Dendi People of Benin , Niger and Burkina Faso.

Dendi People of Benin , Niger and Burkina Faso.

Dendi People also known as Dandawa People are part of the Nilo- Saharan speaking people , they are part of the Songhai ethnic group and Dendi derived from the Songhai language the word ‘’ Dendi’’ means down to the river”. 

They grow crops such as rice , cowpeas, cassava, carrots, onions, yams , sweet potatoes, pepper, cabbage and sorghum also there is a small populations of Dendi In the northern part of Benin , some northern part of Nigeria , northern part of Niger and northern part of Burkina Faso majority of them practice Islam followed by Dendi spirituality .  
According to Dendi Oral history , they traced their origins to the 18th Century Kingdom of Za, their presence are recorded between the towns of Kukiya and Gao in Present day Mali as early as 1010 , they embraced Islam, which was mixed with their Indigenous Dendi belief based on sacred rivers , soil and hunti , Za dynasty collapsed in the end of the 16th Century , It is believed when Morocco conquered the territory . 
In Dendi Culture the village community is patrilineal that is, all the men have a common male ancestor , among Dendi nobles , It is believed first born sons marry their patrilineal uncle’s daughter in order to maintain purity of the lineage , men who would marry must be in their 20s the children of the couples belong to the husband’s lineage , although Islamic law allows a man to have up to four wives in some communities Imams who teach Islamic philosophy practiced Islamic rituals frequently , the Islamic communities among them Include Ibadhi , Ahmadi, Alevi , Yazidi, Druze and Khariji . 
In their tradition they performed ceremonial event known as genji bi hori this include festival celebrated giving offerings to the Creator , Dieties and they perform a traditional dance known as yenaadi which is a rain dance , both genji bi hori ceremonies are celebrated in the dry seasons , alongside they perform Islamic mara bouts , but also consult their ancestors during the festival to cure sickness , Dendi Kingdom was founded by Dendi Songhai from 1591- 1901 it was a West African State in Present day Niger after the collapse of the Songhai Empire . 
It is believed after the Songhai Empire was defeated at the Battle of Tondibi by Invading Saadi dynasty of Morocco , the reigning Askiya dynasty of Songhai fled the city of Gao as the Saadi approached and resettled in Dendi region of northern Niger , Askyia dynasty reorganized Itself under Askyia Nuh I , a new capital was established at Lulami , and continued the traditions of the Songhai Empire.  
Hanga reigned between 1591 and the early 18th Century in the Dendi Kingdom , In 1609 the Malian city of Djenne revolted against the Saadi pashas with Dendi support , In 1612 , Askyia al- Amin reigned or came to power, his short six years of reign in Dendi Kingdom was followed by the rule of Askyia Dawud .

Dendi People Settlements , Empires , Cultures and traditions.
Dendi settlements usually consist of round , mud or thatched dwellings with straw roofs , their settlements along the Niger river contain many rice fields and garden plots .
 Villages farther from the river are surrouned by bush areas and cultivated fields , cowpeas, ground nuts and mainoc are the usual crops , but millet is grown from June to September during the brief rainy season provinces along Niger river , Medru river to Nigeria border, down to Kandi.
 Many of them are located in Djogu and the towns in the north their language forms a dialect cluster with Zarma and Songhai but It is heavily Influenced by Bariba.
It is believed all of the Dendi and Songhai traced their origin to the 8th century.
It is claimed the founder of the dynasty known as Za- Alayaman originally came from what is now Southern part of Yemen some claimed he came from Yemen and settled in the town of Kukiya. 
The town is believed to have been near the modern village of Bentiya on the eastern bank of Niger , north of Fafa .  
Among Dendi farming is considered noble labor for men only the women have gardens in which they grow mangoes , guavas , citrus fruits , papayas , bananas and plantain during the hot and dry seasons they also cultivate carrots , tomatoes , peppers , cabbages , various types of squash.
 According to other accounts It is believed many years ago , they traveled as Merchants throughout the Niger river valley , selling their goods , services and settling along principal caravan routes , in Northern part of Benin they are located in Atakora and Borgou south east of Gao.
Tombstones with Arabic Inscriptions dates back to the 14th and 15th Centuries have been found in the area, the Kingdom of Gao capitalized on the growing trans Saharan trade and grew into a small regional power before being conquered by the Mali Empire in the early 13th Century . 
The rise and fall of Gao since the middle of the 8th Century AD , Songhai People had dwelled in the eastern part of Mali at the trading city of Gao , the region surrounding the Kingdom came under the Influence of Sundiata’s Mali empire after 1275 however, It was not completely under the empire's control until its 1324 conquest of General Sagha Madja.
Gao regained its Independence in 1464 , the new Songhai Empire began a campaign of conquest and eventual conversion under Askyia dynasty , they finally vanquished their old overlords in the 1546 capturing and destroying the Mali Capital of Niani but Songhai’s quick emergence in West Africa would be followed by a quick decline . 
A defeat at the Battle of Tondibi against Invading Saadi forces armed in the end of the empire , Askyia dynasty fled Gao as Saadi approached and resettled in Dendi region of Niger.
In their Culture women paint facial tribal marks and they make Dendi Wagasi which is a traditional milk Cheese in northern Niger and other parts of northern Benin , northern Burkna Faso .
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