West African pilgrims in Sudan believe that walking across the savannas and desert is the only proper way of performing the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. However, their journey appears to stop halfway in Sudan, where many of them reside in stranger enclaves as fourth- and fifth-generation immigrants. Describing themselves as transients, they see these villages as temporary stations on their way to Mecca. This book examines life in a set of pilgrim villages to show how the concept of pilgrimage is maintained. It examines why these people allow themselves to live in a state of permanent transition, and argues that here pilgrimage is a symbolic journey analogous to life itself.
It fills a significant gap in ourethnographic knowledge of the Sudan...unlike most anthropologists who haverecently worked there, he has produced a monograph which tells us somethingabout that part of the world that we did not know before.