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Papel people

Papels, also called Moium, Oium, Papei, Pepel or Pelels,[1] are an ethnic group established in Casamance (Senegal), Guinea Bissau and Guinea. Its population in Guinea Bissau is 7% (115,000), according to the 2012 estimate. They traditionally engaged in hunting and agriculture.


The Papel people live traditionally around the city of Bissau, in the Biombo Region. They are linguistically and culturally close to mankagnes and Manjack or Manjacas. They are traditionally farmers. They also have one of the most suitable land for rice cultivation. Usually they are catholic. Their names are, like the Manjacks, Portuguese because of the Portuguese occupation of the country since the late 15th century until 1973. Surnames characteristic of this ethnic group are: Pereira, Lopes, Veiria, Correia, Monteiro, Ca, etc...

Their language is the Papel, which is part of the Niger–Congo languages.[2] The Estimated number of speakers is 136,000 in Guinea Bissau in 2006.[3]


Most Pepel are Christians,[4] usually catholic,[2] but also practice the Animist beliefs. The ancestor worship is an important part of it, like most sub-sahaarianas African nations. For example, after the burial ceremony "Toka Churchill", held from a few months to several years after the actual funeral of the deceased has a social prestige[4]


  2. ^ a b Les Pepels (ou Papels). Retrieved October 20, 2012, at 23:36 pm
  3. ^ « World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Guinea-Bissau : Overview », Haut Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés [1]
  4. ^ a b Maria Clara Saraiva: Rituais Funerários entre os Papéis da Guiné-Bissau (Parte II) in: Soronda No.8