Discuss culture and traditions
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By the kid
#12998
Is this a social topic or a cultural one, you decide.. :lol:

When i was gambia i met a guy in the airport who spoke english with an english accent and looked very much like an Indian. (I lived in the uk and was mates with many Indians and know how they look, not that hard :). Anyways i ask the guy where he's from and what he's doin working in the airport in the Gambia. His friend started laughing and said everybody inquires is he an Indian.
Turns out he is a Fula, born and raised in the Gambia. Funnily he told me , the fulas are originally from India. I recall jamsa saying that the Fulas were traditionally arch enemies with the dogon who 'may' have migrated from Egypt(or beyond) years ago. Could it be that they were both traveling the same routes together and got pissed of with each other and so became enemies. Maybe there are specific reasons why this would be the case. Any one know or are we in total hypothetical land here... :mrgreen:

In my mind when i hear some music from malian fulas i'm reminded of Ragga singing from India. Check my man Molibaly Keita in this clip and tell me, is it a more African sounding voice or an Indian voice. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykq-GbHVnBQ&feature=related

On the utube I've found 'black' tribes, living in India who are originally from Africa. They migrated there years and years ago! So why not the other way around. If the Irish built the pyramids anythings possible.. :rofl:
By drdjembe
#21825
i've heard this theory that fulas are originally from north india, as nomad people they went west, some of them might have been slaves of pharaon and built some of the pyramides with the jews.
this theory makes sense, but is so old (about 4000 years ago) that it's quite impossible to check.
i'm still looking for information about it.
By bubudi
#21844
well one of the main theories is that they migrated from egypt, and their craniums are said to very closely resemble those of proto-egyptians. the rivalry between fula and dogon is because the fula were responsible for a lot of the spread of islam in west africa. in those days, bloody jihads were started against any group in the name of islam. the dogon were forced to hide in the cliffs of bandagiarra.

the other main theories are that they are the result of intermarriage between proto-berbers and bafra (another desert group), other asiatic invaders (probably meaning asia minor = middle east) who crossed the sahara, and lastly that they migrated from ethiopia.

more info at jamtan.com and webpulaaku.net.
User avatar
By e2c
#21860
...and their craniums are said to very closely resemble those of proto-egyptians.
Oh. Sounds like very bad "science" to me.

I remember when cranial measurements were still in encyclopedias, all to make the point that Europeans had larger brains than others... not j/k; this kind of belief underlies the Nazis' destruction of Jews and others, and has since been totally discredited, though it's still held onto by extremist groups of many persuasions.

I wish people would just forget that such "science" ever existed, but - like the proverbial bad penny - it keeps turning up.

*

Edited to add: this quote is a little better, but the thing that's overlooked by many is that ancient Egyptian art is not realistic. All men have the same color skin (reddish-brown), all women are a sort of cafe au lait shade; they all look pretty much the same, too - there is no "realism" as we know it now, but definitely a lot of stylization (some to put across the idea of royal power, while other kinds of stylization in their art - ??? We don't know the answers as to why, except that Egyptian society seems to have been fairly stratified...)

Anyway ...
In a book entitled The desert shore: literatures of the Sahel Volume 3, Dr. Charles Kingsley Meek is quoted as stating that "...The physical resemblance between the pure Fulani and representations of the Proto-Egyptians is remarkable ... The Fulani, according to tradition, are heirs of the Egyptian pharaohs, evident in their artistic way of braiding their hair as well as their traditional costume that distinguishes them ... Chartre and Broca, for physical reasons, connect the Fulani of the Fellah to the Nile Valley."
from http://books.google.com/books?id=8fls3x ... pt&f=false

I'd have to add that while the clothing is a clue, it's really no more than that, because it's... all the same. Men are dressed very much the same as each other in Egyptian art; so are women. I guess we could probably say that the Egyptian aristocracy dressed like that, but I wonder if they didn't have more variation to their clothing IRL... :)

And fellah isn't an ethnic group; it's an Arabic word that means "farmer"... see http://www.answers.com/topic/fellah I was surprised to see that this author thinks of them as some sort of tribe or ethnic group!
Last edited by e2c on Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By michi
#21865
e2c wrote:
...and their craniums are said to very closely resemble those of proto-egyptians.
Oh. Sounds like very bad "science" to me.
Not necessarily.
I remember when cranial measurements were still in encyclopedias, all to make the point that Europeans had larger brains than others... not j/k; this kind of belief underlies the Nazis' destruction of Jews and others, and has since been totally discredited, though it's still held onto by extremist groups of many persuasions.
Yes, that particular example is bad science indeed, as was the completely ridiculous idea of phrenology. However, craniometry and, in general, biometrics are legitimate sciences that are widely used by anthropologists and epidemiologists and can indeed help trace the origin of populations. (However, more modern methods, such as mitochondrial DNA tracing are used whenever possible because they provide direct evidence of a genetic relationship rather than the more circumstantial evidence from craniology.)
I wish people would just forget that such "science" ever existed, but - like the proverbial bad penny - it keeps turning up.
I don't know whether the evidence for the Fula having come from Egypt based on craniometry in particular is sound, but craniology as such is not entirely nonsense. (The uses it was put to during the Third Reich definitely were, though.)

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By e2c
#21867
The thing is, the US was very invested in eugenics programs of its own... Some of the most abhorrent books on that were written by Americans and enthusiastically embraced by many. (includes thousands and thousands of sterilizations enforced by some state governments and the like, along with justifications for Jim Crow laws and other egregious violations of human rights.) That's one of the reasons I have a hard time with "reports" like the supposed link between cranial measurements of skulls or mummies and a group of people - likely trying to prove superiority.

I have a 1950s encyclopedia here with a huge article on the supposed "science" of proving racial superiority/inferiority based not just on phrenology-type stuff, but on volume (of the brain), shape of facial features and more. The "science" behind "race" as understood at that time is just plain sick and phony.

No argument from me regarding *legitimate* uses of measurements of the human body (not just the cranium), but I think a clear line has to be drawn as to what that kind of data collection is about along with how it's being used.

I doubt anyone will ever prove who the Fula are or where their ancestors ultimately came from, unless there's all kinds of DNA testing done - and if that ever does happen, the answers could be surprising.

I will also say that I do not hold with any "racialist" theories, regardless of who is putting them on the table.

[/end of rant]

Back to the Fula now...
By bubudi
#21881
e2c, i understand the bad connotations that craniology can have, but this theory of the fulani origin has nothing at all to do with eugenics, elitism or nazism. for what it's worth, despite our nearly identical dna, there are definite typical cranial shapes to certain races. it's not a judgement, as there is no superior cranial shape. it's simply a fact. however, it's not enough to prove the theory of the fulbe origin. it's looking a bit more favourable than some of the other theories, though. also, going by their oral traditions, they did migrate westward, rather than the other way around (again not particularly strong evidence on its own).

btw, i took egyptian art as an elective subject for a semester and distinctly remember there were different colours shown when depicting certain people. in particular, i remember hieroglyphs from roughly 2000bc (also corroborated by some hittite glyphs) talking about a race of wanderers, raiders and slaves called khapiru, whom historians think could well have been the hebrews (israelites). they were depicted as being lighter skinned than the ancient egyptians.
User avatar
By e2c
#21892
b, I would rather there was another word in use besides "race" - the concept is outdated, and the idea(s) behind it have been thoroughly co-opted by various extremist groups that are still (unfortunately) alive and that have some political clout here in the US, to this day.

I avoided saying certain things above, as I don't want names (etc.) to show up on Google searches and end up starting a flame war on this thread. But there's certainly more to this than might appear at first glance. (Again, very unfortunately.)

We are constantly dancing around the two ton elephant in the room here.

As for elitism, I'm by no means convinced that it has no part in the cranial measurements (etc.) theory that you cited, as it is key to certain interpretations of African history. What those are is (imo) a subject probably probably best avoided here.

[/back to the Fula]
User avatar
By gr3vans
#21916
e2c wrote: ...I would rather there was another word in use besides "race" - the concept is outdated...

[/back to the Fula]
How about ethnic group?
[/back to the future]
#22975
hello guys, some short remarks on that subject...
In my mind when i hear some music from malian fulas i'm reminded of Ragga singing from India. Check my man Molibaly Keita in this clip and tell me, is it a more African sounding voice or an Indian voice. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykq-GbHVnBQ&feature=related
well, Keita is maninka and Molibaly sings in bambara (or in a maninka dialect that sounds like bambara to me...). So no proof for a relationship between Fulas and Indians.

True, the "race" concept is not a very actual one (at least not in science. Especially in a country where everyone who is not completely white is declared "black" this concept seems to be quite alive). But "ethnic group" can be smaller than what we try to mention using the term "race"... btw, the nazis said everything bad about all the Jews in the world, but they didn't say they were less intelligent, it was more the opposite...
e2c wrote: No argument from me regarding *legitimate* uses of measurements of the human body (not just the cranium), but I think a clear line has to be drawn as to what that kind of data collection is about along with how it's being used.
well, what do you call " 'legitimate' uses of measurements of the human body"? d;-) are you turning racist or more sexist here? :giggle:

Is there a proof that Fula comes from the arabic word fellah? the english word "fellow" is even closer...
And: an emic (outsider's) or etic (insider's) term, originally describing what someone does (like "farmer") can become an ethnic groups name, it can even make an ethnic group (as we see today in IC and Burkina with the "dyula" "people"). I learnt polak (today also pollak and pollack) was a slavic term for farmers. And today there's (1) a whole country and his population called that way (Polska) and (2) many people around the world with that family name (most of them from former CZ and not from Poland!).
I doubt anyone will ever prove who the Fula are or where their ancestors ultimately came from, unless there's all kinds of DNA testing done - and if that ever does happen, the answers could be surprising.
very true! Probably the best point of all and the one we'll keep in mind!
still speculation (mixing science and legends) can be interesting. especially in this very special case (there're only Jews and Basques who are so special, I think - of course, I'm not saying that any other ethnic group, regional group and human being is/are not special! Huh, quite complicate to be correct (in the double sense) here! we should keep this in mind, too, while reading the others' posts.

Have a nice evening,
Daniel
User avatar
By e2c
#22981
One of the reasons I think DNA testing would be very interesting is that so far - in the case of legit tests that I'm aware of - a lot of people have been surprised ...

Also, it does not seem to me that there is anything like a homogeneous culture among the people referred to as Fula; any more than there is a homogeneous culture in the British Isles or Italy or Spain, let alone anywhere in the Western Hemisphere .

I wonder if some of the ideas about the Fulas' origin were invented after the fact to try and come up with an explanation that made sense/makes sense to those telling the story? There had to have been a lot of human migration throughout North Africa prior to the formation of the Sahara, for one thing... my guess is that some of this goes well back into prehistoric times and that we will never know the full answer to any of it.
By neuroanimal
#30224
In literature various names for Fulas are used: Pullo (singular) / Fulbe (plural), Peul (Peuhl, Peulh), Fula, Fulanke, Fulani, Fellata, Afuli, and others. They are living from Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger to Mali, Guinea and Senegal. Others were and are living also in Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Dahomey (Benin), Guinea-Bissau, Mauretania, Gambia, Ghana and Togo. Many countries, isn't it?

There were various hipothesis about origin of Fulas:
Berbers
Ethiopia
Kush
Nubia
Egypt
Hyxos people
Semitic people (sons of Sem)
Syria
Gypsis (Romas)
India
Malays
Polynesians

More modern science claims that their origin lay in Foutah Touro region of Senegal. During 2000s BC they started migrations in waves to the eastern routes. Legends say about intermarriages with Muslims. Many of Fulas came later to Foutah Djallon mountains (Timbo, Mamu, Dingiray, Labe are important cities), where they met Koniagui, Landouma, Djallonke and Soussou people. Two main families were Alfa and Soria. On the banks of the Kumba river there were a lot of Peul griots (various kinds of them: jokers, historians, poets, spies, musicians).

Traditional nomadic Fulas are called Bororo or Woɗaaɓe. Previous names were also Boroma ("-ma" suffix means "people") and Bororoji. Their neighbours in III century AD were Burdama, identified with Tuaregs. Both were related to old kingdom of Wagadu, in different times known as Dierra, Agada, Ganna, Silla, which made it country of 4 directions. According Gasir Lute, a myth on Wagadu, it is a kingdom living in a human heart, and directions are giving him strenght, power.

Wagadu of Boroma and Burdama on the north was called Dierra (while diare was griot, bard, jeli), and there they were fighting with Nganamba Fasa, their king, which was bad for them. After war Boroma were slaves (one more time) of the Burdama. Nganamba's son, Gasiro Fasa, whose heart was bitten by shakal, he wanted to be a warrior. But he was given a lute. When he was singing story on a lute, it was first time (of 4) when Wagadu fallen down.

Bororo people (Boroma) are pastoralists. They protect their culture and genes. "Barur" in their language means "Born in Bush". Cattle and other animals (domesticated and wild ones) are very important for them. When they are drinking milk, they are doing it slowly with breaks, not like a tea. They have butter called lebol, and acid milk called pendidam. In their legends there are wild cows turned into domesticated, and sometimes in reverse direction when there was no fire in a land. Supreme God is called Geno, which is Invisible Creator, or Dundari. Mythical nomadic ancestor had name Tjanaba (snake, gourd of the cattle), his friend was Kumen. Today Kumen is an nomadic initation text about first Bororo nomad called Sile Sadio.

Fulas divided world into 4 materials: animals, plants, minerals and stars. Also divided people on 4 races: whites, blacks, reds and yellows. There were also 4 directions, and 4 ancient elements made from milk. They have lunar calendar (12 months).

Myth say that snake-god Tjanaba swimmed in Senegal river to the Niger sources. In Bafulabe village he has taken name Nikinanka. There he met Ilo who helped him with care on cows. Next place on voyage of Tjanaba was Masina country. Then he stayed at Debo lake. Spirit ghost Da from the lake became his friend. Then Tjanaba came to Oro lake, where his life has finished. So now Kumen helps people with cattle and other things. He is black when works with minerals, white when helps wild forest animals, red when helps domestic animals (help for Tjanaba). Yellow person with red eyes was Ilo's forbidden wife Foroforondu, which was the reason of Tjanaba problems.

Those were legends and old stories, especially about Bororo subgroup of Fulas.

When we want to research on topic of all Fulas, in reality we should first observe differentiation between their subgroups. Or just precise about which Fulas are we speaking now (those from Cameroon and from Mauretania are not the same). The same situation is with population genetics - various subgroups of Fulas has various haplogroups of mt-DNA and Y-DNA. Wide range of genetic roots of those societies has been identified in some populations of Berbers, Ethiopians, and Kushitic people.

Peuhl race was divided into peoples: Fulah, Dialdialo, Ururo, Bari, Ferobé. If some of them were the related to pharaons of Kush (or Nubian Egypt), then they would be just a caste, similar like it would be horse-riding warriors' caste called Shasu, which was identified with So race (Soussou, Soninké, Sarakhole peoples). Peuhl races had solar cult called Naggé or Raggé similar to egyptian Ra. Nature elements are controlled by Gelé god, connected with Earth by "san gelé sira" - divine way to the Heaven. Unerearth life is controlled by Hyné devil. Elders of the family are gourds of the cults: of moon (Ziri or Irini, female element), of planets (cult of sky). Initiated elders called Pendé-Odá are a teachers of initiated boys. Their practics and didactics are similar to that of Egyptian priests, Babilonian mags, and Mongolian or Urianchay lamas.

References:
"Between Blacks" by Anthony Ferdinand Ossendovsky
"New adventure: Guinea" by Arkady Fiedler
"Das sterbende Afrika" by Leo Frobenius
"Neger-maerchen aus Imanas Landen" by Adolf Landen
"Old Africa" by Basil Davidson
"African Genesis" by Basil Davidson