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The Hauka movement was a religious movement which arose in French Colonial Africa. It consisted of ceremonies, including mimicry and dancing, in which the participants performed the elaborate military ceremonies of their colonial occupiers. It was depicted in Les Maîtres Fous (The Mad Masters – 1955), a short film directed by Jean Rouch, a well-known French film director and ethnologist.[1]

According to some anthropologists, the movement was a form of resistance that began in Niger, but spread to other parts of Africa. They say this pageant, though historic, was largely done to mock the settlers' authority by stealing their powers. Hauka members were not trying to emulate Europeans, but were trying to extract their life force. [2]

This stance has been heavily criticized by anthropologist James G. Ferguson, who finds this imitation not about importing colonialism into indigenous culture, but as a way to gain rights and status in the colonial society. The adoption of European customs was not a form of resistance, but to be “respected by the Europeans.”[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Les Maitres Fous review Archived 2008-06-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Horrific Comedy: Cultural Resistance and the Hauka Movement in Niger, article by Paul Stoller, Ethos, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer, 1984), pp. 165-188
  3. ^ James G. Ferguson (2002). "Of Mimicry and Membership: Africans and the "New World Society"" (Paper)|format= requires |url= (help). American Anthropological Society. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

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