Top > African Study Monographs > ASM Supplementary Issue Back Number > No.1 (1982)
A Comparative Study of Ecological Anthropology in Tropical Africa

Edited by Junichiro ITANI and Mitsuo ICHIKAWA

pp. 1-12

Adaptation to Arid Environment: A Comparative Study of Hunter-Gatherers and Pastoralists in Africa

Hirosaki University

   The author compares two modes of living in African continent, hunting-gathering and pastoralism, and discusses man's adaptation to arid environment. First, the author deals with the San, hunter-gatherers of the Karahari, and the Rendille, camel pastoralists of arid area in northern Kenya, describing the characteristics of their environments, livelihood, and societies. Secondly, he compares them with other hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and agriculturalists inhabiting less arid habitat, and points out that pastoralism is suited to drier environment, agriculture to wetter environment of the land hunting-gathering is widely adaptive to both. Through further examination of the land and resource utilization, material culture, demographic features, and social organizations of the San and the Rendille, he concludes that the extensive land utilization accompanied by frequent migration--common to both peoples--should be interpreted as an adaptation to arid environment, and that their quantitatively limited material culture, elaborate demographic regulation, and flexible social structure are remarkable characteristics of the societies in arid regions.

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pp. 13-41

Man-Animal Interaction Complex in Coat Herding of the Pastoral Turkana

Itaru OHTA
Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University

   The development mechanism of mutual interaction between man and domestic animals is examined in the goat herding of the Turkana, nomadic pastoralists living in northwestern Kenya. Behavior and inter-individuals relationships among the goats are studied. Comparison with non-managed, feral and wild goats, revealed several behavioral modifications induced in the domestic goats by human management: (1) individual differences in the degree of proximity to the mother; (2) familiarity among the members of one herd; (3) formation of large groups; and (4) learned ability to move autonomously during herding. The goats are totally habituated to human management. The behavioral changes in goats are an unintended secondary result of the management practices of separating the kids from their mothers by keeping the kids at the village, and of repeated day-trip herding. The relationship between man and domestic animals in certain management system should be viewed as the integrated outcome of their mutual interactions.

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pp. 43-62

Small Stock Management and the Goat Naming System of the Pastoral Gabra

Ichiro IMAI
Kyoto University

   The present paper describes and analyzes the pastoral Gabra herding technique for the small stock, sheep and goats, which chiefly support their subsistence diet. Although the sheep and goats utilize different plants for their food supply, the Gabra herd them in one flock. This paper demonstrates that the Gabra's mixed-flock herding technique is effective and well adapted to their territory's natural environment. This paper also describes the Gabra goat-naming system. The Gabra classify the goats by matrilineal groups and call each goat by its matrilineal group's name, each female goat is given an individual descriptive name. This unique naming system facilitates the exchange of information about the goats and the smooth management of milking.

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pp. 63-69

The Role of Abela in the Gabra Society: A Case Study of Gerontocratic Society of the Pastoralists

Meiji University

   The Gabra are pastoral nomads inhabiting an extreme dry land in Kenya-Ethiopia border. Abela is used for three kinds of meanings, a term of address to the elder, a kinship term referred to the father's sister's husband and a term referred to the mother's lover. There are several usages in several social contexts, reflecting some aspects of gerontocratic rules in the Gabra society. Especially, the roles of abela are analyzed in relation to the rules for marriage and sex, although the East African pastoral gerontocracy is generally discussed in the aspects of their political and religious institutions. In this report these roles are discussed with actual cases from fieldwork conducted in 1980.

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pp. 71-103

A Market on Boundary: The Economic Activities of the Pokot and the Marakwet in Kenya

Laboratory of Human Evoluton Studies, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University

   The market activities of three peoples--the Pastoral Pokot, the Agricultural Pokot, and the Marakwet--were observed at Chesegon Village, western Kenya. This village is located on the territorial boundary of the Pokot and the Marakwet, and sandwiched between mountains and dry plains. This location allows easy exchange of each people's particular products, because producers need only transport their goods short distances. It is not food staples but rather supplementary food, meat and handicrafts that characterize the market. There is comparatively little external trade. The market is also significant as a place to obtain cash and to exchange information.
   I present the background of their market activities (the natural environment, modes of livelihood, intertribal relations, etc.), the market activities in relation to material culture and to the family budget, economic activities outside the monetary spheres, and discuss characteristics of the economic activities around Chesegon, the function of the market and shops, and the location of the market.

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pp. 105-139

Curing Ritual of the Tongwe Traditional Doctor: Its Process and Logic

Research Associate of T.N.S.R.C. (Tanzania National Scientific Research Council)
Institute of History and Anthropology, University of Tsukuba

   This study attempts to analyze the logic and process of the curing ritual conducted by the traditional doctor of the Tongwe, a people of West Tanzania.
   In May 1972, the author underwent formal rites to join the ranks of the mfumo, the traditional doctors. On the basis of this experience, this article analyses actual examples obtained during a new survey in 1980.
   Sustained by the divine protection and assistance of the ancestoral ghosts and myriad spirits, the curing ritual of the mfumo ordinarily centers upon the tangible incarnation of the wills of the mysterious beings, the source and cause of disease, and their control. The following three pillars support this central core of the ritual: (1) the oracles of the spirits who possess the mfumo and spells he chants during the course of healing process, that is, the verbal aspects of the mfumo's activities; (2) techniques based on symbolic behavior which render invisible mysterious beings into incarnated objects that can be manipulated; and (3) a profound ethno-scientific knowledge that sustain the selection of the animal and vegetable dawa, the traditional medicine.
   Among the various aspects of curing ritual, particular attention has been given to the role vegetable medicine plays in traditional medicine. The Tongwe combine a plant's special characteristics; its habitat, morphology, color, smell, or toxicity, with the nature of the disease to be cured, linking the two through the names of the plants. This suggests the true importance of ethno-etymological study. These particular characteristics of Tongwe medicine reveal a close similarity with those of the Ndembu of Zambia.

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