The Serer People of Senegal

We love learning about other cultures, and today’s spotlight is on the Serer people. 

Numbering more than 1 million in Senegal, the Serer people are the third largest ethnic group in the country. They make up about 15% of the population in Senegal, about 2% of the population in Gambia, and also are found in small numbers in Mauritania

The Serer people have been historically noted as a matrilineal (kinship is traced through the mother’s lineage) ethnic group that “long resisted the expansion of Islam, fought against jihads in the 19th century, then opposed the French colonial rule (source).”

Serer people traditionally speak a language of the same name, and in fact, it is so widely spoken in Senegal that the country uses it in its national curriculum.

Many Serer grow millet, rice, and other crops, as well as tend cattle, sheep, and goats. 

Culturally, the Serer are known for their traditional clothing. Woven by men, the Serr is believed to bring good luck to those who wear it (source). They also are famous for a form of wrestling called Laamb or Mjomb. And like the Wolof, the Serer are noted for playing the sabar, a traditional drum played in ensemble for celebrations and events.

The Serer are another people that make Senegal and Africa vibrant and infuse them with beauty and culture.