The Dogon population in the Bandiagara escarpment is estimated to number about 300.000 (Gallais 1975: 95). Since the French colonisation and the end of local military conflicts more and more Dogon have left the cliff settlements and moved to the more fertile plain. This is an ongoing process caused by demographic pressure and limited resources: the population has quadrupled within the past 60 years (Bedaux 1986: 118). About 88% of the Dogon live in the Cercle de Bandiagara, including those who temporarily migrate to work in other regions within and outside Mali (Beaudoin 1997: 21). The Dogon also live in the regions of Douentza, and San in Mali, as well as across the border in Burkina Faso (Tougan). About 20% of the young Dogon now settle permanently outside the Cercle de Bandiagara (Keita 1992: 4). The French colonisation and subsequent pacification of the region brought with it the free movement of people and goods, which intensified the stream of temporary migrants from the Dogon lands. For economic and/or prestige reasons many young Dogon decide to temporarily settle in large cities, such as Bamako, SÈgou or Mopti (Bouju 1984: 193), and even in neighbouring countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. Also, many farmers migrate in the dry season to help with harvests in other regions. This exploration of additional sources of income allows the Dogon to survive in a harsh environment (Diawara 1997: 604). Author(s): Text: Brigit Dietz, extract from C. Kleinitz and B. Dietz (2003), Signs of the times, times of the signs: Rock art and circumcision at Songo. Leiden: Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde (digital publication at www.rmv.nl)
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Date created: 2003-10-18 - Date modified: 2004-03-02