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Author of the Entry:
Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hector Nembo Fomba (Storyteller)
Age of narrator: 55 (in 2017)
Language of narration: Mbafung
Bio prepared by Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Background: Historically, the present Babadjou people of the West region of Cameroon are offspring of the olden days Mbafung people, who were of Tikar Origin, like the Bamileke people. They were persecuted by Muslim war lords from the Adamawa region and they migrated downwards to finally settle at their present site. They speak the same language (Mbafung) like the Bamessingue, a village found in the Mbouda subdivision of the Bamboutos division of the West of Cameroon. Bamessingue people are located at Latitude 5° 38' 28.4532” North and Longitude10° 13’ 17.7852” East of the Equator. They were hunters and used rudimentary tools (including sticks) to hunt. The Babadjou take their ancestral lineage from Lagmago while the Bamessinggue from Longla (see here, accessed: January 11, 2019).
The Mbafung community of the West Region of Cameroon was founded by hunters from the Adamawa Region. Their hunting expedition took them to an unknown place where they saw a very big hole in the ground. Suddenly, the hole started emitting fire. They tried to run away but a voice spoke to them, “Don’t run away! I am your ancestor; I want you to listen to me very carefully. When this fire stops, I will send my son who will become the head of this village. This village will be named LaaMbafung. Respect him; multiply and fill the land. Give birth to as many children as possible so as provide yourselves with sufficient labour for the multiple farmlands”.
As soon as the fire stopped, a man emerged from the hole, just as the voice had revealed. He was the one the ancestor was talking about. He said, “I am Fokouk. My father sent me here to establish a settlement. We will work together to develop this area.”
Everything went on well. Fokouk took one of the women from the Adamawa as his wife. They lived happily, and she gave birth to twins. They were given the names Longla and Lagmago. The twins received the best education from their parents. Their father, Fokouk, was now very old. Just like before, he continued to give them good pieces of advice. One morning, Fokouk spoke to one of his advisors, “I am approaching death; I have done what my forefathers asked me to do in this place. Now, the time has come for me to join my ancestors. I will want my successor to be Longla because I love the way he thinks and acts. I want you to continue advising him the way you used to advise me.” A few hours after this conversation, the father of the land crossed over to the land of the spirits.
He was buried, and Longla succeeded to the throne. However, his twin brother, Lagmago, was very angry, because he expected his father to make him the successor. The whole village was surprised with this attitude of his brother because they had always shared everything together. He had never shown a sign of hatred or jealousy until Longla became King.
Lagmago, in his anger, decided to leave the village and to establish his own sovereignty elsewhere. Longla tried to persuade him not to go to no avail. Lagmago couldn’t bear to be under his twin brother, for he considered himself superior. When they got to a place called “Daakwong”, Longla realized that his brother couldn’t be convinced to return to their homeland. Longla then accepted his lot and decided to regain his palace though completely shattered by this new turn of events. Thus, both brothers separated there with Longla retuning to “Seung”, while Lagmago headed for “Soo”, where he established his own dynasty. Since then, the Mbafung clan has been divided into two: Bassoo and Basseung. Nonetheless, when it is time to pacify the Gods of the land, both meet at « Daakwong » because it is where the twin brothers separated.
The above myth falls under the category of prophetic myths. Such myths, though clothed in legendary material, have prophetic dimensions, with revelations prefiguring the future of a given people in terms of settlement, organization and leadership. The prophetic voice in the above myth names the village and assigns the people of Mbafung a dynamic leader at the origin of the kingdom. The ancestral spirits (or Gods) often intervene in most African communities to ensure continuity, peaceful co-existence and prevent power tussle. More often than not, the prophecy is accepted and executed to the letter. The prophetic figures were divinely inspired to pass messages on to humanity. These messages prefigured events, cautioned or cleared doubts on certain issues in the society, thereby creating some stability in the society.
Belcher, Stephen, ed. African Myths of Origin, Penguin Classics, 2006.
Researcher: Divine Che Neba
Assistant researcher: Flavine Tiendze Fomekong
Method of data collection: Tape recording and note taking