Samba Kane Humanities and Social Science
Fula Poetry in the Valley of the Senegal River
My research concerns the cultural identity of the Fula people in Mauritania and Senegal, West Africa. What does it mean to be Fula in this particular region of the world? To answer this question, I will explore two volumes of poetry, written in the Fula language by Ibrahima Moctar Sarr, a Mauritanian journalist by formation who became a civil rights leader and an advocate for the preservation of the Fula language. We have much to learn from the Fula history and culture. The Fula are rarely the dominant group in the countries in which they live. Despite facing assimilative forces, they find ways to fight back and save themselves from disappearing from the map. Learning about what constitutes their identity and everyday life through their poetry can help us design strategies to save other endangered languages. It is a way to lead by example by acknowledging the value of other peoples perspectives, building bridges between the various people of our world.