Marriage is the Arena: “Inside” Stories of Genealogical Purity and Slave Ancestry from Southern Senegal (Kolda region)

Alice Bellagamba


The choice of a marriage partner is one of the contexts in which racial arguments about the human difference between slave and master descendants are more likely to manifest themselves in contemporary Senegal. By drawing on oral history and ethnography from the Fulfulde-speaking context of the Kolda region, this article explores the dynamics that spark up when girls and boys hope to marry across the boundary between the two social categories. The discussions that follow provide an occasion to share recollections associated with the history of slavery and the slave trade across different generations. They also reveal concrete worries about the extension, solidity and development of family and political solidarities in post-slavery Senegal.


Senegal, Marriage, Family Networks, Slave-descendants, Fulbe

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