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Author of the Entry:
Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Raissa Tiola (Storyteller)
Age of narrator: 62 (in 2017)
Language of narration: Mbafung
Bio prepared by Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Background*: Bamessingue, a village in the Mbouda subdivision of the Bamboutos division of the West of Cameroon is located at Latitude 5° 38' 28.4532” North and Longitude 10° 13’ 17.7852” East. The people of Bamessingue, like other Bamilékés of the West Region of Cameroon, are of the Tikar origin and migrated to their present location. Also called Singhe, and its people Mbassinghe, the people speak Mbafung like the Babadjou, their closest neighbours. They are predominantly farmers and cattle grazers and believe in ancestral lineages. They believe that the dead are not dead, and have the possibility of helping the living in times of need.
Seh Lechuere: The name of the supreme deity among the Bamessingue of the West region of Cameroon.
* Source: babadjou.net (accessed: January 16, 2019).
There lived a happy man called Negoue, with his family in a village called Tikato. He was very generous and kind. In fact, he was loved by everyone. He was a farmer, with very productive farms and the Gods also blessed him with many wives and children.
One day, a spirit appeared to him at night and told him, “Don't feel frightened; I want to warn you of the evils that will befall this village in a few days; I advise you to leave this place together with your family and settle elsewhere. While there, you shall be the leader and in leading them, be humble.” Few days later, war broke out in Tikato, and Negoue decided to move to Bamessingue with all his family. They settled there peacefully and took agriculture as their main activity. The population grew day after day and Negoue, who was known as the founder of the land, was very much respected.
One morning when he got up from bed, he felt very tired because he had worked so much the previous day. It was raining heavily, with rampant thunderous bolts that were accompanied by a raging storm. It raged on for long at some houses and entire farms were destroyed. In the midst of this violent storm, a frightening voice spoke to him. It sounded like the voice he once heard when he was in Tikato. It was the same spirit which had appeared to him. The voice said, “Listen, Negoue, I am very happy with your leadership skills. You are very humble, and that is what I wanted of you. Do you remember me? I am the one who asked you to leave Tikato to come and settle here. I am the one who sent the destructive rain. As from today, this village shall bear the name “Lechuere”, and you shall build a sacred shrine where the people of this village will worship the God called “Seh Lechuere”.
Negoue built the shrine, which served as a sacred worship grove for the people. When anyone had any problem, he went to “Seh Lechuere” to ask for solutions. Each season, before planting, all the villagers gathered at Seh Lechuere to beg the gods to make their crops grow well. During the period of harvest, they equally worshipped Seh Lechuere and thanked him for the good harvest.
This is the story behind the sacred god “Seh Lechuere”, who is the supreme deity among the Bamessingue people.
Prophetic revelations in most African myths relating to the origin and settlement of Kingdoms/chiefdoms show that the migratory nature, or population movements, of most African societies was to an extent motivated by spiritual factors. This fact has been ignored by most historians, who lay emphasis mostly on political, social, economic and geographical factors. Myths within this domain help to highlight salient spiritual reasons for migration or population movements. As myths within this category suggest, both terrestrial and celestial forces always intervened as the pilgrims or migrants moved into their Promised Land. Thus, prophetic revelations from humanity, the Gods, spirits and oracles became part and parcel of their lifestyle. This phenomenon is not only African but Global.
Myth of the Origin of the Babungo People (accessed: December 20, 2020).
Researcher: Divine Che Neba
Assistant researcher: Flavine Tiendze Fomekong
Method of data collection: Tape recording and note taking