The Fulani Essay

1093 words - 4 pages

The Fulani--A Nomad PeopleBy: Natalie C. Whitney First I would like to provide some background of the Fulani. The Fulani are very nomadic people, which mean they move around a lot. They are the largest nomadic group in the world. Because they have moved around a lot during their lives they are comprised of many different groups. They are very diverse and special in many ways. They are very proud people and are used to ruling over others. Some Fulani are settling now. The original Fulani are of the North African or Middle Eastern origin. They were the first group in western Africa to convert to Islam through jihads or as we know them, holy wars. Through this way, they took over much of West Africa and established themselves not only as a religious force, but also as a political and economical force. There are approximately 18 million Fulani in the world today. They span Africa from Lake Chad to the Atlantic Coast. From Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, The Gambia, and Niger. The Language of the Fulani is called Fula. It is commonly referenced to as an Atlantic language of the Niger-Congo family. Fulani's use the Chad for their currency. When they do settle they often live in huts that they make themselves.The Fulani are mostly nomadic herders and traders. They often go to local marketers and interact with the people there. That is usually how they get news and often spread news also. The most important objects in Fulani society are cattle. Cattle represent many things about a Fulani member. The number of cows that they own equals their wealth. A man's cattle are treated as an extended family rather than just something for economic purposes. Sometimes their cattle can be a problem. Often conflicts arise with other ethnic groups because Fulani cattle will often eat grain of local farmers in the places that the Fulani are migrating through. Normally Fulani raise large amounts of cattle and therefore some that have settled have settled in spacious places like the plains of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.The term Pulaaku implies that one can manage one's herd well. The Fulani male sees his people as having a ceremonial role to maintain the triangular relationships of their interdependence between himself, his wife, and his cattle. His cattle can give a man milk and prestige. For all that cattle do for a man, the man in turn gives the cattle water, protection, and pasture to eat of. To them this is one of life's greatest tradeoffs. The wife contributes by preparing food, producing the dairy products, and fertility. If a man follows this he is seen to have both skill as a herder and also to be a very smart and knowledgeable man. Pulaaku must be passed on by each generation, otherwise, it will disappear, and then this will cause lost herds, clan breakage to seek work in the settled society. It is a chain reaction and a reaction the Fulani do not want to happen.Fulani have a huge respect for beauty. Beauty is considered very important...

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