Saturday, June 10, 2006

Occult rich of Cameroon

Another piece of African economic research sponsored by NWO in the Netherlands.

PhD researcher Basile Ndjio has examined the so-called Feymen of Cameroon, young men from a poor immigrant background who have grown rich through tantalisingly unspecified 'occult' methods of swindling. According to the NWO press release:
Swindlers in Cameroon, with expensive cars and flashy clothes, are the embodiment of occult economies. These nouveau rich mostly come from poor backgrounds with few prospects. 'Feymania', as the Cameroonians refer to the swindling practices, are often interpreted in terms of magic and witchcraft. And as they are so rich many hold them in awe, to the extent that the new generation has even adopted them as role models.

More here, from the University of Amsterdam:
Ndjio concludes firstly that the popularization of feymania-related activities as well as the idealization of feymen as role models is the result of the lack of employment perspectives for urban youths, the marginalization of the youth by state power, people’s disenchantment with the democratization process of the early 1990s, and the steady loss of social prestige of the évolués-fonctionnaires (civil servants, and educated elites at large).
Secondly, both the vilification of feymen as mokoagne men (rich sorcerers) and the depreciation of their extraordinary riches as a mokoagne moni (occult or magic money) are informed by moralizing discourses that condemn asocial modes of wealth accumulation and consumption that do not correspond to accepted patterns of self-realisation and social norms.

Intriguing from both an economic and a fortean point of view.

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