Nilo-Ethiopian Studies No.7 (2001)
- Socio-Political Characteristics of Pastoral Nomadism: Flexibility among the Bodi (Mela-Me’en) in Southwest Ethiopia
This paper intends to examine the characteristics of pastoral nomadism among the Bodi (Mela-Me’en) in southwest Ethiopia. Special attention will be paid into the interrelationship between their nomadic movement and socio-political factors. Their daily migrations, which are repeated very frequently, are closely related to the flexibility of their social networks while their yearly ones are related to inter-ethnic conflict.
Key words: Bodi, nomadism, herding camp, swidden, warfare.
- Coastal Resource Use by Camel Pastoralists: A Case Study of Gathering and Fishing Activities among the Beja in Eastern Sudan
This paper attempts to reconstruct subsistence activities among the Beja, camel pastoralists living along the Sudanese coast of the Red Sea, focusing on their coastal resource use.
I reveal, as a result of participant observation, that they target driftwood,
mangroves, gastropods, and fish in gathering and fishing activities. The principal types and purposes of resource use are as a resource for food; a resource as a means of subsistence; and a resource for daily life materials.
I also show how the one-humped camel plays an invaluable role in the process of appropriating and carrying these resources, because it has an outstanding ability to walk on both soft substrates (mud and sand) and coral-rich hard substrates in littoral and sublittoral zones.
Key words: Beja, camel pastoralism, subsistence, coastal ecosystems, resource use.
- Motivations, Negotiations, and Animal Individuality: Livestock Exchange of the Turkana in Northwestern Kenya
As East African pastoral societies are incorporated into a global order of markets and money, they attract considerable attention as to how their systems of livestock exchange articulate with the new system of commodity exchange. This study describes and analyzes livestock exchanges of the Turkana of northwestern Kenya, and differentiates their exchanges from monetary exchanges. The points discussed are: (1) in most livestock exchanges among the Turkana, an individual asks only in need and takes an animal from the partner with whom he is on good terms, and his “debt” is cleared much later; (2) although a kind of livestock exchange rate is recognized, heated and delicate negotiations finally determine “debt” payment, and each agreement is local, transitory, and non-universal; (3) epistemological examination of Turkana verbs for livestock exchanges reveals specific and definite motivations behind the exchanges; ( 4) each animal is individually identified, and its singularity supports the uniqueness of each social transaction in which the animal is transferred.
This paper examines the activities of the Samburu livestock trader who mediates between the market economy and the subsistence economy of this area. The trading activity of a Samburu livestock trader for two years was analyzed. The result indicates that the livestock trader ordinarily repeats a purchase and a sale at quite short intervals. Rich local knowledge on the climate, prices, and ethnic cultures is indispensable to his trades. The livestock trader integrates the activities as a trader with activities as a herder. For example, he purchases livestock at a drier period when the price falls. After fattening the livestock for some period at his homestead, he sells the livestock at a wetter period when the price rises. He makes his fortune by “livestock-rolling speculation”.
The livestock trader makes a profit on the mutual conversion of livestock and cash, as an investor. With the profit, he aims to reproduce the herd, the ultimate core of his social ambition. Therefore, activities of the Samburu livestock traders should not be regarded as an immature commerce, but rather as a unique combination of commerce and subsistence pastoralism.
Key words: Samburu, market economy, livestock trader, local network, laissez-faire
- Reorganization of the Ethnic Framework: The Impact of the 1997 Election on the Gabra Pastoralists in Northern Kenya
This study concerns social change in the Gabra, a peripheral pastoralist group in Kenya, brought about by the 1 99 7 general election. Supporters of an unsuccessful candidate in the nomination process tried to unite the Algana, one of the phratries of the Gabra, against the elected person, who belonged to another phratry, in the election. This paper analyzes the supporters’ attempts to mobilize people and unite the phratry, paying attention to their discourse and behavior. By participating in the election, Gabra society greatly changed. This paper also examines social change from two different points: in methods of manipulating others and the nature of the boundary of the phratry, which suggested the transition of Gabra society from ethnie to modern political-ethnic unit.
Key words: Gabra, ethnie, nation, election, social change.