Madamato The term derives from the word "Ma'am" by which, ever since a liberal, it is common in Eritrea indicate that living with a native Italian, and refers precisely to Cohabitation with a native woman, a form of relationship so widespread as to become common practice in the colony, and which very rarely leads to a legal regularization.
Since the early years of Italian presence in Eritrea, the phenomenon is justified by many as responders at the local institution's traditional "dämòz" - or marriage, "for hire" - a form of marriage contract term that binds the spouses to a reciprocity of obligations including, for man, that to have offspring even after the termination. Obligations which, in reality, you lose track in the form of union in place by the Italians, who do not usually see in madamato another form of temporary living, ensuring access to domestic and sexual performance, lets you essentially free constraints and responsibilities in respect of both the woman's offspring, in no way guaranteed.
Essentially a misunderstanding 'adaptation' to the local customary law, which allows an absolute disengagement Italian, free from legal obligations, moral and material especially when they return home, and already Ferdinando Martini, the first civil governor of Eritrea 1897 to 1907, believes a "deception" with regard to the native woman - that instead we consider legitimate wife - when deprived of the protections that the local custom, by contrast, guarantees, as well as in respect of children. The phenomenon of madamato generates a large number of mixed race, usually not recognized by the father, who most often end up hospitalized in children's homes run by the missions.
While there are examples of taking full responsibility on the part of Italians towards their children and cases of mixed race living comparable to the duration and quality of relationship to genuine marital relationship, in most cases, the custom of Madame configure, since the beginnings as a form of oppression, racial or gender affect who ends up too heavily on local socio-cultural balances.
Moreover, the justification of madamato as a form of adaptation - in the misunderstanding - the institute's traditional dämòz if valid in the case of Eritrea (which is also known throughout the territory), it accounts for its spread in other colonies and especially in Somalia where, ever since a liberal, is present to an extent perhaps greater than in Eritrea and the people, in almost all Muslim, have no familiarity with forms of temporary marriage (Libya coexistence with the native is known as mabruchismo from the Arabic word "mabrukah" indicating the woman).
Tolerated by the military commands of the time liberal who prefer the casual relationship with the prostitutes, not only for health reasons but also because of the greater stability of life that a society is able to ensure the military (which in fact are the majority residents in the colony, and who are prohibited from bringing into the colony's wife) Madame totally changes sign and becomes dangerous to the eyes of the Fascist regime, which he deems destructive to the integrity of the breed and for the prestige of ' Italy imperial alarm adequately put nell'ultimatum "Aut Aut Voluptas Imperium!" lanciato nel 1938 dal governatore dell'Harar, generale Guglielmo Nasi, in una sua ormai famosa circolare. launched in 1938 by Governor Hara, General Guglielmo Nasi, in his now famous circular.
To combat the problem and mitigate its effects, just two months after the proclamation of the empire, the Minister Lessona insists on a provision to Graziani (on 5 August 1936), the need to "require all married to bring families colony in the environment when conditions permit, "but also enjoins, in order to separate the two communities, to arrange their brothels, even peddlers, with women of white race."
The measure is largely ignored: as late as 1938, Asmara, is according to one brothel for a population of 57,000 Italians, mostly single men. One reason for this failure is that the measure proves to be not only inadequate to the needs of a growing male population, but also is potentially detrimental to the reputation that we want to uphold, race, in whose name many quarters it is considered inappropriate to offer the indigenous population the image of Italian women as prostitutes (the appeal to those Marseilles seems to be blocked by the French authorities of Djibouti for the same reasons).
The regulatory intervention by the regime of sexuality leads to ad hoc laws aimed at eradicating the practice of Madame - who becomes a criminal offense in 1937 - and does not affect, however, occasional reports, of which the state assumes management monitor and regulate the brothels of which, with the empire grows exponentially. One of the secondary consequences of racial politics of the regime and the resulting measures will be to tie more and more, in the collective imagination of the Italians, the image of women native to the prostitute.
‘Souvenir’ di un militare. Anni 1930