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DVD / video DVD / video Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Dokwaza: last of the African iron masters
Editors:David, NicISNI
Le Bleis, YvesISNI
City of publisher:Calgary
Publisher:University of Calgary
Geographic term:Cameroon
Subjects:iron forging
anthropological films (form)
videos (form)
External link:https://youtu.be/9yxdUwDe1JM
Abstract:This is the first of three films on the relationship of African material culture to its larger sociocultural context made between 1986 and 2010 as a part of the Mandara (Ethno)archaeological Project. Iron metallurgy began to transform the societies of sub-Saharan Africa over 2,500 years ago, but locally smelted bloomery iron has now been everywhere replaced by industrially produced stock. Traditional smelting is a complex process combining science and ritual that was disappearing just as it became feasible to capture it on visual media. This video therefore provides a rare record of a technology whose time has passed, and the reenactment of a smelt by iron workers of the Mafa ethnic group shows a furnace type and a process that are unique to a part of the northern Cameroon and Nigerian border area. Presented in three sequences, Dokwaza is first introduced as we follow the building of the furnace and bellows. Then charcoal and bellows skins are prepared. and the iron master demonstrates how ore is gathered and cleaned. The second sequence follows the long day of the smelt, as the furnace is charged with ore and charcoal, sacrifice made, and, after frenzied working of the bellows accompanied by music and song, a bloom mass is removed from the shaft. The third sequence takes place in the forge and shows the fining of the metal produced and its forging into a traditional hoe.