Willis, Roy. 1989. “The Peace Puzzle in Ufipa.” In Societies at Peace: Anthropological Perspectives, edited by Signe Howell and Roy Willis, p.133-145. London: Routledge.

What prompted the Fipa society of southwest Tanzania, numbering about 150,000 people in recent years, to abandon warfare and change into a remarkably peaceful, though still energetic and competitive society? Willis plumbs for reasons in the worldviews of the Fipa, which include a dualistic vision of personhood that polarizes human nature between the head, meaning maleness, intellectual control, seniority, and fixity, and the loins, meaning femaleness, fertility, sexuality, juniority, movement, and energy. But the individual Fipa person is composed of both attributes, so that the proper operation of the inner cosmos results in pleasant behavior, peacefulness, and docility, while its disruption would lead to madness and non-humanity. Another result of these complementary beliefs is a social system in which men and women eat and play board games together as equals. The Fipa evidently realized, 150 years ago, before the first European contact, that their violence and warfare was destructive, so they decided to change their society, to channel their energies into forming two new states molded around their conception of complementarity.

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