Running and Hiding: The End of Colonialism and the Arrival of the Iconoclasts

Sarró Ramon

in The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780748635153
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653003 | DOI:
Running and Hiding: The End of Colonialism and the Arrival of the Iconoclasts

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Several changes occurred at the end of the colonial period. Older men appeared to be losing control of the ‘patriarchal’ status quo: young women did not belong to them any more; new musical instruments appeared that challenged notions of power, bringing to the abanka the sound of the wood; and, as if all this ‘modern’ soundscape was not enough, men now danced with their own sisters. This chapter addresses the question of why some elders became afraid of the threats of the young. The answer lies in the fact that, according to notions of personhood prevalent in the whole Guinean region and probably beyond, some young people have more mystical power than elders: elders may acquire mystical powers with age – they may be initiated, they may even buy membership of some cults – but some people are simply born with powers, and these people become potentially dangerous, even to older men.

Keywords: youth; older men; gerontocracy; Guinea; personhood; mystical power

Chapter.  11547 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies

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