Bissa, Bisan, Bissanno, is a Mande ethnic group of south-central Burkina Faso, northeastern Ghana, the northernmost tip of Togo and northern Benin. Bissa is said to be one of the oldest ethnic groups in the old Ghana Empire. The name was not Bissa or Busanga until they came to Burkina Faso. The ancient name for the Bissa according to research was “Sonike ethnic group” with their ancestor called Dinga who came from the Middle East.

The language is a Mande language that is related to, but not the same as, a cluster of languages in the old Borgu Kingdom area of Northeast Benin and Northwest Nigeria, including Busa, Boko, and Kyenga. An alternate name for the Bissa is Busansi which is used by the Mossi people.  

According to some Islamic narrations, it is said that Dinga came from a town called Aswarn in Egypt. They further moved to Senegal in segments after the Ghana Empire collapsed. Some of the segments are as follows; the Bambara, the Mandinke, the Marka, the Wangara, the Samo, the Dogon etc. From Senegal, a segment of the group known as Mandinka ethnic group moved to Mande which is now known as Mali to form the Mali Empire. The Mandinke group has similar culture and tradition as the modern Bissa, some of these traditions and culture are; cultural display, farming of peanuts and other food stuff etc.

Years later segments were formed from the Mandinke group. One of the segments is the Mande group, which the Bissas are part. This group moved to settle in south central of Burkina Faso in Tankodogu as their oldest town. According to some oral traditions, Bissas met no ethnic groups in the virgin land of Upper Volta now known as Burkina Faso. When they got there, they settled by a river. That river is called Bissa in the Bissa dialect. They settled near the river because of their agriculture activities. Bissas are known to be great farmers of vegetables, fruits, grains, cereals etc. Other relatives who visited them called them “Bissano” meaning people of the river, that is exactly where, and when the name Mandinke changed to Bissa as used today.

From Burkina Faso, the Bissas continued to move in search of fertile lands to do their farming. Some came to Ghana, others moved to Togo, Benin and still the search for fertile lands is on. Those who came to Ghana settled in towns and villages in the Upper East Region. Some of the towns and villages they settled in are; Kultamsi, Kulungugu, Nwaare, Gumakurtar, Pusiga, Tampizua, Manga, Bado and many more places.

Most Bissa are Muslim. The bisa of the Garango Circle are among the most representative of the north. The Garango township, which forms the centre of the northern Bisa, remained independent, while the northwestern districts were under the tutelage of the Mossi kingdom of Ouagadougou and the northeastern townships under the supervision of the Mossi kingdom of Tenkodogo. 

The Bissa are known for their cultivation of peanuts. Traditionally, a Bissa man who wants to court a Bissa girl must work in her mother's peanut field, and be able to provide the girl with her own peanut field if they get married.

The Bissa are divided into two major language groups, which is the Barka and Lerre. They are further divided into several clans. Each clan has a name and an appellation normally called dedaa by the Bissa. The appellation is now used as a surname in Burkina Faso.

Some notable clans and Appellations of the Bissa Tribe

The Clan Applellations

  • Pagou Nombre /Ziginni
  • Gassuogou Yaalah
  • Tangari Lengani
  • Garango Bambara
  • Tunugu Saare
  • Sandugu Zeba
  • Lergu Jinko
  • Ziglah Bandau
  • Pakala Billa
  • Tuuro Dabre
  • Woono Zaare
  • Saawunno Nyenni
  • Chenno Yabre
  • Bura Zuure
  • Saarugu Saare
  • Muungo Gamine
  • Kayo Gampine
  • Bugula Darga
  • Gulagun Nombone
  • Yiringu Galbane
  • Lengi monnie
  • Kadpugu Yankini
  • Ganni Samandulugu
  • Jangani Guengane
  • Bedega Wandaago
  • Leda Zampaligidi
  • woono wango
  • longa Welgu/Keera
  • Sasima Daboni
  • Zangila Kidibari
  • kuu Lenkoni
  • Zaka Boibani
  • Hunzaawu Zombra
  • Bergu Baara
  • Nyaawu Campaore
  • Gulanda Bayere
  • leere Zampoo
  • Dansanga Genni
  • Somma Zakaani
  • Sominne Senre/Sebene
  • Gudu Sewonner
  • Sonno Lembani
  • Wargu Bansi
  • Tollah Bansi
  • Wanda Gulla
  • Dansanga Genni
  • Zhetta Zesonni
  • Koonteega Yourda
  • Bangu Sambare
  • Youngou Gambo
  • Gerrimah Nyenni
  • Kerimah Ziigani
  • Yakungu Gengani
  • Gangila Nunkansi
  • kele Gansani
  • Tinga Bidiga
  • Bann Zanni



Wikipedia contributors. (2020, September 29). Bissa people. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:34, December 17, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bissa_people&oldid=980887550

Abdul Gaffar Salifu. (OCTOBER 8, 2019). Brief history of the Bissa (Busanga) people. Retrieved December 17, 2020, from https://zongorepublic.com/brief-history-of-bissa/

Post Comments2

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