Dec
08

Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba

Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba lived from 1853 to 1927 in Senegal (excepting periods of exile), who was a religious leader and leader who opposed French colonization. His resistance took non-violent means and was a constant threat to the French. Kimball wrote a biography of Bamba, subtitled "A Peacemaker of Our Time" (2018). The book is not an academic work, for this post I highlight some of the notes on the colonial mindset in Senegal:

"The French believed that a vibrant Islam Would work against their "civilizing mission" [la mission civilisatrice} of spreading French culture in Senegal. Domination of the Senegalese people, therefore, became essential. Thus, a primary aim of Governor Faidherbe was to "pacify" Senegal and create "more enlightened and humane" institutions in the colony". (p. 43-44)

"... a major component of the French agenda was the assimilation of colonialized people via French language and culture through the creation of French schools. Other tenets of the agenda mandated the closing of pre-existing Muslim schools; undermining "primitive" cultures and dialects; controlling the land, the native manpower and political power; and alienating the local people culturally and linguistically." (p. 46)

"In trying to complete the French "civilizing work," Ponty, too, had, in 1908, made a directive to his lieutenant governors to prohibit further importation of Islamic chromo-lithographs. He was concerned with the spread of Islamic books and popular forms of artwork … Ponty thought that the publications and engravings might inspire maraboutic uprisings should be destroyed. He recognized the artwork as a "marvelous instrument of propaganda these thousands of rough engravings constitute here, [that are so] vivid in color and that present the defendants of the only true religion in the most favorable light." (p. 243-244)

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