LAKA Information

Location: Southwestern Chad
Population: 100,000
Language: Laka/Mboum (Niger-Co
Neighbors: Sara, Cameroonian peoples, Fulani
Types of Art: Most Laka art are body arts, which are most evident during initiation.
History: It is believed that Laka peoples originated from the northwest in the area near Lake Chad and were pushed southward over the last two centuries by the expansion of the Fulani empire into their current location in southern Chad. They share linguistic and cultural ties with their Cameroonian neighbors who live to the south and were also pushed south by the Fulani.
Economy: Cotton is the primary crop grown for export. Millet and peanuts are also staples. Most Laka are sedentary farmers who plant seasonal crops during the rainy season, which extends from April to October.
Political Systems: Most villages are organized around a patrilineage. Leadership is accorded to those elders in the village who are able to trace their descent from the first Laka lineage to occupy the village. Other lineages may live in a village, but the descendents of the first lineage usually retain a paramount status. As such, they are responsible for heading initiation instruction and making most important agricultural decisions. A council of elders with representatives from each lineage work together to govern a village.
Religion: Laka religion centers around recognition of the ancestors. Ownership of land is directly tied to the founding ancestors' remains being buried on that land. Offerings are made to the ancestors daily in the form of libations and food offerings.
Credit: McIntyre, L. Lee and Christopher D. Roy. 'Art and Life in Africa Online.' 1998: The Art and Life in Africa Project,