1. We learn some greetings '

The first step of any anthropological enquiry!

2. 'we show them our notebooks, crocks, canvas bath, and folding table.

This is also a good 'show and tell' move to elicit a similar response from the subject.

3. (we are keeping right out of this).

This aside reflects the difficulty in keeping the anthropologists separate from the colonial administration in the minds of the local people.

How far do you think this was ever successful?

4. He then went to work on the Tiko plantation '

The Grassfields had supplied much of the labour for coastal tea and rubber plantations since the early German period.

5. But he earns no cash for this - he is fed and maybe gets small gifts.

Within one's home community one is enmeshed in gift exchange relations with kith and kin. Goods and services are more easily exchanged for cash when the parties to the exchange are strangers.

6. 'a branch of the isa'oenda '

What kind of kinship unit is being referred to here?

7. Emmanuel says that the only villages which retain their own dialects now are...'

Ritual and political autonomy in the Grassfields found expression in linguistic singularity. Hence the degree to which a community had been assimilated in ritual and politcal terms was expressed by the degree to which local dialect was retained or given up.


8. Emmanuel goes off with some salt in which we have hidden some coins.

Salt is highly prized substance in the Grassfields. When the anthropologists give out salt and coins in this way they are acting as would senior titleholders in the chiefdom redistributing wealth and commodities.

Search the diary pages for other instances of redistribution and gift exchange involving the anthropologists.

For further information contact Ian Fowler