Report from Adamou Amadou, Master in Visual Cultural Studies, University of Tromsø
Financial support for the project: “Urbanisation and the transformation of gender roles: The case of Mbororo women everyday strategies in Cameroon”Let me start this report by thanking the Sami center for their financial support for this fieldwork. It has been a great contribution for me and my fieldwork assistant both for the travel expenses and my subsistence in the field.
This is my memory field report. In these following lines I would like to remind to the reader what was the starting point of my project, how things progress, what kind of data I have been able to collect, Somme social situations I face, and the tentative of findings.
Cameroon is one of African country in which multi ethnic is very highlighted as a human resource. In the midst of these ethnics group we can cite the Mbororo. The Mbororo are nomadic people by general definition. But now they start settle more and more. Thus they are transiting from the bush life to the citizenry. My project was concerning the role of women during this transiting period. I was looking after how the women are able to uphold the stability in such a situation as transiting from nomad ism to sedentary, the consistence of their activities, the difficulties they face, and the household relation and so on. I titled the project : Urbanisation and the transformation of gender roles: the case of Mbororo women everyday strategies in Cameroon
The main point of this project was the process of sedentary. This process is crowned by many causes. The main cause is the changing social situation of the Mbororo. We started by underling that in Cameroon as in the rest of the other African countries, the traditional way of herding is disappearing day after day. The development of agriculture becomes more and more important because the number of births raise every year, therefore the population increase too. Thus the bush is occupied by the farms and it becomes very narrow for the nomadism. The second raison of the Mbororo sedentary is the increase of the insecurity both in two and in the bush. Now the robberies use different strategies to force the Mbororo in the bush to produce for them the economical resource. One of the ways of doing it is kidnapping the Mbororo children and asks the ransom. Little by little these people start losing many of their cattle which is their most important patrimony. For all these reasons they have to change their place to live. But, it is easy for this Fulani from the bush to settle either in the peripheries or in the town? What are the new activities they are copying with? What are they gaining and what are they losing? The main question amid all these listed before and constituted the research question is what is the role of women’s role in the society’s survival is? Here I mean by role, sustain given by Mbororo women to this society during this period of transition. We have got to know that these women were always in contact with the town, because even though living in the bush, they used to go sell their milk in town almost everyday from far a way. But now things change a bit.
Formally they had their own milk for their own cows, now they have to go far in the bush buy the same milk but still they kept in doing it for the family survival. We also affirm that the men seem to do a lot as they were supposed to in the contrary of my hypothesis before leaving for the fieldwork, when I argued that it seemed to me that the man lost their way in this context.
In the other side I have been interested by the way the Mbororo children are fitting between others citizen children. Their relation each other and how the citizen children were considering the Mbororo children as I dialled with it when I was child. Their new interest like tool’s play was one main part of my project. I was supposed to compare the Mbororo bush childhood and the same Mbororo childhood in town. I did I found that, now the Mbororo children are more occupy by the new ways of vision both in their play and in their life. For the play they are more considering foot-ball as the rest of the Cameroonians children. In the life perspective, they are copying with new activities different to the herding.
Some fieldwork’s material, as data, field note, and footages has been collected:
Although I started my field late than it has been planed ,I can say that, during these three months of my stay in Wouro Kessoum, I learned a lot, and I got sufficient material to write the thesis and edit the film. I will discuss with my supervisor and my colleagues to organize it, since the academic knowledge is, from my point of view, a product of different contribution and advices.
From what I have been shooting for three months I got about twenty four and half tapes. But it is both for the theses and the film. Plus that I have some interesting interviews which I found very relevant, because related to my topic.
My interest of this project was clearly defined by my belonging to this ethnic group but mainly because of the lake of academics researches made by the Mbororo themselves on their own situation and culture, the need to urge the Cameroonian’s authorities to elaborate at least a plan of integration of these marginalise citizen, and my interest of gender issue.
I also noticed that the raison for the Mbororo migration. It is mainly because of insecurity, the subpopulation, the environment degradation.
One more, thanks you for the Sami center. Mi yetti!