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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 Nkemleke, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Gabriel Sira (Storyteller)
Age of narrator: 65 (in 2017)
Social status: Commoner
Profession: University lecturer
Language of narration: Mousgoum
Bio prepared by Divine Che Neba, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: The Mousgoums are a riverine central African people of the Noyen-Logone region of Cameroon. They are spread across the plains of north Cameroon, south western Chad and eastern Nigeria. They form part of the Kirdis group. Their traditional architecture has been greatly studied. Their ethnonym is drawn from their origin from the Mousgoum village. They speak a Chadian language and they are about 85 900, with 61 500 living in Cameroon alone. The village is located between Latitude 11°45'0” North and Longitude 14°39'0” East.
About a thousand years ago, the god of creation, Boumvouboum, together with his wife and the entire community, sent one of their daughters to the earth to find out how humans were reproducing their progenies. They had just noticed an exponential growth in the human population given that before then, humans were few and their lack of belief led to frequent deaths. So they chose to send their daughter to be born into the family of a very young couple. As a result, this couple gave birth to two children, a boy and a girl. When they grew up, the girl started manifesting some supernatural powers.
As the children grew up, they also noticed that their mother was hated by the clan for giving birth to children of opposite sexes, which was considered as a sign of ill-omen in the community. The family of their father was even of the opinion that the children should be killed to prevent more calamities in the society. Adamant not to kill their offspring, the young couple decided to leave the village for another village known as the land of warriors. Thanks to assistance from one of the warriors, these children grew up knowing their true powers. The boy had the power to cause the rain to fall, and the girl was a prophetess. When they came of age, their mother suggested that they should marry. The custom demanded parents help their children in finding a good spouse, when they came of age.
Then the girl met a young, tall and handsome man. Coincidentally, she had a vision from her father, the creator, revealing that the young man is her rightful husband. So, she agreed to marry him and a great feast was organized by both families. Later, this daughter of God gave birth to a beautiful daughter who also had the power to transform into a mermaid. Each time her daughter was sent to the stream to fetch water, she would transform to a mermaid and go into the water in order to communicate with the water Gods, and learn from them how to cast destructive spells on anyone who attempted to hurt her or her family. As time moved on, the bridegroom’s family wanted more children from them, but the woman could no longer bear a child. After many futile attempts to produce a baby, the husband’s family decided to get him a second wife. The young girl, understanding that her mother would be mistreated, cast a spell on her step-mother, and she gave birth to a blind child. To her greatest dismay, this blind child grew up to love her (mermaid) a great deal. He became so attached to her that she went and pleaded with the Gods to restore his sight but they refused. The blind boy grew up to be loved by his clan.
One day, a powerful member of the clan, led by an evil spirit, on realizing that the girl was ripe for marriage, seized her and forcefully married her, without seeking any parental consent. The Gods of the land and the sea were greatly angered, and decided to strike the village with a plague. There was drought for sixty years and the people started dying one after the other. The couple took their children and left the land for good. From that the day humans learnt that parental consent is necessary for any marriage.
The gods, in most world mythologies, have displayed varied behavioral patterns, making it difficult for humanity to be able to have a clear assessment of them. Inasmuch as they are sometimes compassionate, merciful, generous, dynamic, to mention a few positive traits, they can be also rancorous, vengeful and uncompromising. These different qualities are evident in the gods of the riverine Noyen.
Peek, Philip M., ed. Twins in African and Diaspora Cultures: Double Trouble, Twice Blessed, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2011.
The Gods’ Plum Tree (accessed: December 20, 2020).
The Lake That Travelled With the Undesirable Twins (accessed: December 20, 20202).
Researcher: Divine Che Neba
Assistant researcher: Joel Badi Hourloum
Method of data collection: Tape recording and note taking