Maryse Conde Essay

Using specific illustrations from Maryse Condes fresh Segu, this is an essay that discusses how the coming of Islam to Bambar society affected that peoples traditional, political, societal and economic patterns every bit good as disputing the Bambaras spiritual beliefs. Before the reaching of Islam, Segu and its people, the Bambaras, were highly different universe from what they became under Islamic regulation. The Bambaras were proud people with a long history in agriculture, and the affluent 1s worked with 100s of slaves and deep-rooted millet, cotton and fonio ( p. 4 ) .

Their currency was cowrie shells and gold dust, and they hadnt even heard of money, which came with the white adult male. With the coming of Islam, manufactured goods from Europe and North Africa were doing their manner into Bambara families ( p. 324 ) . Conde described it: It was non unusual to see well-born immature work forces in boots bought from some bargainer. Many households had silver dishes in their huts, and the Mansa proudly displayed to his friends a service of all right Chinese porcelain that he ne’er really used. Fetishists, they turned to all mode of objects and all mode of Gods to guarantee their good luck.

For illustration, Dousika used a tooth branchlet to increase his physical strength and sexual authority ( p. 3 ) . As Sira gave birth, Nya ordered workss be burned to drive away the evil jets and assist the milk come ( p. 11 ) . Much of life was highly charming, as evidenced in the manner Tiekoro reacted when he foremost saw a adult male write with a pencil. The animist universe of Segu was rocked when the Muslim faith took over. Segu was steeped in the traditions of narrative relation and the griots vocal was the manner the society passed on its intelligence and traditions.

The Muslim faith looks down orality, while the spoken word has its mythology in Baharan civilization. As Cilas Kemedijo explains in The Curse of Writing: Genealogic Strata of a Disenchantment: Orality, Islam-writing, and Identities in the State of Becoming in Maryse Conde( Kemedijo, pp. 124 ) , The progressive arrangement of elements of a cultural, cultural, and symbolic confrontation between the two universes operates throughout the exchange between Tiekoro Traore, kid of the spoken word, and the imaum of the mosque of Somonos.

The storyteller subtly presents Allahs adherent as the same age as Tiekoros father. Their belonging to the same age-group suggests a possibility of competition between the two male parents, with Tiekoro, the boy, as the bets. The two paternal mentions pertain to Segovian and Muslim civilizations. Tiekoro emphasizes his societal and political family tree: he is the boy of Dousika Traore, a yerewolo, whose family tree is lost in clip. By specifying himself through his male parents line of descent, Tiekoro obliges the other male parent to turn out himself worthy of presuming practical paternity.

This challenge to paternity will be seen as an innovation of the written word ; that is, in order to maintain mark in the on-going silent, symbolic conflict, authorization will be based on the prestigiousness of composing. To the grade that Tiekoro presents his baronial line of descent and his households political position as incontestable elements of prestigiousness and societal legitimacy, so will the composing muazzin strive to deconstruct these mentions of legitimacy. Writing could open up a new universe to Tiekoro and others who become Moslems.

The Bambaras believed that fetish priests could foretell the hereafter with goora nut nuts and cowry shells, but that was to fall by the roadside under force per unit area from the Moslems. Their vesture besides changed. Monzon Diarra wore a white cotton adventitia and white pants with carnal horns and dentitions and adorned weaponries. The Moslems, on the other manus, wore white kaftans and pants ( p. 26 ) .

Bambara adult females frequently went braless before the incursion of Islam, but the Moslem faith required adult females to cover to the full and it was are to see such frock in the metropoliss. In a related vena, sexual wonts besides changed as it had been the pattern of a adult male to take a courtesan or two every bit good as several married womans. Islam required them to restrict the figure of married womans. Monzon, for illustration, felt Islam castrated work forces and wouldnt allow them imbibe what they wanted ( p. 28 ).

Tiekoro had been used to holding sex with his male parents immature slaves from the clip he was 12 and he found the pureness and celibacy required in the Islamic faith to be anguish ( p. 3 ) . Yet, the Islamic religion taught that the sex act was a defilement even between married people ( p. 481 ).

Alfa Guidado inquiries his ain faith as he is slumped beside Tiefolos cadaver. He all of a sudden understood there was no cosmopolitan God ; every adult male had the right to idolize whomsoever he pleased ; and to take away a adult males faith, the anchor of his life, was to reprobate him to decease. Why was Allah better than Fero or Pemba? Who had decreed it? he wondered. The household unit was much more closed.

In native Bambara civilization, all of brothers kids called each brother male parent and all grew up under joint authorization ( p. 32 ) . Under Islam, the household was much more detached. Womans became what can merely be termed uppety. It had all started with Sira, traveling off back to Macina one mulct twenty-four hours and interrupting Dousikas bosom. Then came Maryem, garnering her kids together and go forthing, declining the hubby tradition ordained for her.

And now here was Yassa, claiming rights for her kid ( p. 35 ) , Conde wrote Sigas ideas. The household was interrupting down. Naba had been taken to Brazil. Malobali had gone with the trains to the Ashanti land and found decease in Abomey, a journey of yearss and darks off from place. Both of them had left boies who merely half belonged to the kin, and who nurtured foreign desires and aspirations ( p. 324 ) , Conde wrote. The universe was altering. In the past all a adult male needed was a spot of self-control to maintain married womans, kids, and younger brothers in order.

Life was a consecutive line drawn from the uterus of a adult female to the uterus of the Earth drawn from the uterus of a adult female to the uterus of the Earth. If you fought behind a swayer, it was merely to acquire more married womans, more slaves or more gold. But now the threat of new thoughts and values lurked everyplace, Siga fumed ( p. 429 ) . The architecture even changed. There were new houses with their level roofs and turrets with triangular loopholes. Not many straw roofs now ( p. 430 ), Conde wrote.

Inside tradition Bambara huts, the trappingss were thin, but rugs wre everyplace in the Moslem homes. The attack to instruction besides was rather different. Children went to Koranic schools instead than larning through the unwritten tradition ( p. 430 ) . It became much more of an urban-centered economic system with the wealths of lands taken off. Items that the fetishists held sacred were burned, and people wondered what would go on as the Mansa turned his dorsum on the Gods of Segu and insulted the ascendants What sightlessness, what folly! After such offenses the name of Segu would vanish off the face of the Earth.

Or else go the name of some suffering small hole snoozing on the Bankss of its river, unheard of ( p. 477 ), Conde wrote. The God they worshipped besides changed. Fetishists believed that two Gods were to be credited for the creative activity. The God Pemba whirled about and created Earth while the God Faro took attention of the sky and the Waterss ( p. 14 ) . Islam, of class, teaches that there is merely one God, Allah.