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Bedik Bee StoryFinal2pp.jpg

How bees saved the Bedik

Chief Keita: "That's right, the story your heard three years ago about the bees attacking the Muslims is still a reality. It was a reality in the past and still is a reality now days.  

"The war started when the Muslim marabou Afajel Aidelo (not sure about spelling), an Islamic scholar who lived in Guinea, came here to convert the Bediks into Islam. But the Bediks didn't want to be converted.  (Historical accounts reference a holy War in the 17th-century led by Alpha Yaye coming from Fouta Djalon, which was part of the Mali Empire in present day Guinea.)

"It was horrible. The Muslims killed a lot among the Bediks. And those who escaped ran away to hide themselves in the rocks. They could only get out during the night to fetch some water to drink and to pound their yams against the rocks. The situation was difficult.

"Then the Bediks begged their Spirits to help. They even offered to their Spirits 18 young boys as a sacrifice. But the Spirits did not kill those 18 boys. The Spirits are not unfeeling, their hearts were touched.

"The spirits then brought bees into the center of the village. A lot of bees.

"When the Muslim soldiers came, hep, the bees started fighting in favor of the Bediks. And who ever was stung by a bee, he died. Even the marabou leader of the Muslims was bitten by three bees. While he succeeded in getting back home, he died three days later.

"And that is how the Bediks won the war."   

Bedik tribe, Iwol village, Senegal


Notes from Personal Africa Journal

The second time I heard this Bee story was not long after America's 9/11. Still struggling with the Bedikstory metaphors and symbols, I wonder if we in America could have dealt with the attack differently?