ALONG THE NIGER RIVER: An African Way of Life by Aylette Jenness
Kirkus Star

ALONG THE NIGER RIVER: An African Way of Life

Email this review


Jenness with whom we previously met the Dwellers of the Tundra (KR 1970) introduces the varied peoples and occupations of northern Nigeria ""not (as) a picturesque anomaly in the twentieth century, but a small profound world with much to show us, if we have eyes to see."" And indeed, each different community she visits -- Gungawa and Kamberi farmers who follow pre-Muslim customs and religions, lithe, nomadic Fulani herders, skillful Sarkawa fishermen and town-dwelling Hausa potters -- is notable for the harmonious integration of work and family life. With duly noted exceptions (the abandonment of government housing by the Kamberi, and the expulsion of the unpopular Ibo) Jenness notes that these disparate cultures maintain, on the whole, a high level of cooperation and have adapted to the first impact of technology with considerable success. Best of all, Jenness' three years in Nigeria have enabled her to describe concretely the daily round of business, the patterns of child-rearing and marriage in an extended, polygamous Moslem family, and the varied produce and social highlights of the local Yelwa market. All complemented by the author's photographs which reveal her respect and appreciation of these graceful, organically whole ways of life.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1974
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: T.Y. Crowell