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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Transforming cattle into blessings: the moral economy of Mbororo pilgrimage
Author:Virtanen, Tea
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa (ISSN 0022-4200)
Geographic term:Cameroon
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/15700666-12341277
Abstract:In this article the author explores the meaning of cattle for the Mbororo pastoralists of the Adamaoua Region, Cameroon, in realizing and conceptualizing the pilgrimage to Mecca. For the Mbororo, cattle form the material base for the pilgrimage, as it is only through cattle sales that they are able to carry out the journey. Furthermore, the possibility of going on a public pilgrimage through selling cattle has significance for local inter-ethnic relations because it has blurred the traditional power hierarchy by providing the relatively marginalized Mbororo a more visible Muslim status in the region. The cattle also shape the way in which the Mbororo conceptualize the pilgrimage experience by forming an elemental part of a set of symbolic transformations through which the blessing ('barka') of Mecca reaches the Mbororo camps of Adamaoua, and the pilgrimage is absorbed into the socio-cosmic order of the pastoral community. Finally, in the Mbororo moral discourse these 'pastoral' transformations, guided by socio-spiritual reasons, are contrasted with other Adamaouan pilgrims' purely economically motivated transactions during the journey. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]