Niamakoroni is a farming community, located on the Mande plateau in south-central Mali, approximately 35 km from Bamako. The settlement is a series of closely clustered adobe brick structures and shade trees. It was founded at the close of the 19th century, by a lineage segment from a nearby community, to gain access to new farmland. Contemporary residents of Niamakoroni, as did their ancestors before them, claim a Bamana (Bambara) ethnic identity.
The primary domestic group in the community (residential, food production and consumption unit) is called a du (duw, plural) in the Bamana language (Bamanankan). Members of each du live close to one another and share meals throughout the year. Niamakoroni's duw are multi-generational joint families; junior males, and their spouses and families, live and work under the authority of the group's eldest male, the dutigi. As senior members of their lineage groups, dutigiw have access to arable uplands and the authority to direct the labour of those who live with them.
Women in the community are responsible for food processing, cooking and all household maintenance tasks. Men have few domestic obligations aside from building and maintaining houses (see also Creevey, 1986; Thiam, 1986).