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INTRODUCTION: IDEOLOGY AND AGRARIAN CHANGE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2009

Olga F. Linares
Affiliation:
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
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Summary

The problem

Let us assume for the moment that a visitor to Senegal is driving at the height of the rainy season (July–August) to Lower Casamance (Basse Casamance) in the southwestern corner of the country. Having crossed the Gambian frontier and proceeded along the lower reaches of the Soungrougrou river dividing Lower from Middle Casamance, our visitor will observe Jola (Diola, Jóola) women, singly or in groups, doing all the agricultural work in flooded paddies with the aid of a long-handled, V-shaped hoe. Not a man is to be seen in the alluvial depressions covered with rice fields that separate the villages of the Kalunay (Kalounaye). But, elsewhere, young and mature men can occasionally be seen working alone on the slightly raised ground of the plateaus, where they prepare the sandier soils to receive the millet/sorghum and groundnut crop that only men grow. They use a short-handled hoe or, more often nowadays, an oxen and a plough. Under the shade of grand silk cotton trees, next to the village houses and the highway, old and middle-aged men dressed in white Muslim robes relax on platforms, conversing with each other and greeting passers by.

Once our visitor reaches Bignona, however, and either travels north-west in the direction of the southern Kajamutay (Kadiamoutaye), or crosses the bridge to reach Ziguinchor and continue on to Oussouye and the Pointe St. Georges regions, he or she would notice that in one community after another it is the Jola men of all ages – not the women – who are knee-deep in mud, ridging the rice fields with the aid of a long, straight-handled shovel capped by a metal blade.

Type
Chapter
Information
Power, Prayer and Production
The Jola of Casamance, Senegal
, pp. 1 - 12
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1991

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