The Bétés are a people living in the Mid-West of Côte d'Ivoire, particularly in the regions of Gagnoa, Ouragahio, Soubré, Buyo, Issia, Saïoua, Daloa and Guibéroua, in what is called the "The cocoa belt ".
They represent about 18% of the country's population, making it the second largest ethnic group in the country after the Baoulés. Part of the Krous groupe which included the Wès and Didas. Some Bétés migrated to the Divo area to blend into an indigenous population to form another ethnic group, the Didas. On the fringes of the Cocoa belt are the Kouya, the Niédéboua, and the Niaboua. The Bété language accent differs from one region to another.
Bétés from Gagnoa have a social organization similar to the Akans and the neighboring southern regions who do not celebrate masks contrary to those of Daloa and Issia, closer to the Wè where the mask is a proper institution . along with the Senoufo, they are one of the oldest living ethnic groups on the territory called "Ivory Coast" sincet the late 19th century.
Despite some noted variants, there is a common cultural background to all the bétés, part of 93 tribes. The cult of the bagnon is present in all bété regions. Every village has its bagnon. He is appointed according to physical and moral criteria. He is respected and consulted because of his exemplary life. He is worshiped.
The artistic production is rich and varied. It is dominated by dance and song. They govern the events, happy or unhappy, of social life. Each region has its pepe or tite, rotating artistic week that brings together several villages. There are several musical rhythms in particular countries (Towoulou, Alloukou, Ziglibithy, Gbégbé, etc.)
Frédéric Bruly Bouabré created the Bété alphabet, he extracts 400 monosyllabic words from the Bété language and represents them in the form of pictograms. Only a few initiates practice this writing but Bruly's drawings circulate in museums around the worldMatriclans at BetesMatriclans (Lêlé) exist among Bétés de Gagnoa. The lêlé is a parental (matrilineal) organization that takes a stand against the dominant (patrilineal) parental organization in Bété country. This parental organization is very widespread among Zedi, Zabia and Gbadi. However, the Nekedi, the Niabré (Gnebré), the Paccolo and the Guébié do not ignore it, because some of their nationals (those who have a mother from one of its three aforementioned tributes) refer to their matriclan. It should also be noted that leel also exists among the Didas (Yourou).The matriclans vary from 6 to 7 sometimes 8 according to the villages, one distinguishes Gatoua, Têkpêtoua, Médétoua, Datoua, Litoua, the Doutoua. It is therefore clear that each of the Lêlé groups together thousands of people. The name of these matriclans is that of the six female ancestors whose genealogical connection with living mothers are impossible to establish, they are mythical figures giving rise to a great variety of stories. Uncle is to belong to a sibling, one is member of this sibship by his mother. For example, if a Datoyou marries a Tekpetohonon, their children will be Tekpetoua. Finally, it should be noted that men and women of the same age are considered brothers and sisters, which has the effect of preventing a possible marital union (it is not a true marriage ban, those who wish past besides must make an animal sacrifice to avoid sterility of the couple). The Religious Organization at the Bété is about the old cults and the new ones that preoccupy the community. Traditionally, Bété are animists or fetishists. That is to say, they distinguish an invisible world surrounding with which one can, by various devices, communicate; and a visible world that does not hide less some of its manifestations that must also be required.The first world includes the unique God of his kind, and the other spirits including the dead and assimilated. The second world is related to the human, animal, vegetable and mineral worlds. The fetishism or animism in vogue among the Bété is born from this desire to be surrounded by the blessing of the two worlds, by the association of material elements given, by a prescribed step, by a word uttered, on the councils or the the conduct of a third party, who may be a person who proposes to do so, or, on the occasion of a dream or revelation of some kind. As for witchcraft, as well known to the Bété people, it comes to take the opposite of fetishism by no longer calling the blessing of the visible and invisible world, but its curse on the third. They are very pragmatic in the field of cults or they seek the solution to their concerns considered insurmountable by the human way.