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Madagascar
Keymaster

Looking at some excerpts from the “Grand Dictionnaire de Madagascar” manuscript of Barthélémy Huet de Froberville, a somewhat strange term strikes: “Dian’d’Zanhar”. It is a compound word made of Dian and Zanahary or Andriananahary (Lord, God) to become a proper name. According to the author, Dianjanahary is the son and successor of Ramaromanompo on the throne of Fulpointe and Betsimisaraka. His mother is Matavy, daughter of the king of the Sakalava and it is politics that forms this alliance where “the heart never had room”.
According to Mayeur, the reign of Diandzanhar is violent and of short duration. Thus he died detested of his people towards the end of 1762 leaving the throne to his son Iavy. On the other hand, Legentil explains otherwise the reason for this violence. In fact, according to him, it is aroused by the exasperation of the prince in the face of certain intrigues traced against him by Frenchmen established in his kingdom. In the same vein, Froberville speaks of “Diamananh” whose roots are Dian (God) and the verb “manana” (having, possess). Flacourt explains that the Malagasies revere this god in gold.
“When the Madcasses see gold, they show a deep respect. When they hold it in their hands, they pass it over their head with great veneration. “
“If they think they have committed a fault, they imagine that by soaking a shackle of gold in a vase full of water and drinking this water their sins will be forgiven. Flacourt speaks above all of the peoples of the south-east of the island. Froberville considers that, by this affirmation, the latter shows the “Madecasse idolâtre”. And he replies by the contrary. For him, the Malagasy’s respect for gold “is nothing more solemn than that of the Europeans who see it as the representative of all goods.”
Turning to another word, “dihi”, dance (dihy), Flacourt, always speaking of the peoples of Anosy, maintains that they dance by spinning, walking in a row, observing the cadence and certain movements, Drums or songs, and “by answering every two
Or four that start the song “. The dancers, generally men, “make a thousand postures of ballet that incite to laugh”, while respecting the rhythm.
In other places, some hold a stick in their hand and “handle it with rather good grace”. In the bay of Antongil and its surroundings at last, the way of dancing “is quite
Ridiculous “. The reason advanced by Flacourt to argue this assertion is equally
ridiculous. “Men do not dance there and dance only two women at a time. “
Tackling another theme, that of the different glus that exist on the Big Island, Froberville quotes some of them. Starting with the “ant glu”, the ditanbitsic (ditambitsika) which is found on small branches of trees or pieces of dry wood. “The natives use it to subjugate the sleeves of their spells into the sleeves. “
There is also “ditanintsi” (ditankintsy), a gum drawn from the “hintsy” according to Chattan. According to Flacourt, it is a black gum like ink and an astringent taste that flows from a tree similar to acacia. They rub them for the healing of sores and ulcers. “The natives rub their face to prevent wrinkles. “
The ditanpouraha (ditamporaha) is the French-speaking Malagasy name for the very fragrant greenish resin that comes from the “fouraha” described by Flacourt. In the north, it is called “ahiboka”.
Finally, the “ditivoazin” (ditimboanjiny) or the gum of Zin as it is called Valgny. For Froberville according to all appearances, it is the same as the “vouazine” of Rochon, the
“Vazoene” and “vazouam” of Mayeur, the “vozone” of Flacourt. According to Valgny, this gum reminds one of yellow wax. When it is melted, it turns into tar. “The fruit resembles a flat chestnut. A fat similar to lard and a strong odor is obtained. It is used to accommodate eating.