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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.19

Modern position of the traditional Ngoni leaders (cross-cultural research experience)


  • Elena VALIEVA

Primary authors


A lot of researchers predicted disappearance of chiefs from the lives of the modern African countries. The chiefs, having been the instruments of colonial administration, integrated into the State apparatus were supposed to be replaced by elected politicians. At present, there is an opportunity to assess the position of the Ngoni traditional leaders due to the sociological survey’s data analysis of Afrobarometer 2005-2015. Apart from the Ngoni respondents as monitoring category, Chewa, Yao, Nyanja, and Tumbuka people, whose languages are currently spoken by the majority of the Ngoni, were also integrated into the survey. First and foremost, in all the communities under consideration, democratic attitudes of the respondent’s majority are being revealed. Nepotism and autocracy were condemned. It is necessary to highlight the care towards the traditional leader’s political neutrality. According to the fact, there is no ethnical specificity in the evaluation of the activities done by the traditional leaders as well as the elected politicians. The direction of the leader’s authority is rather limited: resolving local disputes and land distribution. The Ngoni traditional leaders have credibility of high level, approval of their authority and influence, that according to respondent’s expectations will increase in future. Although, since the colonial authorities have been established, the chiefdom has no longer been playing its former role, but the traditional leaders themselves occupied their own niche in the specific hybrid political system. It is possible to predict that the borders between elected politicians and the Ngoni traditional leaders will gradually vanish.

[This research has been supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project No. 18-011-00644)].