Between Hammers and Papers. Day to day struggles of a blacksmith entrepreneur from the iron market in Maroua, Far North Cameroon.
At the blacksmith market in Maroua, in the Far North region of Cameroon, the hammers clang all day long. Here, the local blacksmiths turn scrap iron into objects of everyday use. Car bodies become wheelbarrows, truck wheels are transformed into ploughs and smaller scrap iron parts end as spoons. The practices of blacksmiths are representative of many other places in Africa where recycling became a way to earn living and where many craftsmen form a part of large untaxed informal sector. Abakar, a young creative blacksmith running his workshop at the market wants to escape the viscous circle of tapping the hammer from dusk till dawn. He wants to modernize his workshop and create the first blacksmith enterprise in Far North Cameroon. Lacking capital in form of scholarly education, the abilities to write and read with ease, knowledge of computers and connection to people in power he encounter problems each time he leaves the market and enters bureaucratic arena. This thesis is an attempt to link the life-story and the day to day struggles of Abakar to the inequalities of chances and show the globalization from the bottom of African society, as experienced by someone who does not belong to the elite but wants nonetheless to make it. The paper is accompanied by a film of 52 minutes with the title “Noise That Brings Money” which presents many of the scenes which are described and analysed in this thesis.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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