Les porcs « long châssis » : le péril des mariages ? Comprendre les transformations du bestiaire dotal du Cameroun méridional

Séraphin BALLA

fr Anthropozoologica 56 (14) - Pages 215-225

Published on 08 October 2021

This article is a part of the thematic issue Suidae in ritual contexts in contemporary times

“Long frame” pigs: the peril of marriages? Understanding the bridewealth offerings transformation in the Great Southern Cameroon

The pig in its “long frame” range, that is to say as big as possible, is now in great demand in the bridewealth offerings among the Beti of Cameroon. This change is linked to the popularization of pig breeding. But the analogy between the pig’s reproductive capacity and the fertility wished to the bride and groom also need to be taken into account, for fertility is being the best one can address to them. Moreover, the opinion argues the witchcraft neutrality of the pig, an unhorned animal. However, the principle of the luxuriance of the bridewealth gifts induces families to demand even ten pigs. This implies a huge financial bleeding for the son-in-law. In addition to the recriminations it provokes, this situation blocks and disintegrates marriage plans. The article then tries to shed light on how the bridewealth food demands accompany changes in the matrimonial forms and in the family’s model, particularly, the raise of de facto marriage and single-parent families, the postponement of unions, and secret marriages.


Pig farming, dowry, family, Beti, Yaoundé.

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