The Soninke and family to distance:

The difficulties related to family reunification in France (divorce insubordination of children), the development of inter-African migration (especially women) have prompted migrants to seek solutions to save the villages. Thus we see the emergence of strategies of choosing among the children who were born in France but raised in the traditional cell, and having had access to a good education, will perpetuate the migratory system while allowing the return home the previous generation. The family is now afraid to many men.
Family strategies of immigrants from African Sahel have evolved considerably since the sixties, which mark the beginning of the real wave of immigration to France. Today, several methods of managing family life coexist within this population, each striving to respond to the emergence of new factors that could challenge the dominant strategies pursued so far. This article is based on the results of recent investigations in France and Mali around the question of the relationship between fathers immigrants and their children back home.

It is first necessary to briefly recall that the original migration of the main groups of sub-Saharan Africans to France – mostly Fulani and Soninke – there was a very uniform strategy that has been the subject of much analysis from researchers who were interested in these populations at the time. The men went to France and almost always very young still single. They could finance their trip and the first months of their stay with the help of their relatives. Accountable to both their relatives and the village elders who took charge in the home where they met on their arrival in France, they had no choice but to comply with a defined strategy to advance by the elders. They first saw emigration as a means of perpetuating the existence of an economically fragile rural community. Gradually, the survival of the community depended mainly on remittances from emigrants. If these shipments will cease or decrease in volume, the village was in danger of disappearing. For alumni and community leaders committed to the survival of the farming community, the retention of women and children in the country represented a guarantee of return of foreign currency, and there has been a long time, on their part, a strong hostility to family emigration .

Married life began emigrants in general from the first return home, after a period of nearly ten years in France working to repay the aid made by the family and to save for the “bride price” and the cost of the first marriage. Subsequently, the management of family life followed a path well-defined and shared by the majority of men. The stay in France was limited to two or three years and were interspersed with stays at home more and longer. Returns were often marked by a new marriage and migrant discovered each new child that he had incurred during his last visit. When men finally retired to the country they were in the advantageous position of the head of a polygamous family affluent numerous descendants and enjoying the status of respected elder, acquired status over time.

Isolated men, women trust familliale

This harmonious organization began to change in the late seventies, without disappearing entirely, however. The interruption of economic immigration enacted by the French government in 1974, the beginning of the employment crisis, modernization of certain sectors, such as roads, where many Africans working in all this disturbance the organization of migration waterwheel, with amplification of the difficulties of returning home for longer stays. Then began to settle, in men, a certain weariness vis-à-vis the existence of the country far away from the family, in which not even the opportunity to know his own children.

On the other hand, in Africa, women were less satisfied with their lives in the village. Often under the tutelage of their stepmother’s brother or husband, they had to assume the maintenance of land and livestock, in addition to children’s education and services to elders. They imagined life in France much more pleasant and easier than life in the country. There have been from them at that time, a strong desire to settle in France, who joined the desire that before the men out of their isolation. Relatively flexible conditions that existed until 1984 to achieve family reunification facilitated the arrival of many families from rural areas of the Senegal valley.

The African immigration was then changed composition. We have seen the emergence of very large families, often face housing problems virtually insoluble, meeting many administrative difficulties and often stigmatized in front of a shocked French public opinion by practices such as polygamy and female circumcision. From 1984 to 1993, the rules on family reunification went hardening, including a concern for more and more marked to prevent the coming of polygamous families. Several news items were placed on the center stage these families from overcrowded substandard housing in poor housing, eviction of a municipality to another, camping on the station platform or on the esplanade of the castle of Vincennes. Beyond these difficulties have contributed to dramatic give a catastrophic Sahelian family immigration, there is a number of households were able to fit nevertheless satisfactorily in their local environment.

But a challenge to the appropriateness of the family begins to spread within immigration. It needs less administrative barriers set up by French law and the practical difficulties encountered and the emergence of relationship difficulties between parents and growing children. With the arrival of a teen age born at the beginning of the period of the first family reunion, conflicts are increasing and parents are increasingly disconcerted face disrespect young for them. The idea that it is impossible to raise children in France in accordance with African values ??is spreading among men who still live isolated and also affects the villages, where we see from time to time of return children expelled from France by parents who no longer support their indiscipline and who do not know how to restore their authority. Divorces are also more frequent, often at the request of wives, which is responsible for a series of rumors spread into the starting areas and tends to support the idea that in France the law outrageously promotes women and give systematically wrong husbands. All this produced a number of questions about the desirable evolution of management methods of the family, and then emerges new strategies on the part of both men and women.