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Crossover (young adults + adults)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Eleanor Anneh Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Julius Mboh Angwah, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Musi Seth Pie (Storyteller)
Age of narrator: 30 (in 2018)
Social status: Notable
Language of narration: English
Bio prepared by Eleanor Anneh Dasi, University of Yaounde, firstname.lastname@example.org and Julius Mboh Angwah, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Background*: Bafanji is one of the thirteen villages that make up the Ngo-Ketunjia Division, in the North West Region of Cameroon. Their forefathers are believed to have migrated about 450 years ago from the Ndobo Tikar group in the Adamaoua, and settled at their present site. The village was formed by Vhenji, one of the daughters of Mangeh, the first ancestor of the Ngo-Ketunjia. The king is the administrative ruler and the spiritual leader of the land but however shares his authority with the council of elders. Membership to these offices is hereditary. The people’s main occupation is food crop cultivation. They worship their ancestors in shrines, though many of them have embraced Christianity.
* Source: bafanji.org(accessed: January 3, 2019).
In the days of the forefathers, the Bafanji people had too many problems. Besides tribal wars, they were also faced with the problem of famine and unjustifiable deaths. One day, a man left his family at home and went hunting into the forest but never came back. His wife waited for a week and didn’t see him. So she went into the forest in search of him. After searching for hours everywhere in vain, she sat on a stone crying, and soon fell asleep.
When she got up, she noticed that she wasn’t where she had fallen asleep. She was then in a place surrounded by rocks in the heart of the dense forest where she had been searching for her husband. She saw her husband’s hunting bag, cloths and other belongings beside a huge rock. She rushed to get them, but then realized that the rock could talk. The rock told her that its name was Mamagieh and that he was the God of the land. Mamagieh told her to tell everyone about him and to also inform the people that he would regularly protect them if they offer regular sacrifices to him. The lady was surprised to see a rock, shaped like a man that could talk. She asked of the whereabouts of her husband and the rock told her that her husband was the most virtuous man in Bafanji, so he was chosen to join him to redeem the land. Mamagieh assured the woman that she would never feel the absence of her husband because he was not dead but had been judged worthy by the spirits to support the land. Mamagieh further told the woman to tell the villagers that they could get whatever they wanted from him if only their intensions were genuine and their sacrifices substantial. The woman requested to see her husband and instantly her request was granted. Her husband appeared behind one of the rocks and consoled her.
The woman returned home, consoled by the revelations she had received. She went to the palace and informed the chief about the revelation. The chief quickly recalled that his own father had once told him that they hailed from the great rocks and that they would return back to the great rocks. He then believed the revelation and immediately summoned the villagers to his palace. When everyone gathered, the woman told them about her experiences, and also assured them of the possibility of obtaining whatever they wanted if only their intensions were genuine, and their sacrifices substantial. Because she transmitted the information to the people exactly the way Mamagieh had commanded her to do, Mamagieh decided to use her as the custodian of the shrine. Everyone who needed help would meet her for counseling on the quality and quantity of sacrifice to offer, and how well to offer it, so that their requests could be granted. Generations upon generations of the Bafanji people continue to worship Mamagieh even until today.
Rocks, stones, mountains, forests and caves are important elements in the beliefs of many world cultures. Not only are they connected to the mythologies of these various places (the gods and ancestors reside in such places), but they are also useful in building both mythical and ordinary structures. Mamangieh in the above myth is also presented as the spiritual guardian who grants the good-intentioned wishes of the Bafanji people.
Knappert, Jan. An Encyclopedia of Myth and Legend: African Mythology, London: Diamond Books, 1994.
Mbiti, John S. African Religion and Philosophy, London: Heinemann, 1969.
Parrinder, Geoffrey. African Mythology, London: Hamlyn Publishing, 1967.
Quarcoopome, T. N.O. West African Traditional Religion, Ibadan: African Universities Press, 1987.
Researcher: Eleanor Anneh Dasi
Research Assistant: Julius Angwah
Method of data collection: Tape recording
Editor: Didymus Tsangue Douanla