The social structure of southern Somali tribes
The subject is the social structure of a southern Somali community of about six thousand people, the Geledi, in the pre-colonial period; and the manner in which it has reacted to colonial and other modern influences. Part A deals with the pre-colonial situation. Section 1 deals with the historical background up to the nineteenth century, first giving the general geographic and ethnographic setting, to show what elements went to the making of this community, and then giving the Geledi's own account of their history and movement up to that time. Section 2 deals with the structure of the society during the nineteenth century. Successive chapters deal with the basic units and categories into which this community divided both itself and the others with which it was in contact; with their material culture; with economic life; with slavery, which is shown to have been at the foundation of the social order; with the political and legal structure; and with the conduct of war. The chapter on the 'sultanate' examines the politico-religious office of the Sheikh or Sultan as the focal point of the community, and how under successive occupants of this position, the Geledi became the dominant power in this part of Somalia. Part B deals with colonial and post-colonial influences. After an outline of the history of Somalia since 1889, with special reference to Geledi, the changes in society brought about by those events are described. The section on Afgoi in the nineteen-sixties deals with the developments in population, general culture, economic life, politics and law. A chapter describes the New Year customary 'stick fight', and considers the significance of this tradition in the life of Geledi. The concluding Section D siiminiiiaes the developments in this community, in its transition from an autonomous small polity to a part of a modern nation state. The old elite based on wealth, originally in slaves, was being replaced by a new one based on education; but the latter derived from the former, and the representatives of both cooperated together.