Senufo-Tagba of West Africa

illustrated village including buildings and a woman

Senufo-Tagba Girls

children holding hands pictograph

Like boys, girls spend much of their early years playing with members of their age set. Even at this young age, though, they are spending many hours in the kitchen helping their mothers with the cooking. They learn to wash the dishes, clean the kitchen, and pound and cut condiments. Observation is important in learning those household tasks they are not yet mature enough to undertake.

two girls pounding grain
Pounding grain with a mortar and pestles.

Watching soon becomes doing, and some girls become very competent cooks at the age of 5 or 6. Their mothers take great pride in their accomplishments. Other opportunities for accomplishment are added for young girls if there are no boys in the family, for they may join the boys in learning to supervise the small domestic animals on the farm.

young girl holding a baby
Tagba children.

Around the ages of 8 to 10, girls move into homes with roommates, just like the boys do. The girls continue to learn cooking, housekeeping, and the taking care of children from their mothers. Keen observation and practice prepares them for their own families. The girls are usually married around the age of 16 or 17.