During the early 20th century, a group of ex-slaves established a frontier society in the no-man’s-land of the extreme Southern Highlands of Madagascar.
First settlers skilfully deployed a fluid set of Malagasy customs to implant a myth of themselves as tompon-tany or “masters of the land”. Eventually, they created a land monopoly to reinforce their legitimacy and to exclude later migrants. Some of them were labelled andevo (“slave” or “slave descent”). The tompon-tany prohibited the andevo from owning land, and thereby from having tombs.
This book focuses on the plight of the tombless andevo, and how their ascribed impurity and association with infertility, illness, death and misfortune made them an essential part of the tompon-tany world-view.
Sandra J.T.M. Evers, Ph.D. (2001), is a Lecturer of Anthropology at the Free University of Amsterdam. She specialises in Southwest Indian Ocean studies, with a particular focus on Madagascar. Her publications examine frontier societies within the context of globalisation, natural resource management, poverty and sustainable development.
This is an outstanding book, ethnografically sophisticated as well as theoretically rigorous. Anyone interested in social inequality...absolutely must read this book '.
All those interested in anthropology, Malagasy studies, frontier societies, slavery, natural resource management, poverty issues, survival strategies and the ontological perceptions of the Malagasy.