The Sonjo of Tanganyika: An Anthropological Study of an Irrigation-Based Society

The Sonjo of Tanganyika: An Anthropological Study of an Irrigation-Based Society

The Sonjo of Tanganyika: An Anthropological Study of an Irrigation-Based Society

The Sonjo of Tanganyika: An Anthropological Study of an Irrigation-Based Society

Excerpt

This book is based upon field work which was carried out during the last six months of 1955. The meagre information about the Sonjo which I possessed prior to this visit indicated that they were a distinctive, closely knit society practising irrigation. I planned my research with the limited object of investigating the irrigation system and its relation to the social structure, hoping thereby to obtain insight into a type of ecology and social system which has not previously been studied in sub-Saharan Africa. In the present book I submit my findings and interpretations.

The period of my field research coincided with the dry season, during which the motor road to Sonjo is open. It was also the period during which the irrigation system was in full operation. I was fortunate in being able to witness the two important annual festivals of the Sonjo. Although the harvest festival was only celebrated at one village during my stay, the second festival took place at all the villages. Much of my information about Sonjo religion comes from observations and conversations at these festivals.

The Sonjo are quite definitely xenophobic in their attitude towards the outside world; some of the reasons for this will appear in the text of the book. In the past, the Sonjo villages have been virtually closed to outsiders, except for government officials, unless accompanied by an approved escort. My wife and I were not allowed to locate our camp inside any of the villages, and in the early weeks of research my movements in the villages were somewhat restricted and constantly observed. Later on, the suspicion with which I was first regarded decreased considerably. It was a great advantage during my first month to have as guide and informant Simon Ndula, the author of the mythological text, published by Fosbrooke (1955), which is discussed in chapter VII. He was a native Sonjo, seconded from his duties as government messenger and assigned to me by the District Commissioner of Masai District.

Our field camp was located near the villages of Kheri and . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.