This section is based on a paper presented at the Satterthwaite colloquium on African Religion, 20-23 April 1991.
Suàgà names a set of ritual-oaths and masquerading cults, see Zeitlyn 1990b.
Sadly the debate about the significance of ancestors and how they should be represented quickly decayed into arguments about definitions and the best translation of individual words. See Kopytoff's original paper in Africa and the correspondence in Man following Calhoun's response: Kopytoff 1971, 1981,1982; Fortes 1981; Calhoun 1980,1981,1983.
The principal form of Mambila divination is performed with spiders or land crabs (a single term, nggam, is used for divination, divination spider and crab).
The extent to which this is an adaptation in response to Christian and Islamic teachings is extremely moot.
This is consistent with Horton's Conversion Hypothesis: that a high god cult develops as a result of closer involvement with the wider world (Horton 1971, 1975).
This closely resembles the Kalabari notion of "tamuno" (Horton, 1970) although it should be remembered that the Mambila language lacks genders so one cannot ascribe a gender to Càng.
Some examples are described by de Surgy 1983, Buhan & Kange Essiben 1986 and Onwuejeogwu 1981.
The idea of tying corpses to ladders suggest the practise of "corpse-carrying" (the divinatory rite practised by some Ghanaian groups in order to discover the witch responsible for the death) but so far my questions on this point have not gained any response.
Both they and gourd trumpets are called kùrùm.
For example, at the suàgà-oath taken at Sonkolong in November 1986 to establish peace between Somié and Sonkolong.
Nggwun is the wardance which accompanies the installation of a new chief. It is repeated every two years when the Chief repeats his oath of office.
The lom rite is also held to have had similar effects. Lom is now defunct, so data about it is hearsay. It appears to have been a masquerade society, possibly recruited through illness.
The clearest evidence for this are the land tenure maps produced by Jean Hurault after his field trip to the Mambila Plateau in 1988. Mambilla hold the titles to very little land indeed.
Is this so different from Mbeere exposure in the bush?
E.g. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Gebauer Collection) photo 347#2 shows a cloth wrappa being worn at kati dance; photo 79#23 commercial loin cloth worn by player of tawong or tung flute. Gilbert Schneider photographed a funeral in Warwar in the early 1950's (soon before Rehfisch did his fieldwork) at which cloth was being worn.