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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Men and women of the water: the Lokele of Stanleyville and Yakusu under Belgian rule, 1895-1960
Author:Loffman, ReubenISNI
Periodical:African Studies (ISSN 1469-2872)
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
gender division of labour
colonial period
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020184.2012.668293
Abstract:This article explores the sexual division of labour among the Lokele under Belgian rule in Stanleyville (Kisangani) and its hinterland (present-day Democratic Republic of Congo). It asks why the Lokele were able to encounter the colonial State so successfully. Much of the answer lies in their womenfolk's fusion of commerce and Christianity. Lokele women maintained a lucrative trade in fisheries, which continued throughout the colonial period and which they used to support their male kinfolk's careers. Female commerce also gave Lokele families greater capital with which to move from their main rural enclave in Yakusu and settle in Stanleyville. Their commercial success also meant that Lokele women could secure high dowry prices in the event of their marriage. Because it was expensive for Lokele men to compensate the families of Lokele women when marrying them, monogamy became increasingly prevalent among the group. In the context of a colonial State that was hostile to the idea of polygamy, the monogamous Lokele family soon found favour in the eyes of the Belgian administration. Additionally, the group's exposure to Baptist missions in Yakusu helped them gain the respectability and skills they needed to become a burgeoning middle class within Stanleyville during the late 1950s. Thereafter, the Lokele family's cohesion, combined with their constructive encounter with the colonial State, enabled successful political action as Congolese independence approached. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]