Beyond national citizenship

Published: 8/May/2010
Source: African Arguments

by Michaela Pelican

‘Belonging’ is a pertinent trope in Africa and beyond. However, in many parts of Africa belonging is not only understood in national terms but also, and most importantly, as belonging to a place or a group; e.g. a village, a region, a clan or an ethnic group. In the context of democratisation processes, belonging gained salience in political discourse, and in many countries has been coupled with the notion of autochthony as a criterion for privileged access to natural and state resources (Bayart et al. 2001). Drawing on the example of the Mbororo (pastoral Fulbe) in Cameroon, I argue that national citizenship alone does not necessarily enable individuals or groups to realise their political or land rights.

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Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious
Regions: Cameroon
Year: 2010