Who Are the Bakwé?
The Bakwé, pronounced [BA-kwey], is the name of both the language and the people.
What does Bakwé mean?
One story says that it is the name the French colonialists gave them. Using the local people to pull their large canoes up the Sassandra River by ropes, the French noticed that there was one group that pulled the best. Not knowing the name of the group, they referred to them as the ‘Bakoué’ since that is what this group shouted out as they pulled the ropes. In Bakwé, ‘’ba ‘kuεε’ means ‘you all pull!’, or, the equivalent of ‘heave-ho!’ Dense lowland tropical rainforest is the home of the Bakwé people of the southwest Côte d’Ivoire. Linguistically, the Bakwé are in the Kru family of languages and one of still several that do not have the Scriptures. For more information on the language click on the side-bar menu item “language”
Where do they live?
Click on the map to the left to enlarge it.
The Bakwé live in southwest Côte d’Ivoire. Their territory extends from the Gô River in the west to the Sassandra River in the east, and from the right bank of the Sassandra River at the town of Soubré down to the San-Pédro River in the south. These physical boundaries roughly correspond to the following ethnic boundaries: to the east, the Néyo, the Kodia and the Bété (from the south to the north along the Sassandra River); to the south, the Néyo and the Wané; to the west, the Kroumen; to the north, the Bété.