TheMouride brotherhood has by now become the subject of an abundant literature, sociological and other, since its foundation in the 1880s (notably Paul Marty 1913, L. Nekkach 1952, V. Monteil 1962, Shaikh Tidiane Sy 1969, J. Copans et al. 1972, F. Dumont 1975, Donal Cruise O'Brien 1971, 1975) (1). Looking over this literature today, one is impressed by the remarkable resilience and versatility of this holy organization: charismatic community and vehicle of a variant of ‘sacred nationalism’ (1886-), instrument of a massive land settlement (1912-), and of electoral brokerage in national party politics (1951–1966). This is only to mention some of the principal functions which the observers have discerned over the years, leaving aside the theological-didactic mission which the brotherhood's members (both leaders and followers) tend above all to emphasize. Yet for this writer, on the basis of field research in 1966–67, the Mouride success story seemed to be near its close (Marty more than half a century before had reached a similar verdict): but now, after renewed fieldwork in 1975 (2), it would appear that the brotherhood (with a new, younger and more vigorous leader) has made a new and unforeseen departure which invalidates recent premonitions of its imminent demise. Writing in 1970, I had been careful in concluding a book on the subject to cover every apparently foreseeable future trend but had not foreseen the major subsequent development, that the brotherhood would emerge as a (curious and perhaps slightly ambivalent) form of peasants' trade union. Experience showed that the great holy men (shuyukh, marabouts, saints) could be successful estate managers, political brokers, even capitalists, but union bosses!—that last can be explained now, but to me at least the causes have become obvious only after the event.