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Book chapter Book chapter
Title:We attend but no longer dance: Changes in Mafa funeral practices due to Islamization
Author:Santen, J.C.M. vanISNI
Book title:Mort et rites funéraires dans le bassin du lac Tchad
Editors:Baroin, C.
City of publisher:Paris
Publisher:Éditions de l'ORSTOM
Geographic term:Cameroon
rituals & festivals
Abstract:This chapter deals with the funeral practices of the Mafa of the Mandara mountains of North Cameroon and changes taking place in these practices as a result of Islamization. The author describes a traditional Mafa funeral and the main rites associated with it: rites of separation, rites of transition, rites of reintegration, and the end of the mourning period. She then outlines religious notions of life and death within the Islamic community and indicates the differences between Mafa and Islamic ideology. While the Mafa see life and death as a circular process, the Islamic view of life and the afterlife is linear. With the influence of Islam, the role of the ancestors in Mafa funeral practices has diminished and the intermediary function of the small gods has disappeared. Altogether, funeral rites are now less complicated and more sober in character.