Top > African Study Monographs > ASM Supplementary Issue Back Number > No.4 (1985)
A Comparative Study of Human Ecology around the Woodland in Central Africa

Edited by Makoto KAKEYA

pp. 1-24

Citemene, Figure Millet and Bemba Culture: A Socio-Ecological Study of Slash-and-Burn Cultivation in Northeastern Zambia


(Reseach Affiliates of I.A.S.)
The Institute for African Studies, University of Zambia
The University of Tsukuba

   The citemene system, a unique slash-and-burn horticulture to cultivate finger millet and cassava as the main crops, developed by the Bemba living in the miombo woodland in northeastern Zambia is analyzed from a socio-ecological viewpoint, based primarily on the data obtained from a three and half month field study. This paper concentrates on the activities and their results involved in citemene cultivation in a small village.
   After brief description of the annual work, some ecological features of the citemene field and its surrounding woodland, and the citemene system as a subsistence strategy are analyzed.
   Each household uses a subsistence strategy to adjust the acreage of the citemene fields and mound fields over the course of several years, according to the characteristics of its composition and social conditions. Traditions such as bride-service and polygamy have a strong influence on this strategy. While cassava is very important as a subsidiary staple crop, people give high value to finger millet not only as a staple crop but also as a material used in the manufacture of local beer which is indispensable for rituals, asking for joint work and communal drinking. Heavy attachment to finger millet is deep-rooted in Bemba culture. It helps to preserve the citemene system and conserve the traditional communal way of life at the village level.

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pp. 25-48

A Comparison of Fishing Strategies in the Bangweulu Swamps

(Reseach Affiliates of I.A.S.)
The Institute for African Studies, University of Zambia
Kyoto University

   The fishing strategies in the Bangweulu Swamps, Northern Zambia, are described and analyzed based on the data obtained from a three month field study in 1983. At the Muilika fishing camp, situated in the center of the Swamps, six fishing methods were employed by a total of 19 fishing units consisting of 27 fishermen. A comparison was made of the fishing effort allocated to the six fishing methods by these 19 units. In spite of a difference found in the allocation pattern of fishing effort, no significant difference in fishing efficiency was found among the fishing units. For ukusakila (fish-driving method), comparisons of efficiencies were made between the two variations of ukusakila method, among various sizes of co-fishing group, and among fishing units, none of which showed a significant difference. It is suggested that overall fishing efficiencies are leveled out in the long run by the fishermen who disperse their effort to different strategies and cooperate in using a small fishing ground so as not to reduce efficiencies. In group fishing, a social factor based on kinship ties is also important, although it may not be directly relevant to the optimization of fishing efficiency.

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pp. 49-88

Fishing Life in the Bangweulu Swamps: A Socio-Ecological Study of the Swamp Fishermen in Zambia

Ichiro IMAI
(Reseach Affiliates of I.A.S.)
The Institute for African Studies, University of Zambia
Hirosaki University

   The swamp fishermen enter into the Bangweulu swamps from their main village out of the swamps in the dry season when the water level decreases. They aim at selling their catch to the markets in Copperbelt cities. In this paper, fishing methods used by them are described, and the catch by each method are analyzed. The swamp fishermen carry their fishing not only in the daytime, but also engage in night fishing, by which they can get nocturnal fishes effectively. They form the production units called nsanga mainly through their affinity for fishing and selling their catch. The fishing methods selected by them differ from nsanga to nsanga in a fishing camp, accordingly, the fishing period, time and caught species also vary. Such utilization of the swamps can be regarded as a segregation among the swamp fishermen.

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pp. 89-101

A Comparative Study on the Barter Markets of the Upper Zaïre River

(Associé de recherche d'I.R.S.)
Institut de Recherche Scientifique, République du Zaïre
Yamaguchi University

   An extensive survey of economic anthropology was made along the upper Zaire River. The author found forty-two periodic markets, thirty of which practiced direct barter of fish and farm produce. These barter markets had varied methods of barter and management, and the author compared the results with those of an intensive study on the Songola carried out in 1979 and 1980. Although many of the barter markets were in the process of transformation, a few of them have institutionalized a defense mechanism against cash use, and two of them revived in 1983. The results verified some of the hypotheses obtained through the study of the Songola economy: barter markets in the region are traditional and they have survived the period of colonization. Under today's severe inflation, barter is sometimes more efficient than the use of cash.

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pp. 103-120

Variation and Composition Principles of the Residence Group (Band) of the Mbuti Pygmies -beyond a typical/atypical dichotomy

(Associé de recherche d'I.R.S.)
Institut de Recherche Scientifique, République du Zaïre
Fukui University

   1) Two models concerning the residence group (or band) of the Mbuti Pygmies, a territorial model and a patrilocal model, which have been presented so far to explain the general patterns of the Mbuti socio-residential arrangements, are criticised, since both of them take little account of the complicated backgrounds of Mbuti subsistence, and thus have too narrow a view of the variation of the Mbuti's residence group. 2) The variation of the residence group is analysed referring to its socio-economic background, and it is concluded that the small- or large-sized groups that have been regarded atypical so far become worth consideration when we take a wider view of the Mbuti's subsistence, and to fail to do so would be to greatly oversimplify our observations of their life-style. 3) The composition structure of the residence group which intrinsically contains flexibility is analysed. Three social relations, i.e. ácu, bódé and ádi (patrilateral kinship, affinal relation, and matrilateral kinship, respectively), connect the members of the residence group with one another and thus make up the residence group which is characterized by cooperation and generalized reciprocity among the members. Although the ácu is most dominant relationship, other two categories play no little part, entitling the Mbuti to stay with their affines or maternal kindred freely. This gives definite flexibility to the composition of the Mbuti's residence group. 4) The seeming applicability of the patrilocal band model is discussed. It is suggested that the symbiotic relationship between the Mbuti and the neighboring farmers is one of the effective causes of the tendency of patrilineal and partilocal grouping of the Mbuti.

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