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Diary Evidence for Political Competition: Mambila Autoethnography and Pretensions to Power

  • David Zeitlyn

An examination of personal diaries kept by Mambila people in Somié village, Cameroon, shows that everyday occurrences and small events, whose importance may have been overlooked at the time and which were forgotten soon after they took place, can be understood, in retrospect, as part of a larger struggle for power in a small Cameroonian chieftancy. This article examines the written accounts of some of these events in the context of diary narratives about community disputes, and it provides a model for the use of diaries and other personal records to illuminate the complexity of decision-making processes in the wider African context.


Un examen du journal du peuple Mambila du village Somié montre que les évènements anodins de chaque jour, dont l'importance ne semblait pas grande sur le moment, et qui ont été depuis oubliés, peuvent être considérés rétrospectivement comment parties intégrantes d'une lutte de pouvoir plus large au sein d'une tribu camerounaise. Cet article examine les rapports écrits de certains de ces evenements dans le contexte d'autres narrations journalières sur des tensions communautaires, et il offre un modele pour l'utilisation des carnetsjournaliers et autres écrits personnels dans la mise en lumière de la complexite des prises de decision au niveau plus large du contexte africain.

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African Studies Review
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