Introduction / History The Bassari people are located in a group of villages reaching from the Togo border east of Zabzugu some 30 kilometers east to Basaar in Togo. The Bassari are farmers with their farms being located away from the towns that they live in. The larger the town the farther away their farms. The major crop is yam, but maize, guinea corn, millet, tigernuts and groundnuts are also cultivated. When a man gets married he must have his own quarters so he usually starts a new compound. Each wife has her own hut where she lives with her children; girls stay with their mother till they are married, but boys get rooms of their own when they grow up.
There are 30 Bassari clans, each linked by name and ancestry to the towns of Bassar, Kabou and Sara in Togo, and to heads of families which moved into that area perhaps 350 years ago. The clans are exogamous, and the various clan leaders have formed alliances sealed by marriage. Many Bassari have migrated and Kpandai, though not in the Bassari homeland, is the biggest urban Bassari community in Ghana.
What are their beliefs? Islam has made little headway among the Bassari although there has been a Muslim influence amongst them for over a century or more. Islam is attractive as it seems to be the religion of the rich, and because it makes available additional charms; it is an international religion, a man's religion, with an ideal of brotherhood.
Christianity brought medical and other help to the poor. The outstanding character of the first missionaries attracted people to their message: they were known for their love of people.