Savannah Nomads: A Study of the Wodaabe Pastoral Fulani of Western Bornu Province, Northern Region, Nigeria

Savannah Nomads: A Study of the Wodaabe Pastoral Fulani of Western Bornu Province, Northern Region, Nigeria

Savannah Nomads: A Study of the Wodaabe Pastoral Fulani of Western Bornu Province, Northern Region, Nigeria

Savannah Nomads: A Study of the Wodaabe Pastoral Fulani of Western Bornu Province, Northern Region, Nigeria

Excerpt

The Council of the International African Institute in 1950 approved a contribution of funds and facilities for the encouragement of more intensive research and publication on the social life of the pastoral Fulfulḓe-speaking peoples of the Western Sudan. These peoples, known in Nigeria by the Hausa term Fulani, call themselves Fulбe (sing. Pullo). They probably number some six million and are dispersed in many widely scattered groups extending over more than 2,000 miles from Senegal on the west to beyond Lake Chad in the east. Despite their far-flung and dispersed distribution they speak closely related dialects of a common speech and show in their physique that they are, in the main, descended from a single and distinctive stock which has, over a comparatively short period, proliferated eastwards through the savannah zone between the Sahara and the forest belt of West Africa. They have many similar social usages and their values and traditions are in great measure focused on the maintenance of their herds and the continuance of their pastoral life. The Woḓaaбe of north-eastern Nigeria, with whom Dr. Stenning is concerned in this study, exemplify these features to the full.

The political and economic situation of these pastoral peoples has been undergoing considerable changes over the last half century, during which French and British Administrations pacified the Western Sudan and laid the foundations for new lines of development. The fruitful adaptation of their pastoral economy and of their social relations with other peoples has often presented perplexing problems to the Fulбe, to their neighbours, and to governments in many parts of West Africa. Until recently, however, little was known of the details of their economy or of the pattern of social relations within and between the seasonally migrating camp groups. Both for the intrinsic interest of a better understanding of a way of life that appeared likely to undergo far-reaching change in the near future, and as contributions of knowledge that could assist the harmonious development of the peoples of the Western Sudan, intensive field studies of Fulбe communities in different areas were clearly needed.

The Institute undertook to provide for discussions on needs and opportunities for such research, and to assist its eventual publi-

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.