Indiana University Bloomington

Approaching old segou from the Niger. Old segou was the seat of 18th-century Bamana kingdoms, and the little mosque is older than that.
Woman selling bowls
Doussou Bagayogo - Festival sur le Niger 2007, Segou, Mali Festival sur le Niger 2007 Segou, Mali Photographer: Damian Rafferty


Bamana, also known as Bamanankan, is part of the Mande language family. Bamana is one of the most widely spoken languages in West Africa and is used by more than 26 million people, primarily in Mali, where it can be heard on the radio, in government offices, and in schools. It is also spoken by significant segments of the population in Burkina Faso and northern Côte-d’Ivoire, where it is known as Juula, as well as in Guinea-Conakry and Gambia, where it is called Malinké or Maninka. Additional speakers of Bamana live in Senegal.

Department African Studies Program
School School of Global & International Studies