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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Living in space: A Day With Fulani Mbororo Nomads

I spent a day with Fulani Mbororo nomads in Poli, an enclave in the North Province. I traveled 36kms from the highway in 2hours to get to the Poli. 36 kms in 2 hours!

This post has a thrilling video of a report I did for tv. Watch it, if you can.

The Mbororo Fulani represents a unique race of about 2.5 million nomadic herdsmen scattered across Cameroon. The Mbororo follow the traditions of their ancestors (the poulakou cult), and are considered the purist of all Fulani groups.
However the culture of these nomadic herdsmen is little known in Cameroon because they are always migrating from one place to another in search of pasture. They hardly own identification papers, birth certificates, marriage certificates or any other official documents. They move across state borders to rear their cattle, with little or no consideration for national frontiers.
The youngest males start grazing their herd of cattle and sheep at a very early age and hardly attend any formal school. While the women and girls prepare their food, mainly, milk cheese and butter. The women also build their huts and weave mats and blankets. They continue to scar their faces and tattoo themselves, as they believe beauty and wealth determine a person’s worth.
They still believe in consider the long-horned cattle to be a prized possession and have dedicated their lives to caring for their herds. Owning cattle is a symbol of health and well-being among all Fulani. This attachment to herding has however seriously undermined the literacy level of the community. Integrating this almost untenable tribe of herdsmen into mainstream life is a major challenge for the government of Cameroon.

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