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Faly aux vazaha: Eugène Bastard, Taboo, and Mahafale Autarky in Southwest Madagascar, 1899*

  • Jeffrey C. Kaufmann (a1)
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This paper examines a transformation in Mahafale relations with the French at the end of the nineteenth century. The study is based on an analysis of Eugène Bastard's published accounts of his travels among the northern Mahafale, a remnant of the Maroseraña dynasty, in 1899. Rather than disregard Bastard as a mere colonial propagandist, which he was in part, it is worth considering him as a potential source on Mahafale history and ethnography at the beginning of the colonial period. Of central interest is his account of transgressing an old taboo, faly aux vazaha, that had kept all Mahafale territories except the coastal “exterior” closed to Europeans for generations.

Removing this idea of “tabooed white foreigners,” which Bastard thought would ease Mahafale submission to the French, was not as easy as he assumed. Each “headman” in the region, and there were many, could negotiate his own position toward this taboo. Moreover, faly aux vazaha was deeply rooted in the structure of Mahafale society, connected with group identity and an ideal of autarky or independence from others. Tampering with this taboo, this vehicle of resistance to external power, heaped new problems on the French. The more militant Mahafale responded with armed resistance, which continued until the French, using biological warfare, finally subdued the last pockets of resistance around 1930. Although Bastard oversimplified the meaning of this taboo and its removal, his reports show Mahafale actors struggling with a central part of their social structure during a turbulent historical period.

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*

I am grateful to Henry Delcore, Karl Eggert, and Maria Moreno for commenting on an earlier draft. Karl Eggert took time to correspond about various ideas. Where I have not followed their suggestions, the responsibility is mine alone. I also thank Annie Philippe Rabodoarimiadana for checking the most difficult translations. The University of Wisconsin Memorial Library interlibrary loan staff, especially Judy Tuohy, kindly located most of the materials used here.

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1 Exploration au sud de l'Onilahy,” Notes, Reconnaissances et Explorations, 3/9 (1899), 351–59; Mission chez les Mahafalys: deuxième voyage,” Notes, Reconnaissances et Explorations, 3/12 (1899), 489505, with itinerary maps; Mission chez les Mahafalys,” Revue de Madagascar, 2/11 (1900), 697–711; 2/12 (1900), 773–90; 3/1 (1901), 1–27; Lettre datée de Tuléar le 14 juillet 1899 [Le pays mahafaly],” Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (novembre 1899), 323–24; Lettre datée d'Ambolisatra le 20 décembre 1899 [Découverte d'ossements fossiles],” Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (6 février 1900), 6465.Revue de Madagascar was the main vehicle of colonial propaganda. See also Poisson, H., Eugène Bastard: naturaliste et administrateur colonial, 1865–1910) (Tananarive, 1940).

2 Not since Robert Drury's account of his fifteen-year enslavement in the south and southwest, nearly two hundred years previously, were so many pages devoted to the Mahafale. Cf. Drury, Robert, Madagascar: or Robert Drury's Journal, During Fifteen Years Captivity on that Island (London, 1890 [1729]). Bastard had read Drury, found him “a bit fantastic,” and lumped his book among the “piles of histories and legends” written by traders (“Mission,” 698). For a more favorable view see Pearson, Mike Parker, “Reassessing Robert Drury's Journal as a Historical Source for Southern Madagascar,” HA 23 (1996), 233–56. Moreover, Bastard's total output on the Mahafale, seventy-nine pages, outdid Grandidier's effort by this time. See Grandidier, Guillaume, “Moeurs des Mahafaly,” Revue de Madagascar, 1/9 (1899), 175–85.

3 Bastard used the Merina spelling fady instead of the Mahafale faly. I assume he heard the latter word for “taboo” and changed its spelling to fit the “official” written Malagasy language started by London Missionary Society linguists. I will consistently use the local spelling here. See also “Moeurs des Mahafaly,” 177; idem, “A Madagascar: anciennes croyances et coutumes,” Journal de la Société des Africanistes, 2 (1932), 153–207, esp. 172–73; Buhrer, Lt., “Le pays mahafaly,” La Géographie, 22/6 (1910), 377–88, esp. 388; cf. Esoavelomandroso, Faranirana, “Langue, culture et colonisation à Madagascar: Malgache et Français dans l'enseignement officiel (1916–1940),” Omaly sy Anio, 3–4 (1976), 105–65, esp. 113–14.

4 Although Bastard and many other colonial writers used “roi” and “chef” interchangeably, I use “headman” which seems more accurate than “king.” Leadership skills, such as public speaking and negotiation, seemed to bring one more social power than an ascribed “royal” social status—assuming that mpanjaka, or roandria in many southern dialects, had any meaning at all at this time. Dropping “king” from the picture avoids the confusing position Bastard found himself in: he continued to assign the label “king” to several leaders, then pointed out that they had very little authority. The headmen's behavior toward Bastard “actually becomes even more comprehensible when it is interpreted in the context of segmentary lineages and clans, hazomanga, generational kinship patterns, individual achievement and not kingship” (Karl Eggert, communication with the author [1999]). Yet to purge forever this term from the Mahafale literature, which Eggert feels should be done, would require additional research and argumentation beyond this paper.

5 His first mission sought to explore the island from the point of view of natural history. In 1896 he began his paleontological research in the northwest in Boina. He continued southward through Sakalava territory and in October explored the massive fertile Mangoky Valley, then crossed the Fiherenana region north of Toliara (Toliary or Tuléar). In the beginning of 1897 he explored the inland region north of the Onilahy river and east of Toliara, in Bara Imamono territory. In August 1897 he set out on the final leg of this mission from the bay of Saint-Augustin, on the mouth of the Onilahy, just south of Toliara, on a northeastward trajectory, and arrived in the northeastern coastal town of Toamasina (or Tamatave) in February 1898. See his Moeurs sakalaves: cérémonies funèbres,” A travers le monde, 3/4 (1897), 121–24; De la baie de Saint-Augustin à Midongy,” Colonie de Madagascar. Notes, Reconnaissances et Explorations, 2/1 (1898), 8591; Voyage chez les Sakalavas du sud-ouest et chez les Baras,” Comptes rendus des séances de la Société de Géographie et de la commission centrale, 6 (1898), 275–81; Quelques mots sur une mission à Madagascar,” Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 6 (1898), 248–51; Voyage dans la vallée du Bas Mangoky et à travers le Fiherenana, 10 (1896),” Bulletin du Comité de Madagascar, 9 (1898), 433–41; 11 (1898), 536–48; 1 (1899), 5–14; 6 (1899), 257–64.

6 Bastard had returned to France on doctor's orders to recuperate from malaria. See, “Quelques mots,” 250.

7 I use the ethnonym “Mahafale” (sometimes “Mahafaly”), which was largely a foreign construction, to refer to both a group of people and a geographical space. For critiques of this ethnonym see Eggert, KarlMahafaly as Misnomer,” in Kottak, C.et al., eds. Madagascar: Society and History (Durham, 1986), 321–35; Esoavelomandroso, ManasséUne arme de domination: le ‘tribalisme’ à Madagascar,” in Chrétien, J.-P. and Prunier, G., eds., Les ethnies ont une histoire (Paris, 1989), 259–66.

8 “Exploration,” 351.

9 The General and he agreed that the best way to show the Mahafale that this was a peace-seeking mission was for Bastard to travel without official escort. As he had done in 1897, to cap his first mission in Madagascar, when he traveled northeastward 1300 kilometers, half of which among “tribes in revolt and in war” against the French, he would travel “alone” and rely more on kabary or negotiations than on force. See “Mission,” 4n1. Summarizing his first mission, Bastard noted that he armed his gun porters. They did not fire a shot, but he shot in the air several times. Cf. “Mission,” 701. At the beginning of the three-part series he explained that his experiences among Sakalava, Bara, and other people of the southwest, gave him an understanding of “their character and their morals,” which was different from their “ungrateful and harmful” first impression.

10 See “Exploration” and “Mission” (parts 1 and 2). I am counting only the days he was in Mahafale territory, i.e., south of the Onilahy.

11 See “Mission” (1899) and “Mission” (1901) (part 3).

12 Grandidier, Guillaume, “Madagascar: Voyage de M. Bastard chez les Mahafaly,” La Géographie (1900), 160–61 and itinerary map. See “Mission,” 28, where Bastard published Pennequin's congratulation letter to him for the “successful” Mahafale mission.

13 Cf. Barrett-Gaines, Kathryn, “Travel Writing, Experiences, and Silences: What Is Left out of European Travelers' Accounts—The Case of Richard D. Mohun,” HA, 24 (1997), 5370.

14 “Mission,” 704.

15 “Mission,” 496, 499.

16 “Mission,” 18. The Mahafale apparently did not see him as such as he was not tabooed and was allowed to work in their territory before he began working for Bastard.

17 See his Les mémoires d'un roi Bara,” Revue de Madagascar, 6/11 (1904), 385407; 6/12 (1904), 495–508; 7/3 (1905), 232–46; 7/4 (1905), 321–54; Ianapaka, chef Bara,” Revue de Madagascar, 9/6 (1907), 269–81; 9/7 (1907), 317–27. See also the note by Lemoine, Frédéric in La Géographie (15 décembre 1904), 405–06.

18 Around mid-century the elder Grandidier, Alfred, had made excursions along the southwest coast with the Mahafale headman Rafiay but failed to explore inland. Somewhat later, in June 1891, he sent Estèbe, the vice-president of Nosy Ve, to explore lake Tsimanampetsotsa, an inland salt water lake with few inhabitants other than flamingos and lemurs. “Guided by a chef of the village of Anakao and accompanied by César Pépin, Soulange Tiverné and an interpreter, after a few kilometers from the coast, he reached the edge of the lake but then had to make a hurried retreat after his interpreter was killed by gunfire” (“Mission,” 699). His son Guillaume Grandidier also mentioned Estèbe's failed expedition in Une mission dans la région australe de Madagascar en 1901,” La Géographie, 6/7 (1902), 6. Near the end of the century, Guillaume fared little better. Intending to cross the Mahafale interior, he found the region in a “state of turmoil and rebellion” and had to settle for following the northern limit of their territory, the Onilahy river, making only short excursions to the interior. He ended his brief account in frustration (“Moeurs,” 185). “In a word, the Mahafaly are superstitious and distrustful; which, beyond physical obstacles, has prevented, up to now, our penetration into their country and will continue to prevent us from exploiting the region's rubber and cattle.” Of the traders' accounts, Bastard, (“Mission,” 698–99) recounts the adventure of a certain Mr. T:

19 Yet he too contributed to the warlike, cruel, and superstitious stereotype. See, for example, “Mission,” 504: “The Mahafaly is deceitful, a plunderer of the soul, probably a little courageous and above all a beggar. Only having relationships with traders, Mahafaly habitually make them pay a small ransom and actually they have the bizarre idea of vazaha being exploitable without measure.”

20 Andrianjafy-Ratsiorimihamina, Danielle, “Entre la Réalité Malgache et le Public Français: Eugène Bastard et sa ‘Mission chez les Mahafalys (1899)’,” Etüdes Océan Indien, 4 (1984), 1737.

21 Joubert, J.L., “Une île imaginaire, Madagascar vu par les Européens,” L'Afrique littéraire et artistique, 34/12 (1974), 213; Lebel, R., Histoire de la littérature coloniale en France (Paris, 1931). Joubert's argument is particularly challenging. See, for example (ibid., 4): “The Occident's discourse on Madagascar aims to dispossess the Malagasy of themselves. It concerns denying their autonomy and scrambling their voice. … In the European imagery—colonial mirages, volumptuous mythologies of the happy island, delirious rationalizations, racist ideologies, etc.—the Malagasy can be only objects, frozen [figés] in their role of colonized, decorative elements, puppets or masks on which Westerners project their chimeras. For Europe to recognize Malagasy existence it is necessary and sufficient that Madagascar not be Madagascar and that the Malagasy no longer be Malagasy but a reflective mirror of the fascinating image of forbidden dreams. Exoticism is merely the reverse of ethnocentrism.” See also Gillian Feeley-Harnik, “‘Land of the Man-Eating Tree’: Political Botany in Madagascar,” Ethnohistory, forthcoming.

22 Andrianjafy-Ratsiorimihamina, , “Réalité Malgache,” 3334.

23 Numerous examples support the view that Bastard's colonial imagination tainted this portrait of Mahafale people. One of the most offensive examples is his use of a buffoon figure at opportune times. He gives this role to a Mahafale headman, Tsimamo, meaning “Not drunk,” who as Bastard's puppet repeats throughout the work (“Mission,” 707, 774, 790) the drunken phrase “ah le bon vazaha.” Bastard states explicitly (ibid., 790) that Tsimamo is a tool: “That I had not again with me Tsymamo! for advancing his compliments: ‘ah the good white stranger’!” “Tsymamo … was not at fault for playing noisily his usual comedic enthusiasm and eulogies on my behalf” (ibid., 782). Or his contempt for women (including his Mahafale lover “sweet Rengasiko who would wash my linen and stuff my pipe” [ibid., 703]): “A large, fat, heavy mother rushed up to me, offering her hand; her other arm held a youngster clinging to her back, howling and shaken by the hard trot of its mummy. ‘Yes, my old maid: Hello! How are you!’ and I squeeze her hand, and I shake familiarly her fat shaking breasts …” (ibid., 9).

24 See Stoler, Anne and Cooper, Fred, “Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda,” in Cooper, F. and Stoler, A.L., eds., Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley, 1997), 156.

25 I owe this point to A.M. Khazanov, who made it in a different context. See Jeffrey C. Kaufmann, “Pastoral Nomads and Anthropology: An Interview with Anatoly M. Khazanov,” Nomadic Peoples, forthcoming.

26 If they truly represented his knowledge of the Mahafale, he could not have completed the mission and perhaps could not have survived the trip.

27 Malagasy writers have considered at least three etymologies of “vazaha,” with “zaha” or nowadays “zahana” (the Merina or “official” dialect's suffix -na added to zaha) the root—a passive verb meaning “to be examined, scrutinized, or explored.” One analysis concludes that the word originated as a joint product of Malagasy and Europeans. This view assumes early European explorers knew some Malagasy (Merina dialect) and were able to answer the question “Where did you come from?” (Avy aiza hianareo) with “We come from exploring the land” (Avy hizaha tany izahay). Their Malagasy interlocutors then referred to them as “Those who come from exploring” (Ny avy hizaha). Eventually, as a function of the Malagasy language's “blending” or shortening of some words, all that remained was “vazaha.” See Ntaolo, , “Ny Niandohan'ny Anarana Hoe: Vazaha” (The Source of the Name: Vazaha) Vaovao Frantsay-Malagasy, 138 (1899), 552. The other analysis applies this word shortening function to a Malagasy speech act. In this view, Malagasy-speakers talking to one another about the strangers in their midst, invented the word. One asks, “Have you seen the astonishing white visitors?” (Mba efa nahita ny vahiny olona fotsy mahagaga moa hianareo?). To which the other answered, “Yes we have already seen them” (Eny efa voazahanay izy). Voazaha, already a word in the language—voa- prefix of a completed action and zaha—becomes, therefore, vazaha with the “o” removed. See Ntaolo, , “Ny Niandohan'ny,” 552, and Rabenjamina, , “Ny hoe: Vazaha?” (The name: Vazaha?), Isan'andro, 2099/9 (1949), 2. Rabenjamina documents an oral history of an Arab merchant who sold bottles in Dilambato during the reign of Ralambo (ca. 1575–1610) who, according to Rabenjamina, was the first to be called vazaha: “Vazaha, hono, ny anaran'ireo Arabo-Talaotra ireo, ka teo Dilambato no nitrangan'ny anarana hoe: Vazaha.” Cf. Ralaivola, Clovis, “Notes de philologie—Considérations étymologiques sur les mots: Zanahary, Dieu créateur; Vazaha, Européen; Vazimba, les protomalgaches,” Bulletin de Madagascar, 18/272 (1969), 87, who argues that in “officiai” Malagasy vazaha means strange person—prefix: VA, stranger; root: Za (ha), person. For a brief discussion of the contemporary meanings of vazaha see Kaufmann, Jeffrey C., “Archival Research in Antananarivo, Madagascar: The National Archives,” HA, 24 (1997), 413–29, esp. 428.

28 Lambek, MichaelTaboo as Cultural Practice among Malagasy Speakers,” Man n.s., 1 (1992), 245–66.

29 Ibid., 246.

30 van Gennep, A., Tabou et Totémisme à Madagascar: Étude Descriptive et Théorique (Paris, 1904), 23, cited in Lambek, , “Taboo,” 260.

31 For discussions of hasina among the Merina see Berg, G. M.Virtù and Fortuna in Radama's Nascent Bureaucracy,” HA, 23 (1996), 2974; idem., “Radama's Smile: Domestic Challenges to Royal Ideology in Early Nineteenth-Century Imerina,” HA, 25 (1998), 69–92.

32 Lambek, , “Taboo,” 247.

33 I learned during my fieldwork (1987–88, 1989, 1996–97) that vazaha are still considered dangerous. The communities I stayed in—one among the northern Mahafale (former Onilahy territory) and one among southern Mahafale (former Uinta territory)—carefully controlled my movements and knew my whereabouts at all times. I could not leave the villages or cattle camps on my own, for example, but was required to take a guide with me at all times. They explained that this was for my own protection as I might meet other Mahafale, unlike themselves, who were unaccustomed to finding a vazaha in their midst and may react violently. This is connected to the fact that vazaha are considered so strange that their other name is biby, animal. See Decary, Raymond, Contes et Légendes du Sud-Ouest de Madagascar (Paris, 1964), 44n3: “Biby, nom générique des animaux, et, par extension, tout être étrange, singulier et même plus ou moins dangereux.”

34 I have chosen not to translate this term, when it occurs in Bastard, as “indigenous people,” which is in current usage nowadays, but leave the original sense intact.

35 “Mission,” 504.

36 Esoavelomandroso, Manassé, “La cohesion sociale dans le mahafale à la fin du XIXe siècle,” Aombe: Cohesion sociale, modernite et pression demographique: l'exemple du Mahafale, 3 (1991), 27–40, esp. 3233. Esoavelomandroso writes about raza as a collective ideology, a shared point of view on how to live in the Mahafale region, among both the living and their predecessors. Another raza has a different collective ideology. See also idem., “Territoires et Troupeaux des Temitongoa,” Histoire et organisation de l'espace à Madagascar, Cahiers du C.R.A. 7 (Paris, 1989), 47–56. For a different discussion of ancestors see Feeley-Harnik, Gillian, “Divine Kingship and the Meaning of History among the Sakalava of Madagascar,” Man n.s., 13 (1978), 402–17, esp. 408: “Likewise, not all a person's dead ascendants are propitiated as ‘ancestors,’ only those ascendants who held important positions of authority in life, or, at the very least, attained the status of childbearing adults… The fact of having ‘ancestors,’ not merely dead forebears, is the paramount sign of authority among the living. … They are the symbol of legitimate rule and are also conceived in part as ‘medicines’ that protect the kingdom from the illegitimate encroachments of others…”

37 This has an implication on contemporary population studies on Madagascar, viz., the desire to produce more children existed before colonial pressures to produce more wage earners. Cf. Feeley-Harnik, Gillian, “Plants and People, Children or Wealth: Shifting Grounds of “Choice” in Madagascar,” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 18/2 (1995), 4564.

38 Lambek, , “Taboo,” 250.

39 According to Rajemisa-Raolison, Régis, Rakibolana Malagasy [Malagasy Dictionary] (Fianarantsoa, 1985), 818, ranovory is a Betsileo word. Bastard's porters may then have been Betsileo. Or it may have been a word that he learned from his earlier travels north of the Onilahy with 30 Betsileo porters.

40 Bastard gives both 1889 and 1892 as the year of his death. Cf. Bernard, Alain, Essai sur la Transition de la Société Mahafaly vers les Rapports Marchands (Paris, 1978), 40. Proper names in Mahafale dialects have “respect” prefixes. Names for men begin with an “E”—a “long a” sound—whereas names for women begin with an “I”—a “long e.” Thus Lahintafika should be written Elahintafika. But for the sake of consistency with Bastard's texts, I will not follow this convention.

41 “Mission,” 12–13, 494.

42 Cf. Kent, Raymond, Early Kingdoms in Madagascar, 1500–1700 (New York, 1970) and Grandidier, Alfred, Ethnographie de Madagascar, 1/1 (Paris, 1908). After the Maroseraña breakup, the branch that went north to found new Maroseraña dynasties among the Sakalava became far more powerful than the Maroseraña remnant among the Mahafale.

43 Esoavelomandroso, , “Cohesion sociale,” 38.

44 Feeley-Harnik, Gillian, “The Political Economy of Death: Communication and Change in Malagasy Colonial History,” American Ethnologist, 11 (1984), 119.

45 Esoavelomandroso, , “Cohesion sociale,” 35. Cf. Deschamps, Hubert, Histoire de Madagascar (Paris, 1965), 196: “One of these coral islets. Nosy Ve, became a refuge for European shops. Vice-resident Campan arrived in 1885 and did not cease to pity the insecurity of the coast.” Since vazaha were taboo in the Mahafale interior, this made the Mahafale need their coastal neighbors who lived on the ocean's edge. Vezo and Sara fishers could provide a buffer between Mahafale and vazaha traders. This does not imply that the Mahafale enjoyed real autarky. The rubber and cattle trades suggest they needed a relationship with the vazaha. But they kept that relationship at arms length, so to speak, not allowing vazaha to trade directly in the interior.

46 “Mission,” 697.

47 Ibid., 699.

48 Ibid.

49 Bastard set up the meeting by sending presents, including a rifle and ammunition, to Refotaka. See “Mission,” 707.

50 Ibid., 711; an abbreviated version of this first meeting is in “Exploration,” 353.

51 Bastard wrote “mon pays est faly aux blancs,” which is confusing because the headman, not whites, has the taboo. Most of the time he confused to whom the taboo applied. For example, in his first report on the second expedition (“Mission,” 489), he wrote “que le pays mahafaly était faly pour les vazaha”—that the mahafaly country was taboo for the vazaha. But this makes no sense. Would vazaha fall ill as soon as they transgressed that taboo? No. He gets it right later (“Mission,” 500, 23), when he writes “le blanc est faly pour le pays”—the white is faly for the country—and this version or the shortened “tabooed vazaha” or “vazaha-taboo” are the versions I adopt throughout this paper.

52 “Exploration,” 353.

53 “Mission,” 782.

54 They may even have been the most willing to establish relations with the French, who had already established some degree of patron-client relationship among Mahafale living near Nosy Ve, Tongobory, and Sakamarê.

55 Esoavelomandroso, , “Cohesion sociale,” 3940.

56 Bastard was already a blood brother with Lahimanjaka, a Tanosy headman north of the Onilahy. See “Mission,” 708.

57 “Mission,” 773–74.

58 See “Exploration,” 358.

59 Bastard omitted the fatidra ritual with Refotaka from his “Exploration” article in Notes, reconnaissances et explorations. It appeared only in “Mission,” 774–76.

60 Cf. Decary, Raymond, Moeurs et coutumes des Malgaches (Payot, 1951), 48.

61 See Ruud, Jørgen, Taboo: A Study of Malagasy Customs and Beliefs (Oslo, 1960), 276–79. If a stranger becomes a blood brother with a Malagasy, this lifts the “stranger-taboo.” “He is no longer regarded as a stranger, but as a brother. But if no such union takes place, the taboos work as long as he is there. When he leaves, the taboos are lifted, so that the dangerous and mystic influence of the stranger is gone.”

62 “Mission,” 777.

63 Ibid., 778.

64 His first trip to Manera, 2 June 1899, is found in “Mission,” 778–82, with a shortened version in “Exploration,” 354–55.

65 Tsitame's actions show that even among the headmen along the Onilahy, the majority of whom were favorable to the colonialists and expected to profit from the trade at Tongobory and Sakamarè, there were dissenters.

66 Jeffrey C. Kaufmann, Androka Vaovao fieldnotes (1997).

67 See, for example, Decary, Raymond, “La question des Raiketa dans l'extrême sud de Madagascar,” Bulletin Economique de Madagascar et Dependances, 1 (1927), 9296. See also Kaufmann, Jeffrey C., “The Cactus Was Our Kin: Pastoralism in the Spiny Desert of Southern Madagascar” in Changing Nomads in a Changing World, Ginat, J. and Khazanov, A. M. eds., (Brighton, 1998), 124–42; idem., “Raketa: The Life History of a Malagasy Fodder,” forthcoming; idem., “The Social Life of Cactus in Southern Madagascar,” forthcoming; Middleton, Karen, “Circumcision, Death, and Strangers,” Special Issue, Middleton, Karen ed., Journal of Religion in Africa, 27 (1997), 341–73 esp. 352–57.

68 His account of his first stay in Manera, 2–5 June, is in “Mission,” 782–84.

69 “Mission,” 19–20. He wrote down this analogy toward the end of his second Mahafale mission, when he was at Tsiverenga's capital. Bastard exaggerated the scope of French domination over the island. He omitted Karembola and Tandroy resisters, east of Mahafale in the far south, and Tanala and others north of Taolañaro (Fort Dauphin) and east of Betroka and Fianarantsoa, who also had yet not submitted to the French.

70 “Mission,” 783.

71 “Mission,” 502.

72 Esoavelomandroso, , “Cohesion sociale,” 3738.

73 He alludes to this toward the beginning of “Mission,” 699: “… Mahafalys, who had been known to resist Hova [Merina] influence …”

74 Bernard, , Essai, 42.

75 “Mission,” 784.

76 His account of Miare is in ibid., 784–85.

77 This part of the mission was recounted in ibid., 786–87. A slightly longer description is in “Exploration,” 357–59.

78 “Mission,” 787.

79 Feeley-Harnik, , “Political Economy,” 67.

80 Bastard may have had a ruse of his own. By defining his mission in terms of this taboo, he exploited French ignorance of the Mahafale, and apparently fooled Pennequin into thinking that this taboo was the last barrier to conquering the Mahafale—for which he was rewarded.

81 “Mission,” 3. See also Toquenne, Capitaine, “Pourparlers avec Tsiamponde, chef d'une tribu mahafaly,” Notes, Reconnaissances et Explorations, 4/6 (1900), 239–43.

82 See Esoavelomandroso, , “Cohesion sociale,” 29.

83 “Mission,” 489.

84 Ibid., 490.

85 “Mission,” 6. This is a somewhat paranoid interpretation of hazomanga. The hazomanga fohe, the short hazomanga, is a pole erected for the celebration of the family—where blessings are requested from the ancestors and new members are initiated into the family. The hazomanga lava, the long hazomanga, celebrates the lineage. See Esoavelomandroso, , “Cohesion sociale,” 3132; Rabibisoa-Ravoay, Paul and Joelson, Gilbert, “Elements pour une meilleure approche de la signification du hazomanga en pays Mahafale,” Aombe: Cohesion sociale, modernite et pression demographique: l'exemple du Mahafale, 3 (1991), 4161; Jeanne Dina, “The Hazomanga among the Masikoro of Southwest Madagascar: Identity and History,” Ethnohistory, forthcoming.

86 “Mission,” 15.

87 The Ankazontaha fiasco is in “Mission,” 496–500, 15–22.

88 Bastard seemed confused about the motivation behind this man's warning. In his second report of this incident (“Mission,” 19) he said that it is to “revenge Refotaka for taking his woman.” But he does not mention revenge in his first report of this incident (“Mission,” 487–98). He also does not entertain the possiblity that this man was there to assist the headman's blood brother and spy on the expedition for Refotaka.

89 “Mission,” 19.

90 Ibid., 23–24.

91 Lyautey, Louis-Hubert, Dans le sud de Madagascar: pénétration militaire, situation politique et économique 1900–1902 (Paris, 1902).

92 Ibid., 46.

93 Ibid.

94 Ibid., 50.

95 Ibid., 46.

96 Ibid., 188.

97 Bernard, , Essai, 23.

98 Other Malagasy “subjects” also tended to move away from centralized authority. See Wilson, Peter, Freedom by a Hair's Breadth: Tsimihety in Madagascar (Ann Arbor, 1992).

99 See, for example, Decary, Raymond, “Le Coccus Cacti à Madagascar,” Bulletin Économique de Madagascar et Dependances, 22 (1925), 6162; de la Bâthie, Henri Terrier, “Introduction à Tananarive du “Coccus Cacti” ou cochenille du Figuier d'Inde,” Bulletin Économique de Madagascar et Dependances, 3/4 (1924), 222; idem., “Les pestes végétales à Madagascar,” Revue de Botanique Appliquée et d'Agriculture Coloniale, 8 (1928), 36–43; Petit, G., “Introduction à Madagascar de la Cochenille du Figuier d'Inde (Dactylopius Coccus Costa) et ses conséquences inattendues,” Revue d'Histoire Naturelle, 10 (1929), 160–73; Frappa, C., “Sur Dactylopius tomentosus Lam. et son acclimatement à Madagascar,” Revue de pathologie végétablc et d'entomologie agricole de France, 2 (1932), 4855; Jeffrey C. Kaufmann “L'éradication “involontaire” des raketa: The Death of a Plant, 1924–1930,” forthcoming.

100 See Jeffrey C. Kaufmann, “La question des raketa: Colonial Struggles with Malagasy Cactus, 1900–1923,” Ethnohistory, forthcoming.

101 See, for example, Whitehead, Neil L., “The Historical Anthropology of Text: The Interpretation of Ralegh's Discoverie of Guiana,” Current Anthropology 36/1 (1995), 5374.

* I am grateful to Henry Delcore, Karl Eggert, and Maria Moreno for commenting on an earlier draft. Karl Eggert took time to correspond about various ideas. Where I have not followed their suggestions, the responsibility is mine alone. I also thank Annie Philippe Rabodoarimiadana for checking the most difficult translations. The University of Wisconsin Memorial Library interlibrary loan staff, especially Judy Tuohy, kindly located most of the materials used here.

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History in Africa
  • ISSN: 0361-5413
  • EISSN: 1558-2744
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