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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Islam, Gender and Urbanisation among the Mafa of North Cameroon: The Differing Commitment to 'Home' among Muslims and Non-Muslims
Author:Santen, J.C.M. vanISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Cameroon
gender relations
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Urbanization and Migration
Religion and Witchcraft
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Abstract:This article discusses the changing patterns of urbanization among Islamized and non-Islamized Mafa in the extreme north of Cameroon in the course of the 20th century. The author suggests that the reasons for urbanizing and the links which urban migrants maintain with their relatives in the rural areas differ along religious lines. The town of Mokolo, in the heart of Mafaland, was founded as a settlement for converted slaves towards the end of the 19th century. Since that time, urbanization has largely gone hand in hand with Islamization. Migration has involved a marked change of identity for the Mafa in town and relations with their rural relatives have tended to be hierarchical in nature. The article emphasizes that the implications of urbanization and Islamization also differed along gender lines. Although for both men and women the Muslim community in town provided specific forms of social security, the motives for migration and the ways men and women were included in the urban community differed sharply. In the 1980s, owing to political changes at the national level, the pressure to convert to Islam decreased. The number of non-Muslim Mafa migrants increased rapidly and as a result of their attachment to their home area, Mokolo now has come to symbolize the revival of Mafa ethnicity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.