Nilo-Ethiopian Studies No.5&6 (2000)
Tradition holds that the craftsmen’s giidam, or monastery, at Mantek, near Ankobiir, in Shiiwa, like others in the region, was established by craft workers. Like the Falasha, to whom they were probably once affiliated, they consisted of blacksmiths, weavers and potters, and formerly inhabited the Gondar region of north-west Ethiopia, but settled in Shiiwa after Abeto Nagassi (1607-1703) founded a dynasty, and needed tools to clear the land for agriculture.
Little of the monastery’s history is known until the early 19th century, when the establishment was visited by European travellers. They indicate that the craftsmen were deeply religious, and apparently much influenced by theJudaic Old Testament. They kept the Sabbath on Saturday, as well as on Sunday. The travellers concluded that the community, though outwardly Chritian, belonged to a heretical, possibly Judaic, sect.
Present investigation shows that the inhabitants today practice the same crafts as formerly. Their establishment consists of (l) a place of worship, with a central mekrab, i.e. pillar, or sanctuary; (2) huts, and caves, in which the monks and nuns live rigidly apart; (3) shacks for bread-baking and beer-brewing; (4) craftsmen’s workshops; (5) a guest-room; and (6) two isolated teketo, i.e. menstruation houses, reminiscent of the Falasha.
Key words: handicrafts, craftsmen, blacksmiths, monasteries, Christianity, J udaism.
- The Development Process of Dance Bands in Urban Tanzania -In Connection with Changes in Socioeconomic and Political Circumstances from the Colonial Period to the 1980s-
Performances by dance bands (jazz bands as they are known in East Africa) have been an integral part of urban popular culture in Tanzania over the past five decades, though in an ever-changing socioeconomic environment. Amateur jazz clubs, which emerged in various urban centers from the 1940s under British colonial rule, developed in close-knit urban communities in the context of pre-existent traditions of competitive dance societies. This jazz-club movement culminated in the 1960s when Dar es Salaam, the capital, and some provincial towns produced a number of famous jazz bands which became popular throughout East Africa.
Post-independence changes in the economic and political system had a considerable impact upon the social character of urban musical activities. From the mid-1960s, chiefly in Dar es Salaam, a number of jazz bands were launched by various governmental organizations and public corporations, employing an increasing number of musicians on a regular salaried basis. Meanwhile, through the 1970s and 1980s, the commercialization of musical activities advanced in both the public and private sectors, undermining the existing jazz clubs. Along the way, jazz bands lost their communal character and were transformed into commercial enterprises, divorced from the urban communities from which they first emerged.
Key words: Tanzania, popular music, dance band, urban culture, socioeconomic change.
- On the Paternity and Legitimacy of Children in an Agnatic Society: A Case from the Banna of Southern Ethiopia
This paper sets out to examine the paradox of matrilineal aspects among patrilineal societies in Africa, which was famously pointed out in the Nuer ethnography by E. E. Evans-Pritchard, and focuses on gender and sexual aspects of the indigenous theory of kinship among the Banna of southern Ethiopia. For this purpose, I describe some local strategies for securing descendants and children’s legitimacy. It follows that the concept of paternity must be analyzed by investigating the rules of marriage, sexuality, and the role of the baski, a term which could be translated ‘lover’ or ‘levir’ and denotes a man who lives with a widow in a relationship similar to marriage but not recognized as such. Paternity has ideological aspects which prescribe the legitimacy of children: in the case of the baski, he cannot give legitimacy to his lover’s children even though he is their biological father. Therefore we must distinguish paternity from two perspectives: (1) whether the father is a pater or genitor for the children, and (2) whether he is a legal or illegal marital partner for the children’s mother. This is a sort of local knowledge of reproduction technology: the Banna vary their interpretation of sperm and ovum, acquiring their descendants through a process of social manipulation.
Key words: Banna, Omotic, gender, sexuality, kinship study.