A relatively small number of Wolof live in Mauritania. Most live in Senegal, where they are the dominant group. The Wolof language comprises several dialects and has borrowed many words from Arabic and various European languages. Almost all Wolof are Muslims, and nearly all belong to one of several Islamic brotherhoods. Farming and trading are the basis of their livelihood.
Descent is reckoned patrilineally, but close ties also are maintained with maternal kin. The basic social unit is the extended family. Perhaps one-fourth of all Wolof households are polygynous. Social stratification is fairly rigid, intermarriage across ethnic boundaries at the same stratum being far more common than intermarriage across strata.
|Country Studies main page | Mauritania Country Studies main page|