The Fulani people are also called the Fula or Fulbe people. The Fulani are a group of people who occupy the greater region of the Sahel and West Africa. Currently, the Fulani can be found in most African countries such as Nigeria, Senegal and Chad. They can also be found in the northern regions of Central Africa like Sudan.
The Fulani people are believed to be a blend of the people who were originally in West Africa and another category of people who had both European and Northern African traits.
There are genetic studies which have been done and they ascertain that there is a relationship existing between the Fulani and the Europeans. The Fulani have an LCT gene which enables those carrying it to be able to break down lactose in their bodies. This is coupled together with the allele T-13910. The Europeans are also found to have LCT genes and also the allele T-13910 in large numbers. This similarity in traits indicates that the Fulani and the Europeans may have something in common. Whereas the T-13910 is found in the Fulani, it is not expressed in the people from East Africa and those from the Middle East.
Where Do The Fula People Come From?
Many people, especially those who have been involved in historical research, suggest that the Fula people are from early Egypt and the Upper Nile region.
The Fula people are seen to have come into existence through the interaction of people from Northern Africa and those occupying West Africa in the early days. As the population of the Fulani continued to increase they moved to West Africa and others to Central Africa where they established themselves. As they migrated they met weaker tribes in the areas they wished to settle which they overpowered. Originally, the Fulani people were pastoralists and they kept large herds of cattle. As they continued to gain control over the smaller communities, they discovered activities such as farming and also established towns. With this, some of them left nomadism and started living sedentary lives in the towns and doing farming activities. However, there were some Fulani who opted to continue with the nomadism and they moved elsewhere to look for pasture. To this date, the Fula people are recognised to be the largest tribe in the world.
Almost everyone who is a Fulani is a Muslim. They were the ones who introduced Islam to the West African nations. As they continued to subdue more communities in West Africa they became a religious force whereby they firmly grounded Islam in the people through Jihads which are said to be holy wars.
How Many Fulani Subgroups Are There?
The Fulani people come in three types namely the Viz who deal with pastoralism, the Mbororo who have not been involved in nomadism a lot and the Fulani people who settle in the urban centers.
The viz Fulani who are pastoralists move around with their livestock. They do not stay in one place for a very long time as they search for pasture. The longest time they can stay in one place is estimated to be four months. The Mbororo are said to be semi-nomadic. This means that although they also keep livestock they lead a sedentary livelihood. When they go to search for pasture, they do not go very far since they have to return to their homes. The other group of Fulani which settles in the urban areas does not engage in pastoralism at all. They have businesses and jobs in the towns which can sustain them.
How Do The Fulani People Practice Their Marriage?
Marriage is an important institution in any community as it ensures continuity of the community. The Fulani people practise endogamy in their marriage whereby people from the same clan can be allowed to marry. This is done to ensure that the family lineage continues. A man is free to be polygamous so long as he is able to provide for the entire family. Marriage in the Fulani community takes place in three phases which are Sharo, Koowgal and Kabbai. In the modern days some of these practices may be seen to be very harsh. However, in this community they are highly cherished.
In Sharo, the men are beaten severely by other men in front of other people. This is meant to see whether the man is brave enough, strong and bold to face challenges in his life. If by any chance the man starts crying he is strongly rebuked by the other people and he can even be disapproved of by the bride’s family due to his cowardice.
From Sharo they proceed to Koowgal which entails the giving of dowry and bride price. Here the dowry is given by the father to the bride to the groom’s family while the bride price is given by the groom to the bride. These activities indicate that the marriage is legal.
In Kabbai, the Muslim wedding rites are done. Here the bride and the groom don’t need to be present. Afterwards, the bride is taken to the husband’s house by the women.
How The Fulani People Grow Their Hair?
The Fulani are known for their long hair which they take pride in. Ever wondered what they use to grow their hair so long. Read on to discover more.
You will agree with me that many Fulani people have their hair styled into braids. The braids make their hair to be long as the braids can be held together or even let fall sideways. The braids are adorned with beads which make them conspicuous. The Fulani women also decorated their hair. Since they were Islam in their religion, they normally wore veils which worked well for them. Jewellery and beads were also part of the decoration for the women. They made the hair look large and those who had bigger beads on her hair automatically gained more attention. The Fulani wove some thread in their hair in different magnificent shapes such as spiral forms.