A Mossi Baga Diviner in Burkina Faso
The film “A Mossi Baga Diviner in Burkina Faso” was informative. The film was a little boring but, I did learn some new information about the Baga Diviner. A baga diviner is a person used to communicate with the spirit world and to discover the sources of disaster, failure, death and disease.
The subject of this film was a man named Saladogo. Saladogo was an elderly man who has six wives and is part of the Mossi tribe. Saladogo is the Mossi tribe’s Baga diviner. As the Baga he dances to communicate with the ancestors and the gods. He is the liaison between the tribes people and the spirit world.
In order to hear from the spirit world the Baga wears very complex traditional garb. The Baga wears printed mud-dyed cloth on his body. Cowry shell jewelry adorns his neck, wrists and arms while a cowry shell hood is placed on his head. Metal gongs are placed in his hands which become part of his ceremony.
Saladogo explained to the narrator that when he begins dancing the ancestors intervene with him and through him. The baga performs for wives who have not had children. He also dances when there are problems within the tribe such as a lack of food. The Baga dances to find out what the ancestors need in order to provide for the tribe.
Since Saladogo is quite old he explained when a baga can no longer dance his younger brother or son will take his place and become the new Baga. The new Baga will perform the same traditional dances and melodies with the metal hand gongs.
The content of the film was interesting although the subtitles were dreadful. The Mossi Baga reminds me of prayer dancers in Christianity. It was nice to see where that influence might have came from.
Roy, C. (Producer). (2006) Speaking with God: A Mossi Divinerin Burkina Faso. Des Moines. University of Iowa.