THE FULANI COMMUNITY
The Fulani are a culturally diverse and widely dispersed group across the continent West to East in a band just South of the Sahara desert.
Population: 20 million
Location and Background: The Fulani are widely dispersed with large populations in Nigeria, Guinea, and Senegal. They are also found in Gambia, Cameroon, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and as far East as Sudan. They are thought to be an ancient people of West African and North African descent.
Culture: Despite the diversity of culture among the Fulani, they all adhere to a code of conduct called ‘pulaaku’. These moral values can be summarized in four qualities: patience (acceptance of Fate, self-control, discipline), wisdom (intelligence, common sense, prudence, shrewdness), modesty (respect for others, personal responsibility, hospitality) and courage (strength, handwork). Cattle are highly prized among the Fulani. The decreasing availability of land and drought leads to conflict with their farming neighbors.
The Fulani can be grouped into three types:
- The Nomadic/Pastoralist Mbororo
- The Semi-nomadic
- The settled “Town” Fulani
Religion: Islam. The Fulani were the first group in West Africa to convert to Islam. Fulani clerics are held in high esteem.