Culture lesson from Uncle Bob

The Fulani, or Fulbe, or Fula, or Pullo, or Pel, or Peulh, or Futafula people are a lighter-skinned (non-Bantu), traditionally cattle-herding (thus semi-nomadic), culturally Muslim people group spread across West Africa from Senegal to Cameroon. Their language is called Fulfulde.

That's how they're usually described--with such a list of names. Curiousity piqued, during World Team conference I asked the man who works with said people to explain what the names are all about.

Simple, he said. Fulani is the Hausa (majority ethnic group and trade language of Nigeria) word for the people who call themselves the Fulbe. One person is a Fula. What does "Fulbe" mean? "The people."

Reminds me of North American Aboriginal groups who are often known popularly by other tribes' name for them. Example: "Eskimo" scornfully named "eaters of raw meat" by a neighbouring Alonquian (I believe) tribe . Their name for themselves, of course, is "The people."


Anonymous said…
Do any of your Fulfulde speaking (another name! but that's specifically for the language of the Fulani in some areas - in others it's called Pulaar 'cos the real singular of Fulbe is Pullo!!) friends want a free paper (Badake) in that language?

Have a good day, Jane

Popular Posts