Guinean Lifestyle and Culture

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Guinea is a culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse country that has differing traditions depending on the tribe one is from. There are however other things that are common among all tribes or ethnicities.

Guinea is a former French colony and some of the French traits have rubbed off on the Guinean culture.

General Etiquette.

Greetings in Guinea are taken very seriously. Whenever you meet someone you have to enquire about their health and that of their family before you can say anything else or have any conversation. Guinean culture encourages and promotes equality among its citizenry.

Guineans do not encourage the use of the left hand in social interaction as it is viewed as disrespectful or inappropriate. You cannot use the left hand to shake hands, hand something to someone, to pay for something or to simply point at something. It is of importance to take note of this before one visits Guinea.


Guinea is religiously diverse and people practice different religions. About 85% of the population are Muslims, while 10% are Christians and 5% take up religious practices including Buddhists and Hindus. Muslims in Guinea belong to the Sunni or the Sufi group.

Christians are divided into Catholics, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Some of the people practice both Cristian and traditional religion and Muslim and traditional religion as well.

Food and cuisine

Guinean food, just like most West African nations, is based around rice, fish, meat, and some sauces. This food can be eaten by hand or by spoon depending on the preferences.

They however like sharing their food, especially in rural areas and you might likely have to use your hands to savor Guinean delicacy. Let us take a brief look at some of the Guinean food you can enjoy.

  • Yassa chicken-this is chicken that is cooked with a sauce made out of tomatoes and onions.
  • Palm wine-this is also very common in West Africa and usually made in rural areas. It is mostly served fresh with meals. It is less strong when fresh but the more the fermentation, the more the alcohol levels.
  • Jollof rice-this is a kind of colorful rice cooked with a mix of onions, tomato paste, meat or fish, and palm oil.
  • Fufu (foufou)-it is a thick porridge made out of cassava flour. It is best eaten using the hands and can be eaten with soups.
  • Cassava leaf sauce- this is a sauce made out of chopped cassava leaves and mixed with either meat or fish. It is best served with rice.
  • Smoked fish-these are smoked fish best served with rice and mixed with a variety of sauces including tomato and onion sauces or okra.
  • Groundnut Sauce-it is a sweet and spicy sauce made out of groundnuts and served with rice. Other accompaniments may include meat or fish. 


Music in Africa bands people and communities together, it is the fabric that brings even culturally and religiously diverse people together. Popular instruments in Guinea include the Ngoni, balafon, the Kora, Dunun, and the Djembe, which are widely used in Guinean folk music.

The former president, Sekou Toure in the 1970s introduced a music policy whereby musicians were encouraged to incorporate traditional influences in their art.

Other modern instruments like drums, guitars, and other instruments were later introduced to guinea and created one unique beautiful African sound. Traditional music varies according to different ethnic groups.

The Government in recent years also created a network of musical and dance groups that featured prominent musicians and performed at most of the country’s functions.


Guineans are also very handy when it comes to curios and unique artifacts. They are crafty and very good at producing stone and wood carvings which are very popular with tourists.

Other crafts include basket weaving, bead necklace making, pottery making, and creating furniture from wood and other recyclable products.


The most popular sport in Guinea is football. The national team takes part in competitions like the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, and other regional competitions.

Guinean clubs have taken part in the CAF Champions League, Super Cup, FIFA Club world cup. Other sporting codes found in guinea include rugby, and athletics though on a smaller scale.


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