The Nuna inhabit some zones of the center-south of Burkina Faso, to
of the Mossi. They belong to the group of the Gurunsi. Winiama,
Nunuma and Lela are Gurunsi too.
At the beginning of XV century, a group of riders called Nakomsť moved from Dagomba, in the north of Ghana, towards the north subjugating the pacific tribes of the territory that now is Burkina Faso. They founded the state of Tenkodogo, that was the first known Mossi state.
The military power of the Mossi was based on their organized cavalry.
At the end of XV century, pacific agriculturists Nuna and Winiama emigrated from the north of Ghana to their present locations fleeing from the Mossi. In the wooded territories where the Nuna and the Winiama had settled, the horses of the Mossi succumbed before the attack of the tse tse fly, abundant in that zone. Soon legend among the Mossi arose on "the magical" powers of the Nuna and the Winiama, that were able to sleep their enemies.
On the other hand, the Nuna built their villages such way that the Mossi could not penetrate with their horses. From time to time, the Mossi made incursions to the fields where the Nuna worked, to capture slaves.
Except for some hunting and sweet water fishing tasks at dry time, when the grain reserves become scarce, the Nuna are dedicated mainly to agriculture. Among them there are not different social classes, nor political heads. The religious leaders are the unique ones with certain authority. Each town has a council of elders that takes the important decisions.
In the center of the Nuna villages usually there is an altar dedicated to the supreme being, the one who has created everything. Each group with common ancestros keep in a hut the objects they use in rituals, the objets that help them to maintain the contact with the vital forces of the nature. These objects pass from one generation to another, and they always stay in possession of the family, facilitating its cohesion.
The oldest mask of the community represents "su", the spirit who benefits the community and harms his enemies. It provides harmony and it give fertility to the women.
The other masks represent spirits of the nature, and have animal forms such as buffalos, crocodiles, antelopes and chameleons. They are painted every year. They have holes behind, to tie the rafia that covers all the body of the dancer.
If you want to see some interesting photos of Burkina Faso, please click here.
Nuna crocodile mask (sold)