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Mathieu Djele

God and His People

YEAR:

COUNTRY: Cameroon

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Title of the work

God and His People

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Cameroon

Original Language

Fefe

Country of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Cameroon

Full Date of the Recording of the Story for the Databasey

December 12, 2016

More Details of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Bafang

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Crossover (Young adults + adults)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, nebankiwang@yahoo.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Katarzyna Marciniak and team members in University Warsaw, kamar@al.uw.edu.pl

Male portrait

Mathieu Djele (Storyteller)

Age of Narrator: 54 (in 2017)

Social status: Notable

Profession: Driver

Language of narration: Fefe


Bio prepared by Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, nebankiwang@yahoo.com


Origin/Cultural Background/Dating

Background: Bafang is situated 300km North of Yaoundé; the political and administrative capital of Cameroon. It is in the West region of Cameroon and has a surface area of 80 square kilometers. It lies at the heart of the territory of the Bamiléké people. Like most Bamiléké people of the West region of Cameroon, the Bafang people believe in the worship of ancestral spirits. Their spirituality is evident in the multiplicity of natural and man-made shrines they possess. These sacred places range from natural habitats to homes. The ancestors to them are more or less living in the spiritual realm and the world beyond. They hold them in high esteem because they serve as intermediaries between the living and the dead.

Occasion: Staged Performance

Summary

Once upon a time, God used to live, chat, and eat with his people. He lived together with human beings. All things were decided by him [God] before they were done by them [the people]. One day God wanted to make a visit around the world. But before leaving his people he told them not to bury anyone who dies in his absence. They should not dare to perform any burial. God left for his tour in the planting season. Not long after, when all crops were planted, a man who had been sick for years, died. People came to see the corpse. Only men and women old enough were permitted to see the corpse. Soon the corpse started to decompose and to send out a bad smell. And the people continued waiting for God to come back. The smell became so strong that the people felt uncomfortable and started falling sick. One day the people decided to go and bury the corpse in the forest. Not long after the corpse was buried, God returned from his visit. God asked whether everything was all right. The people said that all was well, except the death of the old sick man. They added that as the corpse was putrefying they decided to bury it. God burst out in anger. He could not stand such deliberate disobedience. “These people must be left to themselves,” God said. 

God could not return to live with such disobedient people. He left them and went up to the sky. The people remained alone on earth. They lived like sheep without a shepherd. They were disorderly; they quarreled among themselves. Many troubles started coming on them. Each one started solving his own problems in the way he thought was fitting. Some found God too far away from them. They preferred having a god near them, a god that could hear and see their problems. Many started creating their own private gods to solve some of their problems. These private gods [according to the people of the Western Region of Cameroon] can be found in strange and frightful places like caves, thick forests, and in some villages even in the places where ancestors have been buried.

Analysis

This myth shares similar themes of disobedience and punishment; as well as the physical separation between man and God.


Further Reading

Kouega, Jean-Paul. Le Peuple Baloum: Origines, evolution et perspectives. University of Yaoundé 1: Association Baloum 10 (AL10), 1995.

Myth Origin of EVU (Evil Spirit) and AWU (Death) Amongst the Beti-Fang, Cameroon (accessed: January 21, 2021).

Scheub, Harold. A Dictionary of African Mythology: The Mythmaker as Storyteller, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Addenda

Method of data collection: Note taking

Researchers: Divine Che Neba and Gabriel Djele (trans.)

Editors: Daniel Nkemleke

Yellow cloud
Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

God and His People

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Cameroon

Original Language

Fefe

Country of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Cameroon

Full Date of the Recording of the Story for the Databasey

December 12, 2016

More Details of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Bafang

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Crossover (Young adults + adults)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, nebankiwang@yahoo.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com

Katarzyna Marciniak and team members in University Warsaw, kamar@al.uw.edu.pl

Male portrait

Mathieu Djele (Storyteller)

Age of Narrator: 54 (in 2017)

Social status: Notable

Profession: Driver

Language of narration: Fefe


Bio prepared by Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, nebankiwang@yahoo.com


Origin/Cultural Background/Dating

Background: Bafang is situated 300km North of Yaoundé; the political and administrative capital of Cameroon. It is in the West region of Cameroon and has a surface area of 80 square kilometers. It lies at the heart of the territory of the Bamiléké people. Like most Bamiléké people of the West region of Cameroon, the Bafang people believe in the worship of ancestral spirits. Their spirituality is evident in the multiplicity of natural and man-made shrines they possess. These sacred places range from natural habitats to homes. The ancestors to them are more or less living in the spiritual realm and the world beyond. They hold them in high esteem because they serve as intermediaries between the living and the dead.

Occasion: Staged Performance

Summary

Once upon a time, God used to live, chat, and eat with his people. He lived together with human beings. All things were decided by him [God] before they were done by them [the people]. One day God wanted to make a visit around the world. But before leaving his people he told them not to bury anyone who dies in his absence. They should not dare to perform any burial. God left for his tour in the planting season. Not long after, when all crops were planted, a man who had been sick for years, died. People came to see the corpse. Only men and women old enough were permitted to see the corpse. Soon the corpse started to decompose and to send out a bad smell. And the people continued waiting for God to come back. The smell became so strong that the people felt uncomfortable and started falling sick. One day the people decided to go and bury the corpse in the forest. Not long after the corpse was buried, God returned from his visit. God asked whether everything was all right. The people said that all was well, except the death of the old sick man. They added that as the corpse was putrefying they decided to bury it. God burst out in anger. He could not stand such deliberate disobedience. “These people must be left to themselves,” God said. 

God could not return to live with such disobedient people. He left them and went up to the sky. The people remained alone on earth. They lived like sheep without a shepherd. They were disorderly; they quarreled among themselves. Many troubles started coming on them. Each one started solving his own problems in the way he thought was fitting. Some found God too far away from them. They preferred having a god near them, a god that could hear and see their problems. Many started creating their own private gods to solve some of their problems. These private gods [according to the people of the Western Region of Cameroon] can be found in strange and frightful places like caves, thick forests, and in some villages even in the places where ancestors have been buried.

Analysis

This myth shares similar themes of disobedience and punishment; as well as the physical separation between man and God.


Further Reading

Kouega, Jean-Paul. Le Peuple Baloum: Origines, evolution et perspectives. University of Yaoundé 1: Association Baloum 10 (AL10), 1995.

Myth Origin of EVU (Evil Spirit) and AWU (Death) Amongst the Beti-Fang, Cameroon (accessed: January 21, 2021).

Scheub, Harold. A Dictionary of African Mythology: The Mythmaker as Storyteller, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Addenda

Method of data collection: Note taking

Researchers: Divine Che Neba and Gabriel Djele (trans.)

Editors: Daniel Nkemleke

Yellow cloud