New Way of Life

Filmmaker: Flavie Chiwo Tembou

Year of production: 2014
Location: Bahouan, Cameroon
Duration: 35 min.
Sound: mono
Language: Fulani, Bahouan, Bamendjou, French, Pidgin-English
English Subtitles

This film is an exploratory study which tries to understand and elaborate on the economic and social life experience of the Mbororo (Fulani) in Bahouan. They have migrated to Bahouan, a village in the Western Cameroon in search of livelihood. There, they work as housekeepers for the local people who themselves live in the city or abroad, but come to the village for their rituals.

The film also portrays a vivid description of how the Mbororo despite being a minority group have managed to build an interethnic peaceful relationship with the Bahouan people. As the result of their daily interaction, adaptation, and identity crisis are some of the main concern of the Mbororo in this process of change due to the ongoing integration.

Copyright: 2014  Visual Cultural Studies, University of Tromsø

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ABSTRACT This paper aims to analyze the daily life of some Mbororo migrant workers in Bahouan village. Due to some external and internal forces on their nomadic lifestyle, these Mbororo Muslims have decided to seek for livelihood in Bahouan, among the mainly agricultural Christian people. Since then, their strategy has been in attempting to rebuild their herd and provide for their relatives back home. This analysis of the integration process of these Mbororo to Bahouan, tries to examine how, despite their cultural differences with the host population, these Mbororo have been able to contribute and get integrated in this community. It also presents the socio-cultural dynamics and the possible changes in their tradition trough their daily encounters. Finally, this paper presents the socio-cultural dilemma that the Mbororo are facing in Bahouan. While trying to earn their living in this community, they are in a situation of a split identity. In fact, their daily life is oscillating between three main concerns. The first dilemma is that they are trying to integrate themselves to Bahouan community in order to be accepted by the local people. Secondly, they are gradually assimilating themselves with the settled Fulani. Even not being physically present in Bahouan, the settled Fulani are constantly in the mind of these Mbororo who want to embrace the Fulani way of life. Meanwhile, the fact that the Bahouan people have little knowledge on Mbororo people background makes it easier to them to be perceived as Fulani. Thirdly, the fact that these Mbororo are sending half of their monthly salary back in the bush to preserve their cultural heritage shows that they are not yet ready to cut contact with their original tradition.

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