Chapter 81: Living in a graphic universe: the earth houses of Gurunsi people

Tiébélé the main village of the Kassena tribe situated in the southern region of Burkina Faso bordering northern Ghana is characterized by its sophisticated Gurunsi decorated architecture. The majority of the Kassena tribe and its neighboring Frafra tribe  still live in these elegantly designed homes made of mud walls, usually a mixture of clay, straw and cow dung, either round or more rectilinear in form; though modern techniques have helped in the building process, utilizing mud bricks and stone foundations. The geometric forms of the home is very significant, the square home is only for married couple and the rectangular home is for bachelors, who are too old to live with parents but not yet married.

Gurunsi people includes tribes of Gurensi, Kasena, Lyele, Nuna, Nunuma, Sisala, and Winiama. They speak various dialects of the Gur language, and it was the Mossi who gave the Gurunsi name to the tribes who live in the west and south of the Mossi plateau. Together they number about 200,000 people, the most numerous of which are the Nuna, estimated at 100,000.These tribes are mainly farmers growing millet, sorghum and yams, rice, corn, peanuts and beans, which utilize the method of slash and burn farming and rotating fields regularly. The men do most of the farming though women usually have small plots that are mainly used for cash crops, over the staple food grown by the men.

The Gurunsi  believe in a God creator called Yi that distanced himself from man after creating the world. Yi gave Su the task of taking care of man.  Su's spirit is thought to be harnessed in the form of a mask, for both beneficial reasons for Gurunsies and harmful reasons for their enemies. There is a shrine located in the center of every village dedicated to Su to ensure he is happy, and to make sure communal harmony is achieved.

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