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The Zaghawa and the Midob of North Darfur – A comparison of migration behaviour

Fouad Ibrahim
GeoJournal
Vol. 46, No. 2, Identities in Sub-Saharan Africa (1998), pp. 135-140
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41147280
Page Count: 6
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The Zaghawa and the Midob of North Darfur – A comparison of migration behaviour
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Abstract

Two ethnic groups of North Darfur, the Zaghawa and the Midob, are being compared as regards their migration behaviour and their identification in their destination areas. Both groups have severely suffered as a result of the drought phase of the last three decades, during which more than half of the Zaghawa and Midob have migrated southwards and to the towns. Despite the similarity of the two ethnic groups, being non-Arab agropastoralists who are socially and politically marginalised both within Darfur and within the Sudan, they show marked differences in their migration behaviour and ethnic solidarity. The Zaghawa migrants are considerably more economically successful than the Midob migrants. The main reasons are: -The Zaghawa started their outmigration earlier than the Midob. Thus, they could establish ethnically-based networks in Libya and the Gulf countries, to which Zaghawa migrants can resort to make a good start in their destination areas. By the time the Midob started their migration in the 1980s, the conditions of employment in the Arab oil countries had worsened. -The Zaghawa show a strong clan solidarity. They readily lend money to young members of their clan to cover the high costs of travelling to the Arab oil countries for work, where many of them have already established themselves. -The Midob, both in the Sudan and abroad, have much less resources available. The only country open for them outside the Sudan is Libya. Lacking capital, the Midob go there on camels, mostly illegally. Having no connections in Libya, except those to other poor Midob there, they usually try to work in herding sheep and goats, which is not a lucrative profession.

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