Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Teda are nomadic pastoralists mostly living in the Tibesti Massif, in northern Chad, but also as a minority group dispersed in neighboring Libya, Sudan and throughout Chad. Traditional Teda society was organized into a hierarchy of patriclans in which the rank and status of each clan greatly depended on length of residence in Tibesti, conditions under which its founders settled there, or reputations of its members in war. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Teda rose to become dominant power in the Chadian central government because of their successive victories as insurgents fighting against the national army.


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Africa --Central Africa





OWC Code


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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication and eHRAF document number. The documents in this collection, all of them in English, cover a wide variety of cultural, historical and ecological information, circa 1930s to 1980s.

The basic sources to consult are two documents translated from French and German to English for HRAF. One is the work of Jean Chapelle, a Colonel in the French army who, arriving at the inception of the final French occupation in early 1930s, worked among the Teda of Tibesti for twenty-five years (Chapelle 1957: no. 8). The other is by Andreas Kronenberg, a German-speaking professional anthropologist, who conducted fieldwork in the same area in 1953-1954 (Kronenberg 1958: no. 2). Together, these documents provide comprehensive information on Teda culture, history, environment, settlement pattern, clan system, material culture, and religious life.

The remaining documents compliment these classic ethnographic accounts with additional information. One of these documents provides a general description of Teda culture and society based on fieldwork both in Tibesti and two other locations not covered by previous researchers (Cline 1950, no. 1). A second document is an ethnographic dictionary with covers numerous small but often unique bits of information on a wide range of topics (Le Coeur 1950: no. 3). The remaining last document is a journal article discussing how the Teda came to conquer the Chadian State by establishing dominance in central government in the later 1970s and early 1980s (Buijtenhuijs 2001, no. 9).

For more detailed information on the context of the individual works in the file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Teferi Adem

Ader –herd, livestock– Use DOMESTICATED ANIMALS ( 231) with PASTORAL ACTIVITIES ( 233)

Arbi –identification marks imprinted on the body of livestock– Use PROPERTY IN MOVABLES ( 422) with PASTORAL ACTIVITIES ( 233)

Derdai –clan chief– Use STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE ( 554) with CLANS ( 618)

Doore –Gift of reconciliation, often a goat and/or a date of palm– Use GIFT GIVING ( 431) with INFORMAL IN GROUP JUSTICE ( 627)

Madagal –bride price– Use MODE OF MARRIAGE ( 583)

Malma –men educated in the Quran– Use PRIESTHOOD ( 793)

Sadaqa –offering to Allah– Use PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES ( 782)

Zakat –obligatory alms giving– Use PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES ( 782) with RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE ( 781)

Indexing Notes by

Teferi Adem

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