This article examines the 'gendered field' of kaolinite clay production and its integration into the local socio-cultural universe of the Balengou of the Western region of Cameroon. Kaolinite clay is produced and ingested mainly by women, especially during pregnancy so as to ensure that their children are born 'clean'. Used as a herbal additive, the clay is also believed to be imbued with sacred qualities and has a symbolic role in various communal rituals. Although geophagy—the practice of eating earth—is associated with harmful health effects, the various affordances offered by kaolinite clay as a valuable object of material culture constitute a specific entanglement of nature and culture. This study makes a modest contribution to the literature on the 'politics of value' and on the relationality of human/non-human interactions.
Performance Characteristics among the Balengou
Ngambouk V. Pemunta
Jens Kreinath and Refika Sariönder
practice of secrecy ( Erol 2010: 378–386 ; Kehl–Bodrogi 1988: 187 ; Vorhoff 1995: 62–70 ). The cem , which will be discussed in detail below, gained prominence through this transformation within the Alevi community. The cem is a communal ritual