Fula Connection?!

Since reading Maya Angelou’s “All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes” in college I have dreamt about traveling to mainland Africa and finding people who looked like me. In her book, Ms Angelou travel’s to Ghana in the 60’s and visits a village where she was immediately embraced as a lost member because she had many of the features associated with that tribe.

One day I met three women and babysitting onto an elevator. Immediately, two of the women started asking me if this was my real hair, am I mixed, etc. Since moving to the DC area, I’ve gotten used to the “What are you?” questions. So, immediately went into my “My family is from Cape Verde, off the coast of Senegal…” spiel and explained that it’s a former Portuguese colony, yadda, yadda, yadda.

They told me that they were Fula from Gambia, they hadn’t heard of Cape Verde, but were very familiar with Senegal. One of the women told me that I resembled her mother and had a lot of the features of the Fula people. While searching online for pictures of Fula people was immediately struck by the resemblance in features between many Cape Verdeans and the Fula’s.

Maybe I will have my Maya Angelou moment, after all!

I’ve added some pictures of my family, people from Cape Verde and Fula’s of different West African countries.

My mother
Fula child
My Great Grandmother

Fula woman


Author: The Creola Genealogist

My name is Anna Lima. I am the daughter of immigrants, born and raised in Massachusetts. I am the mother of two and a Speech Pathologist. My love of family history began as a child listening to my elders speak of “the old country”. Through their stories grew a love for the culture and traditions of my ancestors and I wanted to know more about who they were. My great-grandmother, our family Griot, was my greatest inspiration as she passed down stories and traditions that have helped me become the person I am today. I believe that remembering our ancestors strengthens who we are. I hope to continue my great-grandmother’s legacy, to continue to pass down the stories of not only my own family history but also the stories of the ancestors of anyone who wishes to remember. My blog is dedicated to the ancestors, those remembered and those yet to be found.

5 thoughts on “Fula Connection?!”

  1. wow.. amazing that an Island so close to Africa was colonized and the people were thoroughly disconnected from their original names language religion and culture!! I thought it only happened to Black People far away in the Americas but not that close to the Mother Continent!!!! I too have been awakened to my Fulbhe (Fulani) roots here in North America. Please keep researching, I’m sure you will unearth so many links to your original roots and heritage. Much success my Sister and thanks for sharing.

  2. Also, from what I have researched thus far there were thousands of Fula that were taking to cape verde. So it’s no coincidence that your family and so many cape verdians resemble Fulbhe. You are no doubt descendants.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I have no doubt that I am connected to Fula. I’ve done DNA testing that shows connections to Berbers in North Africa and mandika in West Africa. I match Bantu’s in Camaroon and Sierra Leone, as well! Being a descendant of Cape Verdeans, it shouldn’t surprise me that my African ancestry is so diverse. My hope is to one day travel to all of these places.
      Have you done DNA testing? Is that how you made your connection to them?

      1. DNA has to be interpreted. Berbers and Fulani have similar DNA mixture. Our culture and some of the language also match. Also Fulbhe (Fulani) has elements of Bantu depending on the region. We are a migratory people so we have intermarried among many groups. So DNA alone is not sufficient as Dr. Henry Louis Gates pointed out. You have to measure DNA and historical Data to get a true picture. For me it was a series of experiences that I had that lead me to research which eventually took me to Futa Jallon. Please go to my youtube page where I have documented much of my experience through interviews, slideshows and footage in Africa. http://www.youtube.com/elijahshabazz

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