GLOBAL FULANI SOCIETY
In the Djibo region of Burkina Faso, on the southern edge of the African Sahel, Fulani society is divided into three classes of people: Fulani, artisans, and people of captive or serf ancestry. In Fulfulde, the Fulani are called FulBe (sing. Pullo); hence for greater clarity and ease of expression from now on I will use this term when I wish to specify that part of Fulani society. I will use the term Fulani as a noun or adjective only to refer to the larger society that includes the FulBe and the others as well. In the local dialect of Fulfulde there is no commonly used generic term for artisans. They, like the FulBe, are free (rimBe, sing. dimo, which also means "noble"), but they form a kind of endogamous caste since they do not marry people of other social categories. In the Djibo region they amount to a few percent at most of the total population, and consist of three principal craft groups: the wayluBe (sing. baylo) where the men are blacksmiths and the women potters, the maabuuBe (sing. maabo) where both men and women are bards, genealogists, and storytellers, and the lawBe (sing. labbo) where the men are woodworkers. The terms used to designate people of captive or serf ancestry are maccuBe (sing. maccuDo) and riimaayBe (sing. diimaajo). The nuance of meaning between these words is that the first means "captive," hence people captured in wars or raids and perhaps bought in a market, while the second refers to the original inhabitants of an area who continue to live and work there after having been conquered by FulBe invaders. The two categories of people are not distinguishable in any evident way, and today, in any case, both are free by law. Most of the time I shall use the term RiimaayBe to refer to both groups.
In the 1960s and 1970s, there were no special economic or politi