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Sherbro (African people) -- Social life and customs, Sherbro language


African Languages and Societies | Applied Linguistics


Albert Yanka telling "Boy lost at Sea" story.

The nephew (a young boy) has left his interior village to join his fisherman uncle. He is so enthusiastic about fishing that he has set up his own independent fishing enterprise. While checking the lines, however, a storm arises and he gets swept away to sea and is bereft for three days. During that time a bundle of bread arrives and saves him from starvation, a “miracle”, according to Ba Yanka. He is finally found by his uncle’s search party and brought back to shore. Everyone rejoices and he is showered with presents.

Characterized by some stilted language (‘the month the white people call July’) but an interesting disquisition on the history of Plantain Island. It was formerly known as Egusi Island, but now taking the name of a rich slave trader who long ago departed without a trace. Egusi is a cucumber-like fruit whose seeds are highly valued as an ingredient for a sauce put on rice. From Nigeria originally? Lots of Yorubas were repatriated here. The name for the island before the slaver John Plantain was Yel Saŋha (many different spellings) ‘Egusi Island’. It is not named after the fruit. Provides evidence of the island sinking, a subvention zone? The island has no fresh water of its own and no latrines; everyone uses the beach.


Africa, Sierra Leone, Kagboro Chiefdom, Shenge


Albert Yanka (consultant)


Sherbro, English

ISO 639

bun, eng

Persistent Identifier


slc0124_YankaBoyLostAtSea.imdi (9 kB)
IMDI transcript

slc0124.htm (1699 kB)
Interview text with phonetic transcription

124a Albert Yanker Boy lost at sea.doc (94 kB)