Tongo Players

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Name given to a group of professional witchfinders who were called in to investigate and detect members of the Human Leopard society (q.v.) blamed for a series of murders in Imperri chiefdom in the early 1890s. The large numbers of those they identified as being Human Leopards and the summary way in which the Tongo players proceeded to kill them alarmed the Colonial Government which passed legislation banning all Tongo activity.

  • [There is no single work that covers the history of the Temne as a whole. Paul Hair makes a number of suggestive remarks about the 16th century Temne in the notes and commentaries that accompany his translations of 16th and 17th century Portuguese texts but they are not drawn together in a connected narrative. Other researchers (Songo-Davies, Dorjahn, Ijagbemi, Lenga-Kroma) content themselves with describing the historical origins of individual Temne chiefdoms. This may of course say something about the Temne themselves: that they are not a homogeneous people so much as a number of culturally overlapping but largely autonomous rural communities.]
  • T.J.Alldridge, The Sherbro and its Hinterland (London 1901), Ch.16.
  • K.J.Beattie, Human Leopards (London 1915)