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#266
Madagascar
Keymaster

A 10-year-old girl is fishing for the trap when she is “captured”. It is towards the last years of the “Kingdom of Madagascar”. She is then dragged to Ikalamavony Fort where she is kept with other people. She grew up there and had her first child, before being transferred as “gadralava” in a concession of the governor in Imerina. It is there that his descendants, one of whose daughters is the informant of David Rasamuel (academic review of historical studies “Omaly sy anio”, N ° 15, 1982), are still living after independence.
It is from this testimony of the young captive she transmits to her daughter, that the author tries to reconstruct the history of the deportees of Ikalamavony. “According to her, these gadralava, brought to Imerina, are captured people, including children keeping cattle, fishing or working in the fields. “
According to the author, this case is not unique because other children and adolescents disappear in this way in the nineteenth century. “Abduction is undoubtedly a common practice at the time, because we also reported the similar case of a little girl from Ambohimanganiovana who played in the fields. She was abducted and brought back to the Vorimahery, “the author wrote in the same university magazine, but in 1979.
The kidnapping of existing people, David Rasamuel in search the responsible. According to her informant, this is an initiative of the governor of Ikalamavony who has himself launched these abductions: “Captured people … who obey him since he is the governor”, she maintains. But the author adds a precision to this assertion: she seems not to remember or she does not know that her mother “had been captured and then sold to the Komandy”. However, he adds, if they are not directly responsible or accomplices of slave traders, “the governor and his collaborators tolerate this practice since they buy the product”.
In some cases, it is not a question of kidnapping, but of genuine raids organized by armed groups, as Decary specified in 1958. “The villages are then attacked in the evening, then the inhabitants and their property kidnapped, Villagers are women and children. “
In 1961, Jean-Pierre Domenichini commented: “The looters had … support and allies among merina or betsileo officials. It is therefore difficult for David Rasamuel to conceive that “the grandees of the fort of Ikalamavony do not benefit from the booty from these raids”.
He then summarizes that these are so many different possibilities that allow the governor to acquire a particular workforce. According to her informant, who always refers to the words of her old captive mother, before sending these people to Imerina, he assembled them in Ikalamavony. “These gadralava were then locked up together in a cell waiting for their deportation. There, they lived in unenviable conditions. “
The informant insists: “They were gathered in a kind of garage … we kept them there like we would raise chickens. “
When these people who lose their freedom (slaves, convicts, prisoners of war, captives …), are quite numerous, they are entrusted to “Manamboninahitra” (officers) and “miaramila” (soldiers) charged to convey them in Imerina. For this, “the deportees, connected to one another, travel by night, and by day they hide or, more exactly, they are forced to hide …”
According to Domenichini, the prisoners are “tied with the same rope to the hands and the neck … The people are hindered and led by nocturnal marches to the cave of the forest of Imaina. “
Lastly, David Rasamuel pointed out that it was under the same conditions that the Bara deported the Betsileo who had been taken prisoner during their raids and destined for sale in the Sakalava country in 1883. That is, at a time when trafficking Slaves is already banned throughout the Kingdom of
Madagascar.