which means have you seen? which would be called Kotolo. He goes closer to Dabakala at the request of the colonist.
After this, the oldest son of the man who settled in Kafou came to create a camp by the name Tabgonon, of which the root word is Tagbon meaning you must hit. The chief of Tagbonon received a group of hunters called Séwala (pierce the elephant) which had blacksmiths and potters (N'Jéné) in their company.
The blacksmiths fabricated their arrows for the hunt and their tools while the potters created their pots and cooking utensils. After having problems regarding cultivable land, the two brothers (from Kafou and Yelignin) decided to settle the blacksmith between Kafou and Yelignin, the hunters or "Sewala" at Kafotcha (Kinguémougousso) and the potters at Démbolo (Fénessiguédougou).
The blacksmith named his camp "N'gbanan" which means strong men. The colonist who was contemplating names for each village found a blacksmith who could carve the hand hoe handles. He asked the blacksmith for the name of his village, but the blacksmith understood him to mean what are you doing? The blacksmith responded "dawakara" meaning daba handle. This explains the transformation of the "Dawakara" into "Dabakala", the name for the village of N'gbanan, formerly Dabakala. The name of the hunter was Yinguinlinfopan and his wife's name was Manlan.
The Senoufo-djimini ethnic group is located in the Hambol region in the Dabakala department. The area is around 10.000 km² environ. The Hambol region is bordered by the Department of Ferkessedougou to the north, by Bouaké to the south, by Bondoukou and Bouna to the east, and Katiola to the west.
According the the Ethnologue the population of Djimini is 95.500 (Lewis 2009), but according to the local estimates, it has increased to 123.800 people.
Altitude and environmental factors
According to Father P. Mockers (Boniérédougou, August 15, 1949), the Djimini region extends from 4° to 4° 50 longitude N. Green-witch and from 8° to 8° 50 latitude, bordered on the east by the Comoé river, to the west by the N'zi, on the south by the Baoulé and on the north by the Kinkinlin river that is also the border of the Kong. The Djimini area forms a quadrilateral of 10.000 km². It is quite rugged and dotted with mountainous areas whose height varies between 300 and 600 meters, and rocky blocks which seem to have been thrown into the plains like large paving stones.
The Djimini area has a translational climate with two main seasons, a dry season from November until March and a rainy season from April to September.
The fauna and flora
According to Ouattara Kérémassa, the forest along the rivers are more dense, the forest regions alternate with the savannah's trees and grassland.
On the reserves, there are elephants, buffalo, warthogs, great antelopes, great bubals, horse antelopes, hippotragus equinus, buffalo kob, harnessed antelopes (gazelle), céicopra (wogoli en djimini), the cephalophe (Loufagbonlongon in djimini), lion, the panther family, hippopotamus, freshwater fish, all species of deer, agoutis and monkeys, etc.
The main rivers are: the Comoé, the N'zi, the Ségbonon, the Ségboli, the Féréko, the Yanrangan, the Sapyo, the Bagbè, the Kinkinlin, the Latô, the Nandô and the M'bé.
Political and administrative divisions
Traditional organization before colonial administration
Before the colonial administration arrived, the Djimini region was organized by chiefdoms, and was composed of 20 groups, each one having a head chief.
After that, in order to better manage these groups, the colonial administration organized the 20 groups into five cantons with a chief presiding over each canton.
- The Central Djimini Canton which is Kafou: two groups
- The Eastern Djimini Canton Djimini which is Kotolo: nine groupes
- The Northern Djimini Canton Djimini Nord which is Sokala: seven groups
- The Eastern Djamala Canton which is Satama Sokoura: one group
- The Western Djamala Canton Djamala: one group
Current Administrative Structure
The current Department of Dabakala (1975-2017) includes ten sub-prefectures:
- The sub-prefecture of Dabakala
- The sub-prefecture of Boniérédougou
- The sub-prefecture of Foumbolo
- The sub-prefecture of Bassawa
- The sub-prefecture of Satama sokoro
- The sub-prefecture of Satama sokoura
- The sub-prefecture of Niéméné
- The sub-prefecture of Sokala sobara
- The sub-prefecture of Tindènè
- The sub-prefecture of Yaossédougou
The months of the year in Djimini
N° Djimini Français
1 Yawosogolo Janvier
2 Wɛmbirikɔɔn Février
3 Nɛŋgɛwaga yeŋge Mars
4 Mirigbose Avril
5 Sikanɔpɛrɛ Mai
6 Karimanɔyeri Juin
7 Kariwaga Juillet
8 Tugutaan Août
9 Yewɔgɔ Septembre
10 Yesupyɛ Octobre
11 Supurugo Novembre
12 Suyirigbɔgɔ Décembre