The Work of Pleasure

Filmmaker:  Rachel Bale Guengue

Year of production: 2008
Location: Cameroon
Duration: 34 minutes
Sound: mono
Language: French
English Subtitles

The work of pleasure, a Sourga work party in Mayo-Baleo, Cameroon is a film about the Sourga, a traditional strategy used by the Pere people for the organization of the agricultural work. It’s a system of reciprocal work labor exchange employed mainly for ploughing and weeding wherein men, women and children gather to work, eat, dance and in particular enjoy the local beer.

Copyright: 2008  Visual Cultural Studies, University of Tromsø

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The study investigated the sourga within the socio-economic life of the Pere people living in the plain of Mayo-Baleo, Northern Cameroon. It was found out that the sourga, as this reciprocal labor exchange constitutes an important aspect of the social, economic and cultral life of the Pere people. It has also continued to be crucial notwithstanding the change from subsistence farming to commercial farming among the Pere farmers. The sourga allows the integration of the Pere farmers to the market economy and consequently relates the area to the outside world. Sourga is a marker of kinship and belongingness and so reflects the cultural values of the Pere people. This social institution has been practiced for many years. It has undergone some changes but still, the cultural values and the increase search of profits maintain its existence.

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