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Le fils et le neveu

Suzanne Bernus
Pierre Bonte
Lina Brock
et al.

5. Women and the allocation of herding labour in a pastoral society: Southern Kәl Fәwan Twareg, Niger1

Clare Oxby

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Slavery was officially abolished by the colonial authorities of the territory which is now the Republic of Niger in 1905; but it was not until several years later that the unofficial trading of people gradually ceased. The failure of the 1917 revolt against the French, which culminated in the siege of Agadez and in which the Twareg played an important role, was a landmark: one way in which the colonial authorities subsequently tried to undermine the support of the Twareg leaders was by systematically “liberating” their slaves – often only to recruit them for a period of forced labour when they had to build roads and administrative buildings (E. and S. Bernus, 1975: 40-1). For a pastoral society which had relied on slaves for much of its herding labour, the liberation of slaves had profound consequences.

Nevertheless to this day Twareg society has remained highly stratified, and the herding labour of the wealthiest and most influential Twareg is still provided largely by the descendan...

© Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 1986

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