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Les intraduisibles du patrimoine en Afrique subsaharienne

Danièle Wozny
Barbara Cassin

In English. Heritage Untranslatables in Sub-Saharan Africa

3. Heritage, Patrimony

Texte intégral

Bamanakan: forobaciyen
French: patrimoine
Fulfulde: ndonaandi
Sukuma: bulisi
Swahili: urithi
Tsonga: ndhazaka, pfindla

1The challenges encountered in French and English find an echo in African languages, which find it difficult to find the right word to translate “patrimony/heritage” or “patrimoine”, the generic terms used in the UNESCO definition. There is no single heritage, only a multiplicity of patrimonies which can be natural, cultural, intangible, tangible, secret or shared, ethnic, regional, national, or global, etc.

2The challenges posed by such definitions emphasize the significance of the notion of “heritage” for understanding, evaluating, assisting, and anticipating the ongoing changes in a given geographic area.

3Although the words “heritage” and “patrimony” do not explicitly exist as such in every society, the last few decades have seen the emergence of new notions of heritage, which are sometimes laden with fervently incantatory overtones because they seem to promise new sources of income and/or lead to an assertion – or even recovery – of national identity.

4This phenomenon can be observed with regards to the natural heritage, because of the growing number of valued and protected species, and of the newly-acquired market value of land, fisheries, and biological and water resources. This is creating new challenges. The same is also true of the cultural heritage: Zulu sites have given rise to new forms of tourism in South Africa, for example, while the sites and symbols of slavery are not only used to foster identity recovery, but also to question Africa’s history and its relationship with the West.

In English and French


5The Larousse dictionary defines “patrimoine” as:

6An estate inherited from one’s ascendants.

7Anything that a person possesses and considers of value: a person’s intelligence, for example.

8Anything that is considered to constitute a group’s shared inheritance: a country’s cultural heritage, for instance.

9The set of properties, rights and obligations which have an economic value and which a person owns and is liable for.

10The set of alienable and transmissible elements which are the property, at a given moment, of a person, family, company or public body.

The legal concept of “patrimony” in French and European law

11In France, the legal concept of “patrimony” (“patrimoine”) was first defined in private law, where it describes “the set of properties and obligations of a single individual (...), his or her assets and liabilities, understood as a legal universal, a whole which includes not only his or her properties at the present moment, but also his or her properties in the future” (Gérard Cornu, Vocabulaire juridique, PUF, 2011, p. 738). This legal concept – which is a purely doctrinal construct – has a utilitarian impact; the adjective “patrimonial” refers to the economic rights and responsibilities of individuals. Dating from the second half of the twentieth century, the legal concept of cultural patrimony describes a different paradigm. It links an owner’s or proprietor’s interest to the interest a community has in its own culture. The phrase “cultural patrimony” refers to properties which are representative of the culture of a nation or people beyond their direct or indirect usefulness – those properties which are most important to a nation or people and the absence of which is or would be intolerable to them.

12Ratified on 27 October 2005, the Council of Europe Framework Convention on Cultural Heritage for Society, states that “cultural heritage is a group of resources inherited from the past which people identify, independently of ownership, as a reflection and expression of their constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions. It includes all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time”.


13Tangible/Intangible heritage

14Adopted by UNESCO in 1972, the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage – the so-called “World Heritage Convention” – restricts heritage to immovable cultural and/or natural properties.

15The definitions it gives for the cultural heritage (art. 1) and the natural heritage (art. 2) are not mutually exclusive. Properties with both cultural and natural characteristics are said to belong to the “mixed natural and cultural heritage.”

16Although it is not explicitly mentioned in article 1, the notion of “cultural landscape”, which was developed on the basis of an extensive interpretation of “the combined works of nature and man” fits a growing number of the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List. Here is the definition of cultural landscapes – cultural properties – in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention: “They are illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time, under the influence of the physical constraints and/or opportunities presented by their natural environment and of successive social, economic and cultural forces, both external and internal”.

17These definitions do not of course put an end to debates on the supposedly universal antinomy between “nature” and “culture” and on what is meant by categories such as “historical”, “aesthetic”, “ethnological”, or “anthropological”.

The basic terminology used for the nomination of sites

A history of the 1972 Convention

18The site protection initiative began in the aftermath of the destructions/reconstructions of World War One. The building of the Aswan Dam, which flooded the Nile valley where the Abu Simbel temples were located, was a triggering event. UNESCO launched a campaign in 1959 to save the valley’s treasures, and the temples were taken apart, moved, and re-built. This unprecedented initiative was repeated in other sites and the notion of an international normative instrument started to develop. Under the aegis of UNESCO, several state and NGO initiatives led to the composition of a document which was adopted during UNESCO’s General Convention on 16 November 1972. It was called the “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage”.

The definitions

19Article 1 of the Convention considers that the “cultural heritage” is constituted of:

  • monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;

  • groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;

  • sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.

20Article 2 considers that the “natural heritage” is constituted of:

  • natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view;

  • geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation;

  • natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.

The Convention’s ten criteria for selection: six cultural and four natural

21The cultural selection criteria are the following:

  • to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

  • to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;

  • to bear a unique or at least outstanding testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

  • to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage (s) in human history;

  • to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

  • to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria).

22The natural selection criteria are the following:

  • to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of outstanding natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

  • to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;

  • to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;

  • to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Cultural landscapes

23The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as “cultural landscapes”.

24“Cultural landscapes are cultural properties and represent the combined works of nature and of man. They are illustrative of the evolution of human society and settlement over time, under the influence of the physical constraints and/or opportunities presented by their natural environment and of successive social, economic and cultural forces, both external and internal.”

a history of the concept of “cultural landscape”
Following on from the public policies for the protection of sites and monuments which were developed and reinforced in the early twentieth century, the preservation of landscapes is linked to the glorification of national identities and cultures. a landscape is the beloved face of the homeland, to paraphrase John ruskin. The notion of “cultural landscape” was born of this association and of the work of geographers, in particular Carl o. Sauer, who proposed the following theory in 1925: “The cultural landscape is fashioned out of a natural landscape by a cultural group. Culture is the agent, the natural area is the medium, the cultural landscape is the result.” (Carl o. Sauer, “The Morphology of Landscape”, Geography, vol. 2, No 2, university of California Publications, 1925, p. 46).
The international standards that were adopted over the course of the twentieth century overlooked the notion of “cultural landscape”, preferring to speak of “panoramic beauty” (1940 OAS Convention on Nature Protection), of “the beauty and character of landscapes and sites” (1962 UNESCO recommendation), and of “the combined works of man and nature” (UNESCO 1972 World Heritage Convention).
There is no mention of “cultural landscape” in the body of the 1972 Convention. This phrase makes its first appearance in the 1992 operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, within the context of the definition of “sites” – i. e “works of man or the combined works of nature and man (...) which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view”. ever since the first operational Guidelines were published in 1977, they have been periodically revised and reformulated. Composed of 27 paragraphs in 1977, they included as many as 290 in the 2013 version of the document. The hypertrophic expansion of instructions which are simultaneously addressed to the World heritage Committee, evaluating bodies, experts and state parties is due, among other things, to the expansion of the concept of world heritage. The notion of “cultural landscape” is symptomatic of this expansion.
There are three main categories of cultural landscapes in the (2013) operational Guidelines: “the clearly defined landscape designed and created intentionally by man”, “the organically evolved landscape” and “the associative cultural landscape”. each one of these categories is carefully defined, in order to allow experts to identify the relevant category for specific types of cultural landscapes.
However, beyond these categories, people have a relationship with the landscapes they are connected to. The first thing that defines a landscape is the way a society perceives it and the extent to which it is able to name what it perceives – i.e. to develop linguistic representations on the fiction of a cultural landscape, while perhaps also giving it norms.

25This laudable attempt not to dissociate nature from culture and to take into account the interactions between human beings and their environment is obviously inherently fraught with difficulties. The phrase “cultural landscape” enriches UNESCO’s common vocabulary, but does it account for the many ways there are to perceive nature and culture, and to conceive of a natural area as a “landscape”?

26All the many attempts made to translate “cultural landscape” into the languages of Africa have come up against the different approaches African cultures have to the relationship between nature and culture – not only do they perceive their interaction differently, but they sometimes even see them as one.

27The phrase “cultural landscape” covers a great variety of forms of interaction between human beings and their natural environment. Cultural landscapes often reflect specific techniques of sustainable land-use, which both take into account the characteristics and limits of their natural environment, and establish a specific spiritual relationship with nature. The protection of cultural landscapes can contribute to modern techniques of sustainable land-use and to land development, while also conserving or improving the natural value of the landscape. The continued existence of traditional forms of land-use supports biological diversity in many regions of the world. The protection of traditional cultural landscapes is therefore helpful in maintaining biological diversity.

28The first inscriptions on the World Heritage List were proclaimed in Washington in 1978. To this day, the 1972 UNESCO Convention “on World Heritage Sites” remains the United Nations’ most universal: it was ratified by 190 states (ratification status as of 19 September 2012).

29Today, in September 2014, the World heritage List includes 1007 properties, which are located in 161 countries and are comprised of 779 cultural, 197 natural and 31 mixed properties.

Artificial legal definitions of “heritage”

30There is no single legal definition of the notion of “heritage” in African legislations. African laws provide general definitions which are either based on criteria for identifying property types which pertain to “heritage”, or on definitions which resort to enumerative techniques (Malawi).

31The criteria used for identifying property types are based on systems of cultural values where the historical, scientific, or artistic interests of properties are in some cases restricted to particular dates or periods. These definitions are technical and/or essentially political. On the political front, they exhibit a strategy of national identification to shared values, which can discriminate against the colonial period. The legal system is used to create a definition of “heritage” based on elements which validate the narrative constructed by the nation-state.

32In Kenya, for instance, cultural properties must predate 1895 – which is when it was established as a British Protectorate – in order to qualify and be eligible for legal measures of protection. However, the Minister in charge of Culture may decide, on the basis of a case by case review, whether to include patrimonial elements post-dating 1895 within the remit of this law. In Zambia, the notion of “relics” (the term used for cultural heritage) only applies to a certain number of properties made before 1924, when the British took over its administration from the British South Africa Company, which had administered this territory since the 1885 Berlin Conference. Similarly, the deadline in the Ghanaian legal system is the year 1900, four years after the British protectorate was established. More importantly, however, 1900 was the date of the uprising which took place after the British announced their discovery of the Golden stool, a symbol of Asantehene power which had been hidden away by those loyal to the King since 1846. In some cases, colonial history seems to be a key factor in the criteria used for the institutional identification and recognition of a country’s cultural heritage.

33Other more neutral or technical normative approaches identify a country’s cultural heritage on the basis of its cultural interest, understood in the broad sense of the term (historical, artistic, archaeological, spiritual, etc.) or of a combination of criteria. The legislations of Lesotho, Malawi and Uganda have taken this path. In Uganda, “‘ historical monument’ means any object, site, place, building or edifice having connections with historical events”. This definition echoes the 25th objective of the Ugandan Constitution: “The State and citizens shall endeavour to preserve and protect, and generally promote, the culture of preservation of public property and Uganda’s heritage”.

34The majority of the legislations of francophone African countries take a similar view of heritage, offering legal protection to sites exhibiting a range of cultural interests. For example, article 1 of the 1971 Senegalese heritage law states that “are classed as historic monuments the movable or immovable, private or public, properties, including natural monuments and sites, as well as ancient sites or fields, the preservation or conservation of which are of historical, artistic, scientific, legendary, or picturesque interest”.

35With this type of criteria, the degree of antiquity required of properties can be minimal, as in the South African legislation, where qualifying sites and archaeological remains only need to be at least 100 years old – down to 75 in the case of sites associated with military history. Such a chronological approach can seem to make more sense than setting a fixed date. Setting a minimal requirement for antiquity creates a probationary period for the cultural qualification of a property and a timeframe for the heritage process.

36The Malawian legislation resorts to the enumerative technique. It states that

“Monument” means any area of land which has distinctive or beautiful scenery or which contains rare or distinctive or beautiful vegetation or any area of land, structure, building, erection, ruin, stone circle, monolith, altar, pillar, statue, memorial, grave, tumulus, cairn, place of interment, pit dwelling, trench, fortification, excavation, working, kiln, rock, rock shelter, midden, mound, cave, grotto, rock sculpture, rock painting, wall painting or inscription or any other site or article of a similar kind or associated therewith which is of archaeological, geological, anthropological, ethnological, prehistorical, historical, artistic or scientific value or interest or any remains thereof and includes the site on which any monument or group of monuments was discovered or exists; and such portion of land adjoining such site as may be required for the maintenance of or otherwise for the preservation of such monument or group of monuments.

37This type of definition can cause confusion and, more importantly, mean that some types of properties can be left out.

38In sum, none of these cultural heritage laws take into account the local realities or the character of the objects that communities name and recognize as their “heritage”, because they are the fruit of a mimetic legislative process which has its roots in the laws of the former colonial powers. In other words, contemporary African legislations are continuing the process of acculturation which started during the colonial era, but in a different form: the vertical construction of the identity of their national heritage.

Equivalences and expressions of the “heritage” nexus in the languages of Sub-saharan Africa

In Swahili: urithi, and in Sukuma: bulisi

Natural and cultural heritage

39Generally, speakers located in the Swahili and Sukuma areas define the natural heritage as divinely created and the cultural heritage as man-made.

40The word urithi refers to familial inheritance and to properties inherited from the family, and, by extension, to patrimony. This word was borrowed from Arabic, which has been spoken in Tanzania since the ninth century and has exerted a strong influence on Tanzanian languages, especially Swahili.

41Speakers of Sukuma use a phonetic variant of the same word: bulisi.

42Recently, this word has begun to be used in a broader sense, to refer to the common and shared heritage: urithi wa Tanzania (Tanzania’s heritage) and urithi wetu (our national heritage).

43Urithi refers to both cultural and natural heritages, as Swahili does not usually distinguish between them.

44The following expressions are used when it is necessary to establish a distinction between them:

  • Urithi wa kimaumbile refers to the natural heritage. The phrase comes from: ki-: “way of” and maumbile: “creation”. The notion of natural heritage thus evokes the state of creation before human intervention. In other words, this phrase is far from the concept of “cultural landscape”.

  • Urithi wa kiutamaduni refers specifically to the cultural heritage. Utamaduni is a borrowing from Arabic which describes lifestyles and other social and cultural practices. It encompasses all human creations.

45In Sukuma, the phrase bulisi wa kasumbile is used to speak of the natural heritage. It comes from: ka: “way of” and sumba: “to create”. In Sukuma as in Swahili, then, the natural heritage implies the notion of divine creation.

46The phrase bulisi wa kiikalile is used to speak of the cultural heritage. It comes from ki: “way of” and ikalile, from the verb ikala: “to set oneself up”.

47In Shisukuma, the notion of “cultural heritage” encompasses all the practies of daily and social life.

The intangible heritage

48In Swahili, the distinction between tangible and intangible heritages does not have a basis in lived experience. The following set phrases have been coined: urithi usioonekana/unaoonekana (visible/invisible).

49Coined to meet the requirements of UNESCO, these words are statutorily very general and unclearly defined. They are not widely used by the general public, who for now prefer to speak of sanaa, a generic term for past and present arts, or za jadi, which refers to the traditional arts (as opposed to za kisasa, the contemporary arts).

50Sukuma also distinguishes between what can and cannot be seen with shibonwa and ishitabonwa. The issues raised are the same as in Swahili.

51In fact, the distinction between tangible and intangible heritages was established for the requirements of UNESCO’s inventories and contacts with the international community.

The cultural landscape

52In Swahili, the phrase upeo wa kiutamaduni was coined recently from upeo: “view”, ki: “in the manner of” and utamaduni: “culture”.

53In other words, the cultural landscape is literally “what we view in a cultural manner”, with culture including man-made (architectural) creations located in the natural, divinely-created, landscape.

54In other words, this definition of “cultural landscape” is not quite UNESCO’s, which describes it as a landscape shaped by human beings.

55In Sukuma, a phrase was coined using the same process: kabonele ka wikalile means “to see in a cultural way”, which is very vague and does not quite translate the basic tenets of the notion of “cultural landscape”.

In Tsonga (Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland): ndhzaka or pfindla

56Ndhzaka and pfindla are the terms used to refer to heritage, understood in a very general sense, without any distinctions between different forms of heritage. There is a running joke that an heir is someone who does not work and is content merely to inherit the property and even sometimes the wife of his deceased relative.

57Rifuwo refers to material properties and patrimonial goods that can be converted into wealth, or money. The word afuwile describes a person in receipt of a wealthy patrimony.

58The man-made and domesticated natural heritages are called rifuwo

59Tumbunuko refers to the natural heritage, or more precisely to nature as God created it, beyond the scope of human interference: rivers, mountains, oceans, wild animals, etc.

The intangible heritage

60The intangible heritage is described as Ndzhaka leyi nga vonakiki, a phrase which literally means “properties which cannot be seen”, “invisible properties”.

61Theatre, dance, and film are said to pertain to Ndzhaka levi vonakaka (“visible properties”, which is the phrase used to describe the tangible heritage). In other words, there is an obviously problematic discrepancy between these definitions and UNESCO’s normative definition of the intangible heritage.

The cultural landscape

62There is no translation for the phrase “cultural landscape”. It is explained by saying Vukhavisi bya ndhawu kuya hi Mfuwo miyako, mimfungho, na swin’wana – that is, literally, “Designation for historically significant sites, buildings, sites of national memory, etc.”

63This designation operates as a label the government gives to the sites of national historical value it wishes to present for inscription on UNESCO’s World heritage List.

64The ambiguity of this phrase is enough to give an idea of how difficult it is for this process to be appropriated by the local populations.

In Fulfulde: ndonaandi

65The notion of patrimony exists and is well-understood in the Fula language and culture. The Fula concept of patrimony does not have exactly the same definition as the French word “patrimoine”, but it comes very close to it. It is expressed through the couplet ndonaandi /ron – aa-ndi/“tangible, concrete heritage”, inherited from one’s ascendants, particularly ancestors and ndonaagu/ron – aa – gu/“intangible heritage”.

66This widely used term is formed from the verbal root RoN- (infinitive RONde) which means “to inherit” in the wide sense of the term. It is distinct from ndonu “material properties inherited (in customary rights and religious law) after the death of their owner, whether this person was a relation or not.

67Ndonaandi is formed from: ron – “heir”-aa - [PASSIVE] – ndi [the NDI class for masses, a generic total, and connotes a whole, a weight, etc.), and means “the whole of the visible, concrete, material ancestral heritage”. Everything pertaining to sites, buildings, symbols, objects, etc. belongs to this category.

68Ndonaagu is formed from: ron – “to inherit”-aa - [PASSIVE] – gu [the NGU class for abstractions, qualities and characteristics, relationships, etc.), and means “the whole of the ancestral heritage which is transmitted in the form of ideas, characteristics, or qualities”. Everything pertaining to ways of thinking, rites, traditional ceremonies, socio-cultural practices, individual or collective character, etc. belongs to this category.

In Bamanakan: forobaciyεn

69In Bamanakan, “patrimony” is translated as forobaciyεn, which means the common heritage. This heritage can pertain to several categories. The movable heritage is translated as “movable valuable object” (Forobadɔnnikofεn tataw). The immovable heritage chiefly refers to a place or locale, and is translated as “place or site of community knowledge” (forobadɔnni yɔrɔ).

70This translation shows that the Bamanakan understanding of the immovable cultural heritage is problematic, since “immovable” refers to the place or locale where a property is situated, rather than to the notion of immovability. In contrast, the concept of “immovable” in both English and French refers not just to a location, but also to properties which, whether by nature or designation, cannot be moved without damage to themselves or the environment. The Bamanakan translation does not suggest this.

71In Bamanakan, the word for “intangible” is farintan, which means “disembodied”, in the sense of something that is not a solid. This designation is very appropriate since what is intangible is immaterial and impalpable. The air, the wind and everything else that is invisible and impalpable, are often thought to be intangible: for example, the phrase “The Devil came out of the air” means that an invisible body has come in the midst of human beings. The phrase “intangible element” is translated as fεn farintan, which means a “disembodied thing” that is nevertheless considered to be visible.

72Moreover, on a social level, a heritage can belong to an individual, a family, or a community. For example, depending on whether a deceased person was a family member, the head of a family, or a traditional chief, this person’s property will be inherited by the children, the family members, or the community. The Bambara people generally do not lend much value to such inheritances because they are acquired “without suffering” and as such will not endure: when something is acquired easily, it is not carefully managed. In contrast, the tangible and intangible heritages of a group of individuals or community constitute their patrimonial identity, and allow them to recognise and express themselves, remember the past, live their everyday lives and get ready for the future.

73It is rather difficult to translate the word “natural” in Bamanakan without a specific context. “Natural” can be translated as anything related to the forest – kungo – or at least anything that is not in an inhabited zone. However, the natural heritage has another connotation. It can also be translated as “environmental community heritage” (sigida forobaciyεn). In this case also, the meaning of the word “environment” is not limited to the forest, and to its flora and fauna.

74In Bamanakan, the word “cultural” means “what is known or knowable” (dɔnko). In this translation, “cultural” refers to knowledge, experience, know-how, and learning and the search for knowledge, as well as anything that is integral to culture and humanism – in the Bambara social conscience, the latter refers to both the process and the state of realisation of a social being.

Cultural landscape

75In Bamanakan, the word for “landscape” literally means “arm of the forest” (kungobolo) or a forested area (kungokεnε). These translations understand the landscape in a broad sense without describing its contents. However, the same language gives the concept of cultural landscape a relatively narrow definition, describing it as “a protected particular place or wood” (Yɔrɔ kεrεnkεrεnen, Tu kεrεnkεrεnen), that is to say a place or shrub associated with specific beliefs and practices.

76This last translation implies that a cultural landscape is generally understood as a sacred wood. Hence, Kɔmɔ T, Sacred Wood of the Secret Society «Kɔmɔ», Nia Tu, Sacred Wood of the Secret “Nia” Society, etc. Good and evil spirits dwell in these votive woods, where officiating priests, guides, and initiators acquainted with the social status and morality of their young charges, perform initiation rites in order to socialise the younger generations, regulate their passage, and pay homage to the powers that preside over them. Libations and offerings are made to the protective spirits and occult powers involved in initiating these youths, so that they might consent to the safe passage of neophytes as they become initiated – i.e. fully-fledged men ready to take part in the life of their community.

77The role of these secret societies is to police their communities, watch over their ethics, protect people and property, and act as social mediators.

© Demopolis, 2014

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