The status of ancestors in African anthropology has been much discussed over the course of the 20th century. Some of the classic texts are presented, along with some of the correspondence that has resulted in the columns of the professional journal Man (now JRAI). These discussions provide an analytic framework which may be used to assess the Mambila case material that follows. Mambila is an interesting case to consider since it remains unclear whether or not the Mambila can meaningfully be said to have ancestors. The readings and case material allow the readers to make their own minds up.