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Author of the Entry:
Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Karolina Anna Kulpa, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pierre Keubou (Storyteller)
Age of narrator: 56 (in 2018)
Social status: Commoner
Language of narration: Ngiembᴐᴐŋ
Bio prepared by Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, email@example.com
Cultural Background: The Bamougong people are from the Bamboutos in the West Region of Cameroon. They are situated between Latitude 50 and 60 N and 90 and 110 E. They speak Ngiembᴐᴐŋ, and, just like most villages of the West Region, they worship ancestral skulls and celebrate funerals. The people have sacred dances that are coordinated by mask leaders. Further, the nature of burial in the Bamougong land depends on the social status of the deceased. Apart from their belief in ancestors, they worship personal gods whose houses are built at the entrance of compounds. Lastly, the people perform widowhood rites, practice polygamy, and their society is patrilineal.
See: Yemmafouo, Aristide, "Morcellement et Concentration Foncière: des Réalités Complexes En Pays Bamiléké, L’exemple du Département des Bamboutos (Cameroun)", ColloqueInternational Les Frontières de la Question Foncière–At the Frontier of Land Issues, Montpellier, 2006.
Occasion: staged (date of performance: December 28, 2018)
In the beginning was Mbu’ Ngwòŋ or Ssé*. The world was the work of Mbu’ Ngwòŋ, that is, the earth or the ground. Mbu’ Ngwòŋ is a compound word, made up of “Mbu”, which means, to make or to create, and “Ngwòŋ”, which means the world. Earth created everything: animate and inanimate. In fact, everything came into existence thanks to the Earth. According to the myth, the world is found at Nzsyè**, which means, the beginning, starting point or cradle of humanity***. In Bangang, the superior kingdom of the Bamougong, there is lefòmό Nzsyè, a sacred forest. In this sacred forest there is Efǔŋe lá, a mysterious crack on earth. The first ancestors came out of this crack. This is why the Bamougong people gather every year at Nzsyè to worship their gods and ancestors, and in turn, take home FfoSsé, (the medicine of God) to protect their entire realm and individual households.
* The name of the supreme deity among the Bamougong.
** Nzsyè is a locality in the Bangǎŋ kingdom.
*** The Bamougong migrated with this myth to their present location. They constitute part of the Bantu people who settled in Cameroon.
The Bamougong creation myth with its interposing nature can be compared to other creation myths wherein the genesis of things is associated with a particular place and particular god. It proceeds to provincialize other existing versions of myths on the question of the cradle of humanity by articulating vehemently that Nzsyè is not just that starting point or genesis of thing but the cradle of humanity. The supreme deity in Bamougong, was equally Ssé, literally rendered as earth or ground. Later, the Bamougong performer notes, the crack on the earth gave birth to animate and inanimate objects, which constituted the world. From all indications, and as our informants confirmed, the Bamougong and the Bangang people, who are of Bantu origin, migrated from North Africa to their present location bringing with them this myth. Thus the idea of the cradle of humanity was at their origin. The new sacred grounds and other areas which they see today as the starting point are abodes of their ancestors. N.B. Africa has long been viewed by scientists as the cradle of humanity (see Research led by Mohamed Sahnouni*, 2017, and Cheikh Anta Diop**, 1974).
* Mohamed Sahnouni et al., Evidence of Homo Erectus Subsistence Activities from the Acheulean site of Tighennif Algeria, researchgate.net, accessed: October 30, 2019.
** Diop, Cheikh Anta, The African Origin of Civilisation: Myth or Reality, Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 1974.
Diop, Cheikh Anta, The African Origin of Civilisation: Myth or Reality, Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 1974.
Sprout, Barbara, Primal Myths: Creation around the World, San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1979.
Von Franz, Marie-Louise, Creation Myths, Boston: Shambhala, 1995.
Mohamed Sahnouni et al., Evidence of Homo Erectus Subsistence Activities from the Acheulean site of Tighennif Algeria, researchgate.net, accessed: October 30, 2019.
Method of data collection: Tape recording and note taking
Researcher: Divine Che Neba
Assistant researcher: Yemeta Keubou Amelie Mireille