Lisbet has been conducting research in Ngaoundéré, in the state of Adamoua in northern Cameroon since 1982.
During the first years, she concentrated on women, family life and people’s life choices against the backdrop of modernization processes. She was especially interested in how the introduction of western education has been transforming the gender, identity and power relations. At the same time, she spent time on the ouskirts of urban areas, working with the nomadic populations who went through the rapid process of sedentarization and Islamization.
Since the early 1990’s she increasingly turned towards studying up – exploring the life of powerful personalities from Ngaoundéré, whose decisions had a significant impact on the society at large. While occupying central positions in closely interdependent spheres of politics, economy and religion, those individuals have often generated mixed feelings among the local population. The aim of these studies was to contextualise the life choices of those in power and show the various layers and conflicting forces with which they had to deal in everyday life.
In 1992 she completed a BBC produced film “The Sultan’s Burden” about the Sultan of Adamaoua, Issa Maigari during the rapid socio-political changes of the early 1990’s.
In 1997 she began filming Al Hajji Ousmanou Mohammadou Abbo, one of the richest industrialist in Cameroon. The result of the filming process that lasted nearly fifteen years is the film “The Chateau”.
In the meantime she has also filmed the life in the polygamous family of Alhajji Ibrahin Gonji, Ngaoundere’s religious authority who served as alkali (Islamic judge) at the court of seven consecutive Sultan’s of Adamaoua. The material was recently edited into a film“Wives”.