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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Mortuary Sphere, Privilege and the Politics of Belonging in Contemporary Cameroon
Author:Jua, Nantang B.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Cameroon
Politics and Government
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:Cultural practices in the mortuary sphere in Cameroon are increasingly questioned by individuals enmeshed in a monetary economy. State involvement in the debate has complicated rather than enabled its resolution. Centre stage in the debate are conflicting and contradictory claims over the ownership of the corpse and the space in which it is buried. Death unleashes a myriad of issues such as the consequences of intermarriages among tribes and races, the nature of the body as material property, the appropriate authority of 'custom' and 'tradition', and the relative standing of customary and statutory law. This paper examines how some of these issues are played out through the prism of the burial of four 'big men' - H.P.P.W. Emah Ottou, Mongo Beti, Francis Bebey, and Colonel Samuel Teyang. It also examines, though cursorily, the cases of some 'small men'. The cases show that death and burial enable an opportunistic transformation of tradition and the opportunistic appropriation of the dead by the State, tribe and clan. Death, though a private affair, has now been thrust into the public space. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [ASC Leiden abstract]