Yawei chiefdom traces its origins to a group of Mende warriors who migrated from present day Kono district to settle in the chiefdom during the early 19th century. Yah was the name of the leader of these warriors, Yawei meaning kingdom of Yah in Mende. He apportioned the chiefdom to his lieutenant chiefs, each of whom has a ruling family today. The headquarters of the chiefdom, Bandajuma, was an important police garrison during the colonial period. The current chief is Brima Keketeh II, a Mende elected in 2002. There was no chief during the war, as the previous chief John Baylor Kuyembeh, had died in 1987 and had not been replaced at the start of the conflict.

Jusu Sembeh  - This house is the lineage of a warrior named Gunu, who arrived with Yah.

Gouvaya Gbondo - This house is the lineage of Gouvaya Gbondo, a descendant of the warriors who arrived with Yah. He succeeded Gunu on the throne.

Keketeh - This house is the lineage of Gbato Maweifei, a descendant of the warriors who arrived with Yah. with Yah. Gbato succeed Gouvya Gbondo on the throne.

Kuyembeh - This house gained legitimacy through marriage to the Gunu house. Their family migrated from another town in Kono called Tugbebu. Their forebearer, Kuyembeh had comitted murder and sought refugee in Yawei. His son, Amara, came looking for him, and befriended Jusu Sembeh, the leader of the Gunu house at the time, because they were of the same age. Amara persuaded Sembeh to allow them to stay in the area, and was himself married to Sembeh’s sister, Adama. The son of Adama, Momoh Kuyembeh because the first paramount chief from this family in 1974

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