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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Citizenship at the Margins: Status, Ambiguity, and the Mandingo of Liberia
Author:Konneh, Augustine
Periodical:African Studies Review
Geographic term:Liberia
Subjects:ethnic relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/525439
Abstract:Throughout the history of Liberia, the Mandingo have stood at the margins of citizenship - always taken to be 'something more' than the other indigenous groups of Liberia but 'something less' than the full citizens the settlers considered themselves to be. In the shifting definitions of Liberian citizenship, Mandingo marginality has always played an ambivalent role. Against this background, the present paper addresses the issue of citizenship which is currently being discussed as Liberia attempts to reestablish itself as a nation-State following its recent civil war. It first gives an overview of the history of the Mandingo in Liberia and discusses Mandingo relationships with other ethnic groups. Then it analyses a case study involving the relationship between the Mandingo and the Kpelle of Bong County. Tensions between the two groups erupted in the 1960s in Gamu, when Kpelle residents refused to give land to the Mandingo for rice farming on the pretext that the Mandingo failed to honour traditional Kpelle land customs. The Central Province chief granted the farmland to the Mandingo, but also ruled that they would have to accept the authority of the Kpelle chief. Finally, the author discusses presidential favouritism toward the Mandingo and its consequences, the revenge killings of the civil war. Bibliogr.