Approximately 51 million people live in Africa.
The Fulanis are an ethnic group that comprises several dispersed populations throughout West Africa and in Central Africa. They came from Sudan in North Africa.
The African countries in which they are located include Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Togo, the Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia and Sudan in the east. The Fulanis are not the majority group in any of these countries, except Guinea.
99% of the Fulas are Muslim. A significant proportion of the Fulanis are constituted by cattle herders since the fifteenth century. The Fulanis are the ethnic group with the largest community of nomadic shepherds in the world.
Fula values and religion
For centuries, the Fulanis have followed the traditional religion of Africa, which is animistic in its roots. They believe in a supreme god, who has little or no contact with humans. They believe that there are supernatural forces that need to be controlled following certain traditions. If they follow the traditions of their ancestors, then things will work out well. But if they move away from the traditions or break the taboos, they believe they will end up with sick cattle and other misfortunes. They also use divination and make good plans to ensure their lives are in order. This is called “hakkilo”, which can be translated as intelligence or divination.
A second value is semi-tenuous, or reserve and modesty. From childhood, they already exercise this value. The child will always well behave in front of her parents. Marriage copples must keep some distance from each other in public. Fulas try not to speak out of place or make false assumptions.
The third value is “munyal”, which means exercising patience and self-control. Fulas value keeping their emotions under control and not reacting badly, even in difficult or tragedy situations. Violating these values, especially in public, would bring shame to the Fulanis, and more importantly, to his family and clan. Fulas would endure a lot to avoid shame.
These combined virtues are known as “pulaaku”, which can be translated as “Without Fula.” These virtues and the code of behavior with which they are accompanied is transmitted from generation to generation.