The Sooro, the pillared entrance hall to the majority of palaces now existing in northern Cameroon, is an important index of political change in this region. The Spread of the Sooro: Symbols of Power in the Sokoto Caliphate traces the proliferation of sooroji from the time that Fulbe conquerors incorporated this region within the Sokoto caliphate in the early nineteenth century until Cameroon’s independence in 1960. The status of Fulbe rulers who conquered the region was not high enough to employ the political symbolism of the sooro, but the use of this building type spread quickly after German colonial borders separated northern Cameroon from the rest of the caliphate in 1901. Eventually the form expanded beyond the boundaries of the Fulbe and spread among non-Fulbe rulers. By explaining the changes in the form and political symbolism of the sooro, Mark DeLancey argues that it was a symbol of power spread in direct relation to the loss of real political power of rulers in colonial northern Cameroon.

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