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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Warning about Imminent Calamity in Colonial French West Africa: The Chain Letter as Historical Source
Author:Soares, Benjamin F.
Periodical:Sudanic Africa
Geographic terms:French-speaking Africa
West Africa
historical sources
letters (form)
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:This article examines the chain letter as a historical source in colonial French West Africa. Point of departure is the chain letter in Arabic, which Africans have either produced themselves or reproduced, circulated, discussed and commented upon. The author focuses on one such chain letter addressed to all Muslims that was circulating in 1913 in Haut-Sénégal-Niger in areas of what is present-day western Mali. Like many chain letters, this particular one offered a warning about imminent calamity. The author suggests that such letters offer important insight into how some Muslims were grappling with the complex changes that accompanied the French conquest and the onset of colonial rule in West Africa. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]