From Divisional Office Files

1. The Dynastic List

The ALUNG genealogy has been rendered differently to different inquirers, leaving aside idiosyncratic transcriptions. Here is J.H.H. Pollock (1927):

[Genealogy omitted]

The interpreter here was the famous Kisob.

W.M. Bridges (who wrote the Nso' Assessment Report also) has the following in his Intelligence Report (1933); his interpreters were the Messengers Tum and Deng.

According to the account he collected, the Bum, and their brothers, 'the 9 Mbot [i.e. War] towns of the Nsungli, Nkot [Nkor] and Joatin [Jottin] in Banso' lived at Mbillibok ' of which all trace is lost'. [EMC: It is in fact, or was until recently, the site visited by the Fon of Mbot, the Nkwi-Mbor, after his installation, to offer sacrifices: a spring and pool called Mbirribo]. After an increase of population, scarcity of water, and quarrels, a Chief's son called MENUKUM decided to go south with a following. Another Chief's son is said to have followed later. Menukun stopped at the present site of Mbot [EMC - which is relatively recent, occupied after a period of refuge from raids in Nso'], then went on to Nkor, Jottin, and finally stopped at Ngunabum, where he struck up a friendship with the Sawe people. Big men with followers remained behind at Nkor and Jottin. The 'genealogy' is here given in terms of filial succession throughout as follows:

  1. Batafuamu (cp. our Batifua)
  2. Dagatita
  3. Mwandum
  4. Mbem
  5. Mbangakue
  6. Yunji
  7. Wassa
  8. Tam
  9. Tum (i.e. Kwangga) - still living.

[The name Batifua, or something similar, slips in and out, and also crops up in 'unofficial' Kom oral tradition as 'Batufomo', said in one version to be a leper.] No events are recorded by Bridges' informants until No.5, who is said to have rendered Nggong (Munggong) tributary with the help of Ndumbo allies and "gave" its village of Nfat to Sawe as a token of friendship: they, the Nfat [Mfat] people were to give a share of game to Sawe. Their allies, the Ndumbos, later asked for Bum help against Bebe Ketti, but the first 'real war' is ascribed to the time of No.6, against Nchanti villages. The first Fulani raids are ascribed to the reign of Tam here.

In 1941 (interpreter unnamed) Dr M.D.W. Jeffreys collected from "Akwa (sic) the present village head and old Missom of Fonfuka", a rather different account of "migrations" which does not, he says, agree with the account he collected at Nkor, and a king list which reads:

  1. Melekun
  2. Dikatisa
  3. Muandum
  4. Kamato
  5. Mbemfafa
  6. Mbanake
  7. Yunji
  8. Wasa
  9. Njan (female)
  10. Tam.

Missom in fact gave two versions of Bum history, later correcting the first.

I summarize the recent parts of the final version below: Yunji was killed by the Biim after a reign of only two years. Wasa, his brother, died after being Chief for only four years. Tam, who was wanted as Chief, ran away and settled in Bikom, so Njan (sic) the daughter of Mbemfafa and sister of Mbanake (who was the father of both Yunji and Wasa) was made Chief. Four years later Tam was sent for and Njan vacated the stool. The rapid deaths at Ngunabum caused it to be vacated by Tam. The wars with Bikom, the subjection of Munggong, and the arrival and settlement of Mbu [Mbuk] are ascribed to his reign. ('Some Notes on the Bum', The Nigerian Field, xxvii/4, 1962, p.180.)

There are clearly disparities between these versions of a quite major order. It is just possible that the evident similarities between the versions we were given and that given to Dr Jeffreys by Missom, depend to a greater or lesser extent on feedback. Dr Jeffreys was punctilious in sending offprints of his publications to his informants and assistants, and they were sometimes retrieved by Court Clerks and school masters who made use of them. But other versions persisted too, as we saw.

Glossary Contents Working Notes
Sally Chilver's Field Diary Phyllis Kaberry Fieldnotes Published Account

For further information contact Ian Fowler