Djeneba: A Minyanka Woman of Southern Mali

Filmmaker:  Bata Diallo

Year of production: 2012
Location: Kadioloko, Mali
Duration: 59 minutes.
Sound: mono
English Subtitles

Djeneba is a mother of nine children living in Kadioloko, southern Mali. Since her husband left the family some years ago Djeneba and her children manage the family’s millet fields without him. Recently the eldest boy, Madou, has brought his new wife, Lidy, into the family group. In this film we explore daily life in the compound as Djeneba assumes full responsibility for her family’s needs. Filmmaker, Bata Diallo, herself a Malian, engages Djeneba’s life-world in observational style and by way of intimate conversations. As well as the family we meet Nono, the old chief of Kadioloko.  He’s a good friend of Djeneba and a renowned local philosopher with a wry world-view and a sense of humour to match. Djeneba and her family are from the agriculturalist Minyaka ethnic group but we also get to know some Fulani pastoralists who share the village of Kadioloko.  “Djeneba” is an hour-long chronicle of quotidian life in rural Mali from a woman’s point of view.

Copyright: 2012  Visual Cultural Studies, University of Tromsø

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ABSTRACT This thesis deals with the way women in Minyanka society are being forced to take on responsibilities that,in former times, were exclusively by their men. for the Minyanka people, control over productive resources has traditionally been centralized in the hands of the head of the household; almost always the husband. it’is been the man of the house who’s been in charge of economics decisions and the supervision of family affairs.But nowadays, with such large numbers of men absent from their home villages in search of wage labour, the entire complex of customary gender roles is seriously disrupted. In fact, this constitutes one of the major challenges confronting the nation state. this thesis will, for the most part, focus on what happens to a particular woman after her husband has, more or less permanently, left the family. My main informant is a mother of nine children. I have sought, in my writing – and in the accompanying video – to examine and depict her everyday lifeworld, especially those aspects of it which pertain to the theme of altered gender roles.

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