Three years have passed since the printed version of BULUK 5 appeared. The rather long interval between BULUK 5 and 6 does not imply that we’ve been inactive. In the interim we have updated our website with more material made available to us by our readers and other sources; this material has included articles, photos and the latest events in and about Buluk. The Internet version of our journal has virtually replaced the printed one, and we are proud to state that our website has had 5400 visitors so far. In 2011 alone it was visited 1875 times! Given that it hardly had 50 annual visitors in the beginning, the current figures are very encouraging.
It is refreshing to note that the increasing use of the Internet by Bulsa living in Ghana to download articles and photos, especially via their mobile phones, has played an important role in this positive development. The same devices are also used to take photos at important events, e.g. during the Sandemnaab’s funeral and the Fiok festival, and the editors of BULUK have profited from these immensely. With this in mind, we wish to express our gratitude to all Bulsa and friends of Bulsa who have allowed us to download and print their photos in BULUK 6.
BULUK 6 focuses on "Chieftaincy," though it also includes bits and pieces on other matters of relevance and interest. In collaboration with the Bulsa chiefs and interested individuals, we have been able to fill this issue with data and articles on the subject, which received even more public attention and interest when, on November 14th, 2006, the Sandemnaab, Dr. Ayieta Azantinlow, died and many people sought to review his reign as well as those of his predecessors. The event also raised questions about his possible successor and future of the paramountcy in Bulsa.
The editors of BULUK have always cherished a lively dialogue with their readers. In the beginning our Internet editions had a "guestbook" (something that’s rather old-fashioned these days) aimed at offering our readers the possibility of commenting on our articles and contributing constructive criticism. Unfortunately, all the entries consisted of effusive praise and did not really help us to overcome the foibles of the first editions. As a result we removed this "guestbook" after a year or so.
In 2011 Bulubisa Meina Yeri (BMY) was founded. The Facebook social networking initiative aimed at mobilizing and uniting Bulsa and friends of Bulsa in a collective effort to help in the social, cultural and economic development of Buluk quickly became a forum for lively discussions on nearly all aspects of Bulsa life. A kind of co-operation between BMY and BULUK has just started. The editors of BULUK are informed about the latest political and social events in the Bulsa districts, while the authors of BULUK can contribute data and join in discussions from their respective points of view. In the long term, the organization and the journal may complement each other.
With more than 1400 informal members, BMY is a source of more up-to-date information for BULUK. Nevertheless, there is a serious handicap that needs to be pointed out to the BMY administrators: Most texts are no longer available a few days after they appear on the BMY Facebook wall. When possible, then, BULUK can, in addition to storing the longer papers on cultural, historical, linguistic and literary topics, function as an archive for important BMY contributions and events.
Although they share readership to a certain degree, the materials published by the two groups still differ in focus and physical form. While BMY reaches a large number of literate Bulsa who have access to the Internet, the readers of BULUK are also comprised of non-Bulsa anthropologists, Africanists, historians, tourists, development workers, etc. The printed copies of our journal are made available to a select group of libraries in Ghana so that Bulsa without access to the Internet can also read it.
Let us hope that in the future both BMY and BULUK will help strengthen ties among all Bulsa, provide good information and foster a deep understanding to all people who are interested in Bulsa culture and society.
Having published and concluded work on BULUK 6 and its main feature “Chieftaincy,” the editors are considering BULSA HISTORY as the main topic for the next issue, BULUK 7. We welcome other suggestions.
Finally, it is our hope that the present printed edition of BULUK 6 has found and will still find good resonance among all its readers.
Ghanatta Ayaric and Franz Kröger
(Editors of BULUK 6)