Borassus aethiopum (Palmyra Palm)

Dibu (dee•boo - plural madibu) is a proto-western Bantu word that means dog bell. The word is used in the rainforest of central Africa. These bells are carved from borassus pods, seedpod of the Palmyra Palm, or from the wood of a tree called mumpala madibu, "for carving dog bells", and which is said in one text to be able "to put witches to flight."  Iron came into use later and was used to make bells. Because the dogs do not bark the bells are used to track them while hunting and also help flush game ahead of the dogs.

Sources: Jan Vansina "Paths in the Rainforest", Wyatt MacGaffey "Kongo Political Culture", and Wyatt MacGaffey "Ethnographic notes on Kongo musical instruments" in African Arts.

Borassus aethiopum (Palmyra Palm)


Dibu Basenjis

Copyright © 2006 James E Johannes. All rights reserved.

 Page updated: 04/02/2013