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  • WALTER E. A. VAN BEEK (a1)

A rare document, the diary of a slave raider, offers a unique view into the sociopolitical situation at the turn of the nineteenth century in the colonial backwater of North Cameroon. The Fulbe chief in question, Hamman Yaji, not only kept a diary, but was by far the most notorious slave raider of the Mandara Mountains. This article supplements the data from his diary with oral histories and archival sources to follow the dynamics of the intense slave raiding he engaged in. This frenzy of slaving occurred in a ‘colonial interstice’ characterized by competition between three colonial powers – the British, the Germans and the French, resilient governing structures in a region poorly controlled by colonial powers, and the unclear boundaries of the Mandara Mountains. The dynamics of military technology and the economics of this ‘uncommon market’ in slaves form additional factors in this episode in the history of slavery in Africa. These factors account for the general situation of insecurity due to slave raiding in the area, to which Hamman Yaji was an exceptionally atrocious contributor. In the end a religious movement, Mahdism, stimulated the consolidation of colonial power, ending Yaji's regime, which in all its brutality provides surprising insight in the early colonial situation in this border region between Nigeria and Cameroon.

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I thank my colleagues Jan-Bart Gewald (African Studies Center) and Jan Jacobs (Tilburg University) for their valuable and constructive criticism on an earlier version of this article, as well as the anonymous reviewers for the Journal of African History. Research on the Kapsiki/Higi started in 1972–3, and proceeded with return visits every three to five years, the last one in January 2012. Grants from NWO/WOTRO, Utrecht University, the African Studies Center (Leiden), and Tilburg University are gratefully acknowledged.

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1 Lovejoy, P. E., Slavery, Commerce and Production in the Sokoto Caliphate of West Africa (Trenton, NJ, 2005), 291317; Anene, J. C., The International Boundaries of Nigeria, 1885–1960: The Framework of an Emergent African Nation (London, 1970).

2 Lovejoy, Slavery, 13–55.

3 Gemery, H. A. and Hogendorn, J. S. (eds.), The Uncommon Market: Essays in the Economic History of the Atlantic Slave Trade (New York, 1979).

4 Paul Lovejoy shows that the slave markets in Sokoto followed rules of differential demand (between male and female slaves): Lovejoy, Slavery, 81–115.

5 As collected by Judy Sterner, Jeanne-Francoise Vincent, José van Santen, Eldridge Mohammadou, and Godula Kosack. Many examples stem from my own fieldwork among the Kapsiki/Higi who straddle the border between the two countries.

6 On the integration of written with oral sources, see Law, R., Constructing the Pre-Colonial History of West Africa: Reflections on the Methodology of Oral and Written Historiography (Leiden, 1993); and Willis, J., ‘Feedback as a “problem” in oral history: an example from Bonde’, History in Africa, 20 (1993), 353–60.

7 Vaughan, J. H. and Kirk-Greene, A. H. M. (eds.), The Diary of Hamman Yaji: Chronicle of a West African Muslim Ruler (Bloomington, IN, 1995). The map below is adapted from this publication, p. xviii.

8 In fact only the translation is known, as the original manuscript has been lost. The translation is by L. N. Reed, made immediately after Hamman Yaji's arrest in 1927; see L. N. Reed, ‘Introduction’, in Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 46–8.

9 Kirk-Greene, A. H. M., Adamawa Past and Present: An Historical Approach to the Development of a Northern Cameroons Province (London, 1969), 4.

10 Kirk-Greene, A. H. M., ‘The view from Yola: 1927’, in Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 2241.

11 The best known example here is Sunjata Keita, the founder of the Mali empire, who is the subject of a whole industry of oral history production. For an analysis of how emotions solidify around such a legendary figure, see Jansen, J., ‘The intimacy of belonging: literacy and the experience of Sunjata in Mali’, History in Africa, 38 (2011), 103–22. For a small-scale case, see van Beek, W. E. A., ‘From ritual to performance – the dynamics of the Dogon baja ni’, in Merolla, D., Jansen, J., and Naït-Zerrad, K. (eds.), Multimedia Research and Documentation of Oral Genres in Africa: The Step Forward (Berlin, 2012), 2138.

12 van Santen, J. C., They Leave Their Jars Behind: The Conversion of Mafa Women to Islam (North Cameroon) (Leiden, 1993.) For the Mofu-Diamaré in the East, see Vincent, J.-F., ‘Eléments d'histoire des Mofu, montagnards du nord Cameroun’, in Tardits, Claude (ed.), Contribution de la recherche ethnologique à l'histoire des civilisations du Cameroun: Paris, 24–28 septembre 1973, Volume I (Paris, 1981), 273–95; and Vincent, J.-F., Princes montagnards du Nord-Cameroun, Tome I et II (Paris, 1991). For the Daba in the South, see Vorbrich, R., Daba – Górale Północnego Kamerunu: afrykańska gospodarka tradycyjna pod presją historii i warunków ekologicznych (Wrocław, 1989).

13 The interviews were conducted in Mogode in 1989. Vandu died in 1998. Behu and praw praw are Kapsiki idiophones for slitting a throat and tearing flesh from a carcass. Kapsiki language is rich in these descriptive sounds, which are used to enliven folk tales, but also these tales of terror and passion about the past.

14 Abubakar, S., The Lāmībe of Fombina: A Political History of Adamawa, 1809–1901 (Oxford, 1977).

15 Of the troops of Zubeiru, 424 were killed by the machine gun, but Zubeiru escaped. Zubeiru became a cult figure almost instantly: ‘There are, however, still Fulani in Yola who are convinced that … Zubeiru himself was mysteriously lifted to the skies in a thick protective mist sent by the guarding hand of Allah.’ Kirk-Greene, Adamawa, 63. On his death at the hands of the Lala, see German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 75/166-170, Bericht Gouverneur von Puttkamer an das Auswärtige Amt, 14 Oct. 1903; German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 72/142-3, Erläsz des Auswärtigen Amtes, 10 May 1903.

16 Oberleutnant Dominik, a central personage in the early history, wrote down his own recollections, independent of Yaji: see Dominik, H., Von Atlantik zum Tchadsee: Kriegs und Forschungsfahrten in Kamerun (Berlin, 1905).

17 Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 9; Kirk-Greene, Adamawa, 4.

18 Dominik, Atlantik, 210. Translation from the German by the author.

19 Mohammadou, E., Les Lamidats du Diamaré et du Mayo-Louti au XIXe siècle (Nord-Cameroun), (Tokyo, 1988), 282. Though brutal, this story does fit with the general picture of Dominik. In Dominik's account, the Germans had already left to pursue Zubeiru: Dominik, Atlantik, 211. He does not mention chopping off the head.

20 German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 120/199, Marsch Hauptmann Zimmerman Yola – Garua, May 1906. Translation from the German by the author.

21 Kanouri Archives, SNP 10/2 95p/1914, cited also in Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 14.

22 The term kirdi means ‘pagan’ in Wandala, and in the past has been widely used throughout the region for all non-Moslem groups. Presently it is considered a deprecatory term, usually replaced by ‘montagnard’.

23 Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 13.

24 Sterner, J., The Ways of the Mandara Mountains: A Comparative Regional Approach (Cologne, 2003).

25 Kirk-Greene, Adamawa, 75.

26 Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, xiv.

27 But not nearly in the same numbers: see van Beek, W. E. A., The Kapsiki of the Mandara Hills (Prospect Heights, IL, 1987).

28 The ‘witch’ was probably someone caught in performing beshèngu, harmful magic. Kamale is a Higi village. See van Beek, W. E. A., The Dancing Dead: Ritual and Religion among the Kapsiki/Higi of North Cameroon and Northeastern Nigeria (New York, 2012).

29 Lamido Haman Belo, who ruled till 1922, was also well remembered in Mogode.

30 Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 70. If respect for the Emir of Marua was the main reason for Yaji's reticence towards Mogode, that reason did not protect Sena and Kamalé, who also were in the fief of Gawar: see Mohammadou, Lamidats, 264. But then, border issues were common also between Lamibe, as the diary repeatedly shows. And Kamale and Sena did not house a minor Fulani chief, as Mogode did.

31 Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 76.

32 Abubakar, S., The Lamibe of Fombina: A Political History of Adamawa, 1809–1901 (Oxford, 1977), 131–4; Lovejoy, Slavery, 296–302.

33 Lovejoy, Slavery, 323–6.

34 Earlier, the Germans had been alarmed by these contacts: German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Organisation und Aufgabe der Verwaltung, 75/267-324, ‘Rabeh und sein Reich’, Bericht von Baron von Oppenheimer, ca 1902. See also P. E. Lovejoy and Hogendorn, J. S., ‘Revolutionary Mahdism and resistance to colonial rule in the Sokoto Caliphate, 1905–6’, Journal of African History, 31:2 (1990), 217–44.

35 Barkindo, B. M., The Sultanate of Mandara to 1902: History of the Evolution, Development, and Collapse of a Central Sudanese Kingdom (Stuttgart, 1989).

36 However, the colonial officiers only learned about this particular connection when they read the diary.

37 The Kapsiki routinely equate any subterranean chamber with a tomb.

38 Kirk-Greene, ‘View’, 151.

39 Ibid. 32–3.

40 Ibid. 34–5, and 41.

41 van Santen, They Leave, 84.

42 Lovejoy, P. E., Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (Cambridge, 1983).

43 Ibid. 15 and 192. For an analysis of the tension between Moslem ideology and the demands of state, see van Beek, W. E. A., ‘Purity and statecraft: the Fulani jihād and its empire’, in van Beek, W. E. A. (ed.), The Quest for Purity: Dynamics of Puritan Movements (Berlin, 1988), 149–82.

44 Lovejoy, Slavery, 175.

45 Denham, D., Clapperton, H., and Oudney, W., Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, in the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824 (London, 1826), 195. For Denham's first sight of the Mandara Hills, see van Beek, Dancing Dead, 34.

46 MacEachern, S., ‘Selling iron for their shackles: Wandala-montagnard interactions in northern Cameroon’, Journal of African History, 34:2 (1993), 256.

47 Vincent, J.-F., ‘Sur les traces du major Denham: le Nord-Cameroun il y a cent cinquante ans. Mandara, “Kirdi” et Peul’, Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 18:72 (1978), 583–5.

48 Denham, Narrative of Travels, 313. This surely is an inflated figure: see Vincent, ‘Sur les traces’, 575–606; and Barkindo, Sultanate, 150. MacEachern rightly remarks that the large Arab-Kanuri expedition with which Denham was travelling must have intensified reactions from both the Mandara and the mountain peoples concerned: MacEachern, ‘Selling’, 254.

49 MacEachern, ‘Selling’, 260.

50 Barth, H. M., Reisen und Entdeckungen in Nord- und Central-Afrika in den Jahren 1849 bis 1855: Tagebuch seiner im Auftrag der Brittischen Regierung unternommenen Reise, II, (Gotha, 1857), 316424.

51 van Beek, W. E. A., ‘Slave raiders and their “people without history”’, in Abbink, J. and Vermeulen, H. (eds.), History and Culture: Essays on the Work of Eric R. Wolf (Amsterdam, 1992), 75.

52 Morgen, J., ‘Reisen im Hinterland von Kamerun 1889/91’, Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin, 1 (1891), 382; see also German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 1001/3325, Expedition der Professoren Dr. Moritz Büsgen und Dr. Fritz Jentsch nach Kamerun und Togo, Aug. 1933–Oct. 1937. Translation from the German by the author.

53 For an overview of the defensive processes generated by the slave threat, see Klein, M. A., ‘The slave trade and decentralized societies’, Journal of African History, 42:1 (2001), 4965; and Bah, T. M., ‘Slave-raiding and defensive systems south of Lake Chad from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century’, in Diouf, S. A. (ed.), Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies (Oxford, 2003), 1530. For a discussion on defensive structures, see David, N. et al. , Performance and Agency: The DGB Sites of Northern Cameroon (Oxford, 2008).

54 van Beek, W. E. A. and Avontuur, S., ‘The making of an environment: ecological history of the Kapsiki/Higi of North Cameroon and North-Eastern Nigeria’, in Gausset, Q., Whyte, M. A., and Birch-Thomsen, T. (eds.), Beyond Territory and Scarcity: Exploring Conflicts over Natural Resource Management (Uppsala, 2005), 7089.

55 Wolf called these fringe areas ‘target zones of slave-raiders’, or ‘shatter zones’. As an example, he described Central Nigeria, where the slave-raids from the south overlapped with those of the northern emirates. Wolf, E. R., Europe and the People without History (Berkeley, CA, 1982), 230.

56 Denham lost his horse, his clothes, and almost his life at the end of the siege, and quite miraculously managed to escape and rejoin his Arab war party: see Denham, Narrative of Travels, 341; Vincent, ‘Sur les traces’, 601.

57 Barth mentions the Mousgoum (‘Musgun’), living in an open and accessible countryside: ‘All these people hunting them down from every quarter, and carrying away yearly hundreds, nay thousands of slaves, must in the course of time exterminate this unfortunate tribe’ (cited in Barkindo, Sultanate, 50). However, the Mousgoum are still there; the impressions of the first Europeans must have been coloured by their own participation in the slave raids. See Schilder, K., Quest for Self-Esteem: State, Islam, and Moundang Ethnicity in Northern Cameroon (Leiden, 1994).

58 Barkindo, Sultanate, 112.

59 van Beek, Kapsiki, 45.

60 Ibid, 26.

61 See for the Marghi, the Western neighbours of the Kapsiki/Higi, see Vaughan, J. H., ‘Mafakur: a limbic institution of the Marghi (Nigeria)’, in Kopytoff, I. and Miers, S. (eds.), Slavery in Africa: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives (Madison, WI, 1977), 85104. For the Mofu on their Eastern border, see J.-F. Vincent, Princes.

62 S. Morrison, ‘Clients and slaves in the development of the Mandara elite: Northern Cameroon in the nineteenth century’ (unpublished PhD thesis, Boston University, 1984).

63 Kosack, G., ‘Aus der Zeit der Sklaverei (Nordkamerun): alte Mafa erzählen’, Paideuma, 38 (1992), 177–94.

64 Kosack, ‘Aus der Zeit’, 193.

65 Lord Lugard, the first Commissioner for the Northern Nigeria Protectorate had been instrumental in this: see Lovejoy, Slavery, 293–4; and Goodridge, R. A., ‘The issue of slavery in the establishment of British rule in Northern Cameroun to 1927’, African Economic History, 22 (1994), 1936. The German and French policies were far more ‘laissez faire’ based upon the vague hope that slavery would die a natural death, mixed with admiration for the Fulbe emirates: see Eckert, A. E., ‘Slavery in colonial Cameroon, 1880s to 1930s’, in Miers, S. and Klein, M. A. (eds.), Slavery and Colonial Rule in Africa (London, 1999), 133–48; and Weiss, H., The Illegal Trade in Slaves from German Northern Cameroon to British Northern Nigeria, Parts 1 and 2 (Helsinki, 1998).

66 VerEecke, C., ‘The slave experience in Adamawa: past and present perspectives from Yola (Nigeria)’, Cahiers d’Études Africaines, 34:133 (1994), 34.

67 Bauer, F., L'Expédition allemande Niger – Benoué – Lac Tchad (1902–1903), (Paris, 2002), 75–6.

68 Ibid. Mildouh is north of Sukur.

69 Barkindo, Sultanate, 35.

70 Yearwood, P. J., ‘“In a casual way with a blue pencil”: British policy and the partition of Kamerun, 1914–1919’, Canadian Journal of African Studies, 27:2 (1993), 234–5. The actual dispute over the border did not cease, though, and recently the International Court of Justice made the – hopefully – last in a long series of rulings on the issue: UN Press Release, ‘Nigeria, Cameroon sign agreement ending decades-old border dispute’, AFR/1397, 12 June 2006. For an overview, see Barkindo, B. M., ‘The Mandara astride the Nigeria-Cameroun boundary’, in Asiwaju, A. I. (ed.), Partitioned Africans: Ethnic Relations across Africa's International Boundaries 1884–1984 (London, 1985), 2949. Anyway, the Fulani are well used to being in several countries and to making the most out of this situation: Franz, C., ‘Fulbe continuity and change under five flags atop West Africa: territoriality, ethnicity, stratification, and national integration’, in Galaty, J. G. and Salzman, P. C. (eds.), Change and Development in Nomadic and Pastoral Societies (Leiden, 1981), 89114.

71 German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 118/27, Angeblicher Grenzübergriff der Garoua-Expedition.- Untersuchungen wegen eins britische Protest, 4 Apr. 1902; RFA 175F FA 1/211-220, Britischen Anklage gegen Oberleutnant Dominik, 1902-1903; RFA 175F FA 1/73/189-191, Bericht von Gouverneur von Puttkamer an das Auswärtige Amt, 10 Jan. 1910; RFA 175F FA/1/74/41, Vorziehige Rückkehr des Oberleutnants Dominik nach Deutschland. – Bericht von Gouverneur von Puttkamer, 21 Mar. 1903.

72 German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 73/100-104, Schreiben des militärischen Residenten von Brittisch-Bornou, C. Morragh (Úbersetzungen), 19–7 Apr. 1902.

73 German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 73/215-217, Schreiben von Gouverneur von Putkamer, June 1902. This picture of Dominik is definitely on the rosy side, given his fierce reputation in the area.

74 German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 73/55, Letter from Lord Lugard to Governor von Putkamer, May 1903; see also Wedi-Pasha, B., Die deutsche Mittelafrika-Politik 1871–1914 (Pfaffenweiler, Germany, 1992).

75 Weiss, Illegal Trade, 126 ff.

76 Lovejoy, P. E. and Hogendorn, J. S. (eds.), Slow Death for Slavery: The Course of Abolition in Northern Nigeria, 1897–1936 (Cambridge, 1993), 267.

77 The Germans were also busy with another project, hunting for gold. Rumours had it that the Mandara mountains contained considerable gold reserves, and a real geological expedition was mounted to find the truth, in 1909: no gold! Barkindo, Sultanate, 184, n. 69.

78 Lestringant, Le Pays de Guider au Cameroun : Essai d'histoire régionale (Paris, 1964), 162. Translation from the French by the author.

79 Weiss, Illegal Trade; German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Inbesitznahme des Schutzgebietes, 75/210-218, Letter of Resident Westerby to Lieutenant Von Bülow, 2 Aug. 1902.

80 Kirk-Greene, Adamawa, 84.

81 Both Mandates, the British and the French, became the British and French Trust Territories under the UN in 1946. For the British part, a plebiscite was held in December 1959. The population of the British Cameroons chose to remain with British Cameroons. Cameroon got its independence in October 1960, and a second plebiscite had to be held to decide the question finally. The Northern territories, in which the Higi reside, chose to join Nigeria while the Southern territories (now the North-West and South-West privinces of Cameroon) chose Cameroon: see Anene, International Boundaries.

82 Similar instances are reported in other places in the mountains. Sterner was ‘embarrassed to find them thanking me for saving them from the Fulbe’. Sterner, Ways, 39.

83 See Thiermeyer, H., ‘Environmental and climatic history of Lake Chad during the Holocene’, in Krings, M. and Platte, E., Living with the Lake: Perspectives on History, Culture and Economy of Lake Chad (Köln, 2004), 47.

84 German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Organisation und Aufgabe der Verwaltung, 120/202, Bericht Gouverneur von Puttkamer an das Auswärtige Amt, Oct. 1906.

85 Local horses were interbred with Arabian steeds for resistance against illnesses: see Webb, J. L. A. Jr., Desert Frontier: Ecological and Economic Change Along the Western Sahel, 1600–1850 (Madison, WI, 1995), 6870.

86 Reyna, S. P., Wars without End: The Political Economy of a Precolonial African State (Hanover, NH, 1990), 142.

87 van Santen, They Leave, 78.

88 This return might have been a ransom for a Yaji soldier caught during a failed raid on 12 July, but this is conjecture. Another reason might be that Sena was claimed by the Lamido of Gawar as his fief and that Yaji honored that claim, but then he did raid Sena and Kamale (for which the same holds) extensively. Mohammadou Lamidats, 264.

89 Pétré-Grenouilleau, O., Les Traites Négrières: Essai d'Histoire Globale (Paris, 2004), 181.

90 Lovejoy, P. E., ‘Islam, slavery, and political transformation in West Africa: constraints on the trans-Atlantic slave trade’, Outre Mers, 336/337 (2002), 247–82.

91 For a discussion of this transition and its far-reaching influence, see McDougall, E. A., ‘In search of a desert-edge perspective: the Sahara-Sahel and the Atlantic trade, c. 1815–1890’, in Law, R. (ed.), From Slave Trade to ‘Legitimate’ Commerce: The Commercial Transition in Ninetheenth-Century West Africa (Cambridge, 1995), 215–39.

92 Lovejoy, Slavery, 96–100.

93 With the probable exception of young female slaves for concubinage, the demand for which has still not completely disappeared. Lovejoy Slavery, 117.

94 Austen, R. A., ‘The trans-Saharan slave trade: a tentative census’, in Gemery, and Hogendorn, Uncommon Market, 2376; Austen, R. A., ‘The Mediterranean Islamic slave trade out of Africa: a tentative census’, in Savage, E. (ed.), The Human Commodity: Perspectives on the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade, 222–7; Lovejoy, P. E., ‘Commercial sectors in the economy of the nineteenth-century Central Sudan: the trans-Saharan trade and the desert-side salt trade’, African Economic History, 13 (1984), 85116; La Rue, G. M., ‘The frontiers of enslavement: Bagirmi and the trans-Saharan slave routes’, in Lovejoy, P. E. (ed.), Slavery on the Frontiers of Islam (Princeton, NJ, 2004), 37.

95 M. A. Klein and P. E. Lovejoy, ‘Slavery in West Africa’, in Gemery and Hogendorn, Uncommon Market, 193; E. A. McDougall, ‘Salt, Saharans and the trans-Saharan slave trade: nineteenth century developments’, in Savage, Human Commodity, 72.

96 Vaughan and Kirk-Greene, Diary, 43.

97 I. Kopytoff and S. Miers, ‘Introduction’, in Kopytoff and Miers, Slavery in Africa, 56.

98 Lovejoy, Slavery, 153–205.

99 Yaji does not mention in his diary a few raids undertaken in September 1913. Two villages near Madagali complained to the German Hauptmann Schwarz, who then forced Yaji to return the captives but did not take any other measures against him. Maybe Yaji did not record this ‘catch’ as he had to give it back. This, however, was an exception, and those two villages must have had good contacts with the German overlords. See German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 175F FA 1, Organisation und Aufgabe der Verwaltung, 95, Marschtagebuch Hauptmann Schwarz, 1913; and Weiss Illegal Trade, 2, and 27–8.

100 Lovejoy, Slavery, 81–116.

101 Hogendorn, J. S., ‘Slaves as money in the Sokoto Caliphate’, in Stiansen, E. and Guyer, J. I. (eds.), Credit, Currencies and Culture: African Financial Institutions in Historical Perspective (Stockholm, 1999), 5671; Hogendorn, J. S. and Johnson, M., The Shell Money of the Slave Trade (Cambridge, 1986).

102 van Beek, Kapsiki; van Beek, W. E. A. and Avontuur, S., ‘Dynamics of agriculture in the Mandara Mountains: the case of the Kapsiki/Higi of Northern Cameroon and North-eastern Nigeria’, in Baroin, C., Seidensticker-Brikay, G., and Tijani, K. (eds.), Man and the Lake: Proceedings of the 12th Mega Chad Conference, Maiduguri, 2nd–9th December 2003 (Maiduguri, Nigeria, 2005), 335–82.

103 German Colonial Archives, Berlin, R 1001/3334/183-208, Landes- und völkerkundliche Expedition von Günter Tessman nach Neu-Kamerun 1913–19.

104 Goodridge, ‘Issue of slavery’, 29.

105 Lovejoy, Slavery, 291–317.

106 And thanks to that same sophistication, we do have Yaji's diary, without which this story could not have been told.

* I thank my colleagues Jan-Bart Gewald (African Studies Center) and Jan Jacobs (Tilburg University) for their valuable and constructive criticism on an earlier version of this article, as well as the anonymous reviewers for the Journal of African History. Research on the Kapsiki/Higi started in 1972–3, and proceeded with return visits every three to five years, the last one in January 2012. Grants from NWO/WOTRO, Utrecht University, the African Studies Center (Leiden), and Tilburg University are gratefully acknowledged.

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