Taking on the Town

Mouride Urbanisation, 1945–2001
  • Donal B. Cruise O’Brien


The pace of Mouride urbanisation has taken government planners and all outside observers (including this one) by surprise. One may start with the example of the brotherhood’s capital, the ex-village of Touba, now recognised to be the second largest city in Senegal, with a population of over 300,000, thus larger than the regional capitals of Kaolack, Thiès, Ziguinchor or St Louis.1 Touba’sprodigious growth may in part be seen as an outcome of drought and agrarian decline, call it desertification if you will, the drought year of 1973 now appearing to have been pivotal. Since that time the brotherhood’s leadership has been encouraging their rural disciples to move to Touba, where an allotment is often a gift from shaikh to talibé, where there is no state property tax and where water is available in abundance thanks to government-financed wells, tapping what’sleft of the underlying water table.


Trade Union Informal Sector European Economic Community Colonial Administration Street Trader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    Listen to Cheikh Lo, Ne IM Thiass. London: World Circuit Productions, 1996Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Didier Fassin, “La Vente Illicite des Médicaments au Sénégal”, Politique Africaine, no. 23, 1986, pp. 123-30; D. Fassin, “Du Clandestin à l’Officieux. Les Réseaux de vente illicite des médicaments au Sénégal”, Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 98, XXV-2, 1985, pp. 161–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 8.
    D. Cruise O’Brien, The Mourides of Senegal: The Political and Economic Organization of an Islamic Brotherhood, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971, pp. 265–70.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    Rose Lake updates the bans, which under Saliou Mbacké extend to football, in her excellent study on a beleaguered Mouride zawiya in Thiès. R. Lake, “The Making of a Mouride Mahdi: Serigne Abdoulaye Diop of Thiès”in David Westerlund and Eva Evers Rosander (eds.), African Islam and Islam in Africa: Encounters between Sufis and Islamists, London: Hurst, 1997, p. 249.Google Scholar
  5. 18.
    Didier Fassin, “Du Clandestin à l’Officieux. Les réseaux de vente illicite des médicaments au Sénégal”, Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, 98, XXV-2, 1995, p. 169.Google Scholar
  6. 20.
    Victoria Ebin, “Les Commerçants Mourides à Marseille et à New York”in Emmanuel Grégoire and Pascal Labazée (eds), Grands Commerçants d’Afrique de l’Ouest, Paris: Karthala/ ORSTOM, 1993, p. 122.Google Scholar
  7. 35.
    D. Cruise O’Brien, “Des Bienfaits de l’Inégalité”, Politique Africaine 14, June 1984, 34–38.Google Scholar
  8. 38.
    L. Nckkach, “Le Mouridisme depuis 1912”, Archives de la République du Senegal, Dakar (Saint-Louis du Sénégal, 1952)Google Scholar
  9. 39.
    Shaikh Yaba Diop, quoted in J. Roch, “Entretiens avec des marabouts et des paysans du Baol”, roneo, Dakar: ORSTOM, 1968.Google Scholar
  10. 43.
    See A. Cohen, Custom and Politics in Urban Africa: A Study of Hausa migrants in Toruba Towns, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969Google Scholar
  11. C. Meillassoux (ed.), The Development of Indigenous Trade and Mar-ketsin West Africa, Oxford: University Press/International African Institute, 1971.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Donal B. Cruise O’Brien 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donal B. Cruise O’Brien

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations