Social organization among the Badyaranké of Tonghia, Sénégal. - article ; n°1 ; vol.2, pg 59-95
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Social organization among the Badyaranké of Tonghia, Sénégal. - article ; n°1 ; vol.2, pg 59-95

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Cahiers du Centre de recherches anthropologiques - Année 1967 - Volume 2 - Numéro 1 - Pages 59-95
Résumé. Les Badyaranké sont une petite population d'environ 5000 âmes, dont les villages sont situés aux frontières du Sénégal, de la Guinée et de la Guinée Portugaise. Agriculteurs sédentaires, ils possèdent des troupeaux confiés à leurs voisins peul. Quoiqu'ils soient depuis longtemps en contact avec des Peul et des Mandingues islamisés, les Badyaranké sont resté animistes jusqu'à une date récente. Au village de Tonghia (Sénégal) environ la moitié de la population a embrassé l'islam. La société badyaranké comprend environ 26 lignées exogames matrilinéaires dont quelques-unes sont totémiques. Le problème du lieu de résidence est cependant moins simple. Les hommes mariés préfèrent résider avec leur père mais beaucoup résident chez les frères de leurs mères ou chez d'autres parents plus éloignés. Les femmes habitent chez leur mari après le mariage et l'épouse préférentielle est la fille de la sœur du père. Ainsi la concession groupe-t-elle souvent des individus diversement apparentés. Les femmes d'une concession résident ensemble dans une grande maison commune où elles dorment, mangent et travaillent. Les maisons individuelles des hommes bordent en un arc de cercle l'est de la concession et la maison des femmes est idéalement située à son extrémité ouest. Le nom de famille (kopanyi) est patrilinéaire, aussi peut-on dire qu'il existe un début de lignées patrilinéaires. Mais ces groupes n'ont pas d'activités communes et n'impliquent pas de sentiments de solidarité. La succession à la chefferie d'une concession est en grande partie fonction de l'âge et des capacités individuelles. Le chef de village est cependant élu par le conseil des anciens du village tout entier. Il n'y a jamais eu chez les Badyaranké d'unité politique dépassant le niveau du village. Chaque village est politiquement indépendant de chaque autre. Il y a quelques preuves de l'existence de classes d'âges, en tant que groupes de travail, mais ces groupes n'entretiennent pas de relation avec ceux des autres villages. Les hommes d'une concession donnée cultivent idéalement en commun un seul champ. Cependant, à Tonghia, cette norme était souvent transgressée. Nous avons comparé Tonghia à Patin Kouta, village badyaranké voisin, plus influencé par les coutumes mandingues et par l'islam. A Patin Kouta un biais patrilinéaire plus important qu'à Tonghia marque la structure
Summary. The Badyaranké are a small population, numbering around 5000 souls, whose villages lie in Senegal, Guinea and Portuguese Guinea, at the point where the three countries converge. Their economy is based on sedentary agriculture. Cattle are owned, but are confided to neighboring Peul. Despite their long exposure to the Islamized Peul and Manding, the Badyaranké have remained pagan until only recently. At the village of Tonghia in Senegal, about half of the population has embraced Islam. Badyaranké society is made up of approximately 26 exogamous matrilineal descent groups, some of which are totemic. Residence however is much less clear cut. Married men prefer to reside with their fathers, but many reside with their mother's brothers and with more distantly related kin. Women live in the compound of their husbands after marriage, and the preferred spouse is the father's sister's daughter. Thus the compounds are often made up of miscellaneous assortments of kin. The women of a compound reside together in a large collective house where they sleep, eat and work. The individual houses of the men fo^m an arc around the eastern perimeter of the compound, and the solitary women's house ideally lies at the western pole. The family name (kopanyi) is inherited patrilineally, and thus incipient patrilineal descent groups may be said to exist. These groups engage in no corporate activities and involve no sentiments of solidarity. Succession to headmanship in the compound is largely a function of age and ability. The village chief, however, is elected by the council of elders for the entire village. Among the Badyaranké no political unity has ever existed above the village level. Each village is politically independent of every other. Some evidence exists for age-grade societies, referred to as work groups, but these are not coordinated from one village to another. The men of a given compound ideally cultivate a single field in common. At Tonghia, however, this norm was often not fulfilled. A comparison was made to Patin Kouta, a nearly Badyaranké village more influenced by Manding customs and Islam. Thus, at Patin Kouta, a stronger patrilineal bias was found in their social structure, than was found at Tonghia. At Patin Kouta the compounds were found to be better integrated than at Tonghia, because there, all people who reside together, work together. This was interpreted to mean that Patin Kouta had more successfully balanced its indigenous matrilineal system with borrowed patrilineal elements.
37 pages
Source : Persée ; Ministère de la jeunesse, de l’éducation nationale et de la recherche, Direction de l’enseignement supérieur, Sous-direction des bibliothèques et de la documentation.

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Published 01 January 1967
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W. Simmons
Social organization among the Badyaranké of Tonghia, Sénégal.
In: Cahiers du Centre de recherches anthropologiques, XII° Série, tome 2 fascicule 1-2, 1967. pp. 59-95.
Citer ce document / Cite this document :
Simmons W. Social organization among the Badyaranké of Tonghia, Sénégal. In: Cahiers du Centre de recherches
anthropologiques, XII° Série, tome 2 fascicule 1-2, 1967. pp. 59-95.
doi : 10.3406/bmsap.1967.1505
http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/bmsap_1297-7810_1967_sup_2_1_1505Résumé
Résumé. Les Badyaranké sont une petite population d'environ 5000 âmes, dont les villages sont situés
aux frontières du Sénégal, de la Guinée et de la Guinée Portugaise. Agriculteurs sédentaires, ils
possèdent des troupeaux confiés à leurs voisins peul. Quoiqu'ils soient depuis longtemps en contact
avec des Peul et des Mandingues islamisés, les Badyaranké sont resté animistes jusqu'à une date
récente. Au village de Tonghia (Sénégal) environ la moitié de la population a embrassé l'islam. La
société badyaranké comprend environ 26 lignées exogames matrilinéaires dont quelques-unes sont
totémiques. Le problème du lieu de résidence est cependant moins simple. Les hommes mariés
préfèrent résider avec leur père mais beaucoup résident chez les frères de leurs mères ou chez
d'autres parents plus éloignés. Les femmes habitent chez leur mari après le mariage et l'épouse
préférentielle est la fille de la sœur du père. Ainsi la concession groupe-t-elle souvent des individus
diversement apparentés. Les femmes d'une concession résident ensemble dans une grande maison
commune où elles dorment, mangent et travaillent. Les maisons individuelles des hommes bordent en
un arc de cercle l'est de la concession et la maison des femmes est idéalement située à son extrémité
ouest. Le nom de famille (kopanyi) est patrilinéaire, aussi peut-on dire qu'il existe un début de lignées
patrilinéaires. Mais ces groupes n'ont pas d'activités communes et n'impliquent pas de sentiments de
solidarité. La succession à la chefferie d'une concession est en grande partie fonction de l'âge et des
capacités individuelles. Le chef de village est cependant élu par le conseil des anciens du village tout
entier. Il n'y a jamais eu chez les Badyaranké d'unité politique dépassant le niveau du village. Chaque
village est politiquement indépendant de chaque autre. Il y a quelques preuves de l'existence de
classes d'âges, en tant que groupes de travail, mais ces groupes n'entretiennent pas de relation avec
ceux des autres villages. Les hommes d'une concession donnée cultivent idéalement en commun un
seul champ. Cependant, à Tonghia, cette norme était souvent transgressée. Nous avons comparé
Tonghia à Patin Kouta, village badyaranké voisin, plus influencé par les coutumes mandingues et par
l'islam. A Patin Kouta un biais patrilinéaire plus important qu'à Tonghia marque la structure
Abstract
Summary. The Badyaranké are a small population, numbering around 5000 souls, whose villages lie in
Senegal, Guinea and Portuguese Guinea, at the point where the three countries converge. Their
economy is based on sedentary agriculture. Cattle are owned, but are confided to neighboring Peul.
Despite their long exposure to the Islamized Peul and Manding, the Badyaranké have remained pagan
until only recently. At the village of Tonghia in Senegal, about half of the population has embraced
Islam. Badyaranké society is made up of approximately 26 exogamous matrilineal descent groups,
some of which are totemic. Residence however is much less clear cut. Married men prefer to reside with
their fathers, but many reside with their mother's brothers and with more distantly related kin. Women
live in the compound of their husbands after marriage, and the preferred spouse is the father's sister's
daughter. Thus the compounds are often made up of miscellaneous assortments of kin. The women of
a compound reside together in a large collective house where they sleep, eat and work. The individual
houses of the men fo^m an arc around the eastern perimeter of the compound, and the solitary
women's house ideally lies at the western pole. The family name (kopanyi) is inherited patrilineally, and
thus incipient patrilineal descent groups may be said to exist. These groups engage in no corporate
activities and involve no sentiments of solidarity. Succession to headmanship in the compound is largely
a function of age and ability. The village chief, however, is elected by the council of elders for the entire
village. Among the Badyaranké no political unity has ever existed above the village level. Each village is
politically independent of every other. Some evidence exists for age-grade societies, referred to as work
groups, but these are not coordinated from one village to another. The men of a given compound ideally
cultivate a single field in common. At Tonghia, however, this norm was often not fulfilled. A comparison
was made to Patin Kouta, a nearly Badyaranké village more influenced by Manding customs and Islam.
Thus, at Patin Kouta, a stronger patrilineal bias was found in their social structure, than was found at
Tonghia. At Patin Kouta the compounds were found to be better integrated than at Tonghia, because
there, all people who reside together, work together. This was interpreted to mean that Patin Kouta had
more successfully balanced its indigenous matrilineal system with borrowed patrilineal elements.des Cahiers du Centre de Recherches Anthropologiques, n° 7. Extrait
In : Bull, et Mém. de la Soc. ďAnthr. de Paris,
t. 2, XIIe série, 1967, pp. 59 à 95.
SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AMONG THE
BADYARANKÉ OF TONGHIA, SÉNÉGAL (i)
BY
W. SIMMONS
Introduction.
The Badyaranké (2) live in the flat savanna at the southern edge of the
western sudan, in a small region that overlaps into the Republic of Sénégal,
the Republic of Guinea and Portuguese Guinea (3). Their language belongs
to the Tenda sub group of the West Atlantic family, and thus is related to the
neighboring Coniagui and Bassari (4). Although the Badyaranké share their
territory, and often their villages, with the Manding and various Fulbé, they
are considered to be the most ancient inhabitants of their area. In all, some
5000 Badyaranké live today in approximately 40 villages. In less than half
of these 40 villages are the inhabitants all or mostly Badyaranké.
The country inhabited by the Badyaranké is greener and more lush at
its southern limit in Guinea, and slightly drier with more dispersed vege
tation at its northern extremity in Sénégal. This is the country of the
towering kapok tree, the stubby baobab, mahoganies, a species of the gum
tree known as Daniella oliveri, the oil palm and the néré. The wild forest ani
mals include buffalo, elan, antelope, monkeys, elephants, lions, panthers, wild
boar, hippopotami, crocodiles and hyena. Life is made uncomfortable by the
malaria mosquito, tse tse fly and snail fever. The soil is usually hard, dry
(1) Le texte anglais original de ce travail a été imprimé ici à titre exceptionnel.
(2) My field work among the Badyaranké from November, 1964, to January, 1966, was made pos
sible through a Sheldon Travelling Fellowship from Harvard University. My choice of the Badya
ranké was due to the counsel and advice of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Gessain of the Centre de Recherches
Anthropologiques of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris.
(3) For an introduction to the Badyaranké and the ethnohistoric sources of the region, see
M. Gessain, 1958.
(4) The linguistic status of the is by no means clear. For recent discussions based
on field research, see G. E. Ducos, 1965, and W. A. A. Wilson, 1959, 1961 and 1965. SOCIETE D ANTHROPOLOGIE "DE PARIS 60
and red from iron deposits. The landscape is characterized by numerous large
red anthills and frequent marshes which follow the meandering streams.
The year is divided into wet and dry seasons, with rain beginning toward the
end of May, becoming most intense by August, and subsiding in November.
During this time the streams swell and flood, travel is difficult and mosquitoes
torture the night. During the months of December and January the rain
stops, but the countryside is still green, the nights are chilly, and the earth is
fanned by strong easterly winds. The following months however become increa
singly torrid with the hot, dry, dusty harmattan blowing out of the Sahara
until the eve of the rains, when the wind momentarily reverses, the skies
darken, the nights grumble with thunder, and the rains fall again.
SÉNÉGAL
Щ ,♦♦♦♦♦♦♦+'*,, .TAMBACOUNOA
c ^jî/^ í^vDEPÍ DE KED0UG0U^ pr?^
PORT s_e /" GUI NÉ
Map. 1. — The approximate location of the village of Tonghia.
Cereals cultivated by the Badyaranké include dry and wet rice, sorghumr
millets and fonio. The vegetables consist mainly of onions, tomatoes, beans,
hot peppers, manioc and gumbo. Peanuts are extensively cultivated and are
the principal cash crop. Around the villages one finds mango, lime and papaya
trees, occasionally bananas, "and the several species of palm r growing wild
in the forest provide an ever-running source of palm wine. Domestic animals
include cattle, sheep, goats, asses, dogs, cats and chickens. In the streams are
found catfish and a variety of smaller fish, as well as the giant python.
Planting begins with the first rains early in June and work in the fields con
tinues until the harvests which begin as early as the last week of August for
maize and terminate when the rice is completely cut, early in January.
The Badyaranké of Portuguese Guinea have been Moslem for over a gene
ration and for this reason have often been mistaken for Manding, who in this
region have long been Islamized. The villages of Sénégal, with the sole excep
tion of Tonghia, are almost completely Islamized, and have been for at least SIMMON'S. SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AMONG THE BADYARANKÉ 61 W.
two decades. Tonghia itself still retains a considerable pagan population
but during the last ten years about half of the inhabitants (53 %) have aban
doned their palm wine and begun to pray to Allah. In Guinea, notably at the
village of Sunkutu, Islam has made some inroads, but otherwise the majority
of the Badyaranké in Guinea continue their pagan ways, despite their long
familiarity with the Islamic Peul (1) of the Fouta Djallon.
For a variety of reasons, I chose Tonghia, in the Arrondissement of Bon-
conto, as the site of my field investigation. Tonghia was a favored choice
because many of the beliefs and practices of traditional Badyaranké society
have eroded away in other Senegalese villages more influenced by Islam.
Also the village was relatively pure from an ethnic point of view : of a total
population in 1965 of 309 people, there were six Coniaguis and two Peul Fouta
in residence. At Tonghia, I was within bicycling distance of the Badyaranké
villages of Sare Oura, Chafen, Mohum, Kantoro, Patin Kouta, and Paroumba,
all of which I visited and three of which (Patin Kouta, Chafen, Sare Oura)
became quite familiar to me. At Tonghia I moved into an empty house in the
compound of Niaboli Waliba, the village chief, and there in his family I ate,
slept and lived for slightly over a year. From the beginning I tried to work
in their language and attained some proficiency after six or seven months,
but generally used interpreters for all serious questioning. The French Cathol
ic Fathers of Velingara in Sénégal began a school at Tonghia in the late fifties
but, for a variety of reasons, it was abandoned four years later, and as yet
there is no school, no store and no medical dispensary in the village. The
nearest school and dispensary lie 20 kilometers a way at the Fula Kunda village
of Linkirring ; the nearest administrative center, where taxes are paid and
some disputes are settled, is at Bonconto, about 55 kilometers distant ; and
the nearest market town, Velingara, is some 100 to the north. There
resides the Prefect, the local center of the government agricultural cooperative
and the French Catholic Fathers.
Tonghia was founded about 65 years ago by several Badyaranké families
from the village of Timbi in northern Guinea. Niaboli Waliouae, a chief at
Timbi, decided to move to the new site because of the depredations caused
by the Fulani wars. For almost two decades the famous Fula Kunda chief,
Moussa Molo, and the great leader of the Peul Fouta, Alpha Yaya, had been
making life uncomfortable for the smaller tribes in the paths of their expans
ion. Niaboli Waliouae appealed to Moussa Molo to allow him to lead his
people peacefully into the lands of the Fula Kunda where they could establish
a new village. Moussa Molo approved and the Tonghia people moved out of
the contested forests of northern Guinea into the Casamance of Sénégal.
(1) Peuï or Fulbe ; the Fulbe from the Fouta Djallon are known as Peul Fouta or Poullo Fouta. société d'anthropologie de paris 62
I. — Domestic and political life.
i. The compound.
The elemental domestic group of Badyaranké society is the dependent
polygynous extended family. Hereafter such groups will be referred to as com
pounds, for their internal compositions are too varied to allow a more specific
taxonomie designation. The compound is the minimal residential unit and
the village is made up of an aggregate of compounds. Each compound
consists of two primary structures, the headman's house (bellibu) and the
women's house (bumba). The men's houses are circular with a front and rear
door, with walls built of dried mud. The women's house is also circular, built
of reed or more recently mud walls, with a front and rear door. All struc
tures support conical roofs made of thatch, and none have partitioned inte
riors. The headman's house is situated to the east of the compound and the
collective women's house to the west. As the compound increases in size, each
adult married man builds his own house (paade wambani : house of boys) to the
north or south of the axis between the two primary structures, thus creating
a ring with the solitary women's house to the west and the men's houses clo
sing the circle to the east (fig. 1, 2 and 3).
The unmarried boys of the compound from ages four to five to twenty gene
rally inhabit a single dwelling where they sleep. Unmarried and widowed
adult men generally sleep alone in their private houses in the compound. In the
open area to the interior of the compound stands a wooden post, at the base
of which, to the east, lies a circle of stones where the younger men and boys
eat in the evening. In front of each house the men build a sitting platform which
is sometimes roofed. In front of the women's house one finds a profusion of
roofless sitting platforms corresponding to the number of women who live
therein. Cooking and mortaring are done within the women's house during the
rainy months and to the rear of the house during the dry season. To the rear
of the men's houses, one generally finds elevated granaries, enclosed gardens
of tomatoes, manioc or peppers and a washing area. Men are buried within
or to the rear of their houses and women are buried to the rear of their collec
tive house. The corpse, interred on its right side facing east, follows the living
arrangement of men to the east and women to the west. The entire compound
is usually contained within a five-foot-high woven grass fence (fig. 1 and 3).
Men are said to live to the east of the women because life began in the east
and the prevailing wind blows from east to west. Thus the " breath " and
" heat " of the women is blown away from the men. If it were to blow on
them, they would be exposed to vague illnesses. The combined smoke, heat
and exhalations of the women in their great noisy chamber are said to bear
mystical danger. This is why, the men say, the women's house is built of
reeds ; to ventilate their impurity. Male informants say that if a woman were SIMMONS. SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AMONG THE BADYARANKE 63 W.
to reside for any length of time in a man's house, her very presence would
cause the walls to crack and the house to collapse. Thus, men live dispersed
toward the favored east, upwind from the noisy, breathing, burning women.
The compounds bear the personal names of their male founders as in " Cand-
dania " (at Dania's), or the patronymic of their founder as in " Sandé
Kunda " (the place of the Sandé) or sometimes even the name of a conspicuous
tree that grows near the compound, as, for example, " Cambiae " (at the
néré tree). The largest number of dwellings in any one compound at Tonghia
was twelve, and the smallest two, with a mean of six dwellings for the total
population of fifteen compounds.
:x
16.13.15.12.14.11.10.5.8.3.7.4.9.2.6.1. Waliba's Women's House Ansumane's Empty Central Fig. of house house. post 1. Toonkan washing collective Sane Nioké Ansumane, sitting Niaboli granary. — and belonging built Compound Karfo, Suniba, platforms. eating Waliba, area. Sambi, granary. for area. son sister's Catholic to rocks. a of sister's compound patrilateral a Niaboli Waliba. fadi son teacher. of son Waliba, Waliba. headman. of relative Waliba. occupied chief of Waliba. of Tonghia, by the ethnographer. Feb. 65.
Residents are recruited into the compounds according to several rules, the
most general of which is the preference by sons to reside patrilocally and for
women to reside virilocally after marriage (1). Thus, as a rule, men remain
(1) Badyaranke society is organized into matrilineal descent groups (cf. Part II of this paper). 64 SOCIETE D ANTHROPOLOGIE DE PARIS
18
[20 23
Fig. 2. — Women's area, compound of Niaboli Waliba.
1. Bed of Maidi, 2nd wife of Ansumane.
2. Bed of Alarba, wife of Suniba.
3.of unmarried niece of Baboum.
4. Bed of Padiar, wife of Waliba.
5.of Baboum, 1st wife of Ansumane.
6. Bed of Bintadyo, wife of Karfo.
7.of Nani, wife of Toonkan.
8. Urn of Baboum's fonio.
9. Peanuts, Maidi.
10. Fonio,
11.Baboum.
12. Clothing, Padiar.
13. Empty urn.
14. Fonio, Alarba.
15. Fireplace, Alarba.
16.Baboum.
17.Bintadyo.
18. Fireplace, Alarba.
19.Baboum.
20. Mortaring area.
21. Chickens,
22.Baboum.
23. Sitting platform, Maidi.
24.Alarba.
25. Sitting Padiar.
26.platform, Baboum.
27. Fonio, Maidi.
28. Rice,
29.Maidi.
30. Rice, Maidi.
31.Baboum.
32. Rice,
33.
34. Peanuts, Baboum.
35.
36. Tomatoes,
37. Calabashes, Baboum.
38. Peanuts, Ansumane.
39.Maidi.
40. Rice, Baboum.
41. Peanuts, Padiar.
42. Rice,
43.Baboum. SIMMONS. SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AMONG THE BADYARANKÉ 65 W.
and women leave, unless as occasionally happens, the parties to the marriage
derive from the same compound. A girl's father may request his son-in-law
to reside uxorilocally during the years prior to marriage while he accumulates
bridewealth and performs services. If a man's father has died, and the com
pound for various reasons has dispersed, he would be free to move in with a ter
minological equivalent of his father, or a brother, or even a mother's brother.
The death of a man with wives and children necessitates two alternatives.
First, the women and their children may go to the compounds of their res
pective inheritors. Second, if the deceased was a headman, or if he had seve
ral wives with sons needed in the labor force of the compound, an inheritor
Fig. 3. — Compound of Niaboli Niambi, Feb. 65.
1. House of Niaboli Niambi, headman.
2.of Bandia Mamadou, bachelor.
3. Women's house.
4. House of Niaboli Kokudo, son of Niaboli Nketa.
5.of Nketa, a fadi of Niambi.
6. House of Niaboli Malan, a of
7.of Bandia Arfan, mother's brother of Niambi.
8. House of Boumbali Nketa, a father of Niambi who lives with his wife, Wassa.
9. Boumbaly Nketa 's granary.
10. Wassa's cooking and mortaring area.
11. Moslem prayer area.
12. Central post and eating stones.
13. Peanuts, Mamadou Bandia.
14. Chickens, Bandia Mamadou.
15. Women's granary for Niambi's wives, Niania and Aisatou.
16. Womens mortaring area.
17.cooking area.
18. Goats and sheep, Niambi.
19. Chickens, Niaboli Nketa.
20. Peanuts,
21.Niaboli Nketa.
22. Men's granary, exclusive of Boumbali Nketa.
23. Granary for Arfan and wife, Silin.
24. Granary, Arfan.
BULL. ET .MÉM. SOCIÉTÉ ANTHROP. DE PARIS, T. 2, 12e SÉRIE, 1967.