CLAN - Local Organization

Këna (Kina) clan


p.41 Peter Banga took me to see his two new houses, built at the market at a place called Yui. Land belonged to his father. Këna claimed all the ground round the market. Sites of previous compounds are remembered.

Këna originally settled about 1/2 mile to the north of Peter's present site, on a hillock. (Peter says he will show me the grave.)

Then Lenga (Peter's father) settled to SE; then Ful made his compound (i.e. Ful-Mata). Then Ngong-Mata moved to Fonfukka proper.[PK now writes Koena.]

I arrange to go and see Ndito [Njito']at Mulung, but on the way Peter pointed out Fio (which should be Shuo) in the distance - a forest there, so we went. It took about 3/4 hour. The ground on the way was poor, and Peter says it was never used for farming. Much of Bum is like this.

He says Nnu has special medicine for farms, so that crops grow fine. He makes it for much of Bum, or rather for those villages he can reach. Some other men own it.

Passed some mushrooms, and I asked if they had any which induced visions. Said none, but there was an ancient medicine owned by certain men. If eaten it gave a person the power to see things which were not present, and 'to fly like an angel'; could go and spy out the land, report coming enemy attacks. This power is called ifinti - a special power.

SHUO is a very small village. Peter did not know its origins. Says there is no fon there, only a nji.


p.42 SHUO (FIO) VILLAGE Peter Banga interpreting.

Reached Shuo. Village head is entitled Nji Shuo. Went through a dense forest to get there. CH lives in a tiny compound of only about six huts. Said he was young - possible 35-40; he would send for an elder. It transpired that elder in question was at a meeting in Mulung when disputes are settled under the chairmanship of Ndito. Today is the day of the meeting - today is Fukihe. It is to discuss family things in Shuo here; only big men - elders - would assemble. It is also the day for meeting in Mulung of big men of Shuo and Mulung. Fukihe is a rest day for all Bum. Kwi'fon's day is Yensa.

Nji Shuo's elder has no title.

p.43 Nji Shuo says name of his sahinda is Dzë; compound also called that. He has sixteen taxpayers under him.

1. DZE - first man; was born at KUNIJI-hill above Three Corners at turn-off to Fonfuka
2. WANE-NGGAKI -(brother to 1, different mother)
3. NJIMBONG - brother to 2, succeeded c. 1905
4. MBONGALANG - present man; his father was Babe, elder brother to 3 (Saw Zintgraff, 1889). He succeeded 1953/4.

XXD why such a short list? Says he does not know any more, but they have been here a long time. Before they were at this site, were at Kuniji, the hill above 3 Corners, on the other side of the road. They do not go there to sacrifice. Does not know the names of the previous village heads at Kuniji. Have the same language as Mungong (Nggong). Term for Shuo language in Bum is jisi i Shuo. In Shuo talk it is njoi ba Fio. Term for Mungong talk is njoi munggong.

p.43 Mbamlo or Mbamelo has the same language. Mbuk and Nfat speak a language which differs from that of Shuo and Mbamlo.

p.44 XXD about neighbours. Say Biim, Kwe, Kibo, Nchanti - all speak quite a different language from that spoken by Bum proper, or by Shuo or by Nfat.

Nchanti is known as Munca or Mca. Biim is known as Munso. Language of Shuo is different from that of Bissa and Kamini. Peter Banga is agreeing. (Note that he lived for some years in Mungong, speaks the language, and has also travelled about.)



ORIGINS VH of Shuo says they left Kuniji because of war. At Kuniji they warred with Munggong. Says were in situ here when Zintgraff passed through. At that time, Wane-nggaki was VH (i.e. no. 2).

Says that when Wane-nggaki died, people tried to hold Babe (see p. 43) as VH; he was brother to Njimbong and his elder brother. Babe ran to Kifuë (Kifuoe) near Munca. Then they held Njimbong, Babe's younger brother. Njimbong succeeded in German times. Later, Babe returned to Shuo but by then he was very old and told the people to install his son Mbongalang when Njimbong died. (Note: told later by Peter that Mbongalang had lived a long time in Nchanti and knew little about the customs of Shuo.)

p.45 Mbongalang born here at the time that his father fled to Nchanti, i.e. in German times, when Germans fought Bikom - ?1905 - so would be about 58, but calls himself young, and in fact looks younger.

Does not know if Wane-nggaki ruled long.

XXD about Mbangtshu: knows nothing about raids (see Intelligence and Assessment Reports).

XXD SOCIETIES Says he has mfu'. Has a masker wearing a mask of a bush cow - nyamafong. Medicine of the juju gives 'power'. Nji Shuo is the head of it here. A medicine is used to cool the harm done if a non-member of society is held (caught) by mfu'. Ropes are attached to horns of the animal mask; it is held by two men. If a person is caught, must give a fowl, then medicine applied so no sickness comes through contact. If he refused to pay, the man would sicken and die. If a woman saw the masker she would not bear children again. Mfu' was brought from Kuniji. Nggonafesi also has mfu'. Previously many villages in Bum had it.

p.46 Says he has no medicine to make crops fine. When the time comes he prays to God when sacrificing. Pours wine into his father's cup, then holds it in his right hand. Holds fowl in his left hand. Invokes blessing. Pours wine, plucks feathers from fowl. Then all family join and eat of the fowl. This is done at "fathers' graves".

XXD if sacrifice to God: Nyuoe is god. When there is trouble he goes to the bush to make sacrifice to Nyuoe. There is a big hole there. Nji throws a fowl into it; does not kill it. He calls on God to protect him and his people. Hole in the ground is called tonga fiyen - hole of God.

He makes no other sacrifices.

XXD re burial. Each nji is buried in a separate grave; lying on left side, with right hand up.

Says now he used to have another dance called MDUA. He still has the gong (Toelung). It was danced at cry-dies. (Cp. IDUA.)

Has no special spear, no special necklace.

p.48 Said formerly they had no kwi'fon; had no tut. But Munggong has something like Tut.



XXD if any branch of 'family' is in Nso'. Says there is a man at Jottin-Noni called Nji Goena; or rather he went there. When he died, he was succeeded by Nji Yun. Is there now. Does not know why Nji Goena left. But they still visit, and come for each other's cry-dies.

(Says that Jottin language is different from that of Bum and Shuo. Peter agrees.)

We left Shuo to go to Mulung, but before doing so, Nji showed me the grave of Wane-nggaki - a stone outside a hut in which someone is living. It was placed there because that was where he lived. About 100 yards away is another house, and outside it stones are placed. It is the grave of Njimbong. He had lived there. The gravestone of Dzë is near the house of Wane- nggaki, beneath a tree, overgrown by grasses.

On the way to Mulung, I questioned Banga: asked why so few graves; they could have been only a short time. Peter says Mbongalang stayed for long in Nchanti; knows little, so they sacrifice to those of whom they have knowledge. Must be graves elsewhere.

Took down numerals of Shuo language, see p.46.

At Mulung, found an elder from Shuo, in fact he looked to be about 50. I questioned him about his predecessors, but he knew no more than Mbongalang. Knew nothing of Mbangtshu or Baranyam raids.

p.46 SHUO VILLAGE: Numerals

1 - gbaka 7 - fuë 18 - nsõ nya
2 - fei (fi; first rendering, fri) 8 - nya' 20 - mbà fié
3 - tëla 9 - bugha 30 - mbà tëlá
4 - na' 10 - yuvang 100 - gbe
5 - té 11 - nsogbaka (gbagha) 200 - geifei
6 - so' 17 - nsõ fuë 1000 - ncokõ

p. 49 Hortense. Widows

On the way to Mulung, Peter told me about Hortense, daughter to Wabaa. She was married to a court messenger who was of Munggong. He died about 5 years ago, and she refused to marry his brother, who was a pagan. She is RC. She went to Bamenda, then returned about a year ago. She is building herself a house near the market; Peter says that a woman with no husband must make some marketing if she is to earn money. Says she has practically repaid the £35 in brideprice which her late husband's people demanded, though she had borne no children. There was trouble with Munggong over this. She does not know if she will marry again.




Reach Mlung: large compound of Njito: Njito has a big meeting house of mudbrick and thatch. Outside is a courtyard round which men are sitting. Also present is Daniel Mbang (Bang) who is a brother to Njito, and also on the Wum Divisional Council. First time he was a catechist. Several men present.

Njito now has a beard and is fatter. In a rather ragged cap, and printed cloth worn Nso' fashion: he sat outside his house alone, men sat opposite him, and on his right on the other side was Daniel.

Njito' had been away from Mulung and had returned only the previous night. Otherwise he would have come to see me. Note that Peter had not known that Njito' was away.

XXD about forebears and name of the first man to hold the title of Njito'. He says the man's name was Njito'. I said I thought that Njito' was a title; I had been so informed by the Fon. He says he does not know its meaning. However, what is true is that the successor to any Njito' takes the name of Njito'.

Confirmed that his own name was Nime, then he took the title of Njito'. Succeeded in about 1941. His predecessor was Yangsi, who was his father. Njito' was the youngest of Yangsi's sons, but succeeded because the other brothers had predeceased him; had they been alive they would have succeeded before he did. (Daniel Bang is acting as interpreter.)

Says the name of the sahinda is also Njito'. He was his 'grandfather' and founded Mulung. He does not know where he came from (but see later).

Njito-Yangsi succeeded to the title in the time of TAM; he was there in Moseley's time and also in Zintgraff's. Zintgraff passed with a dog through Fonfuka - where he slept. From Fonfuka he went through Mulung to Lagabum.

Njito-Yangsi succeeded his own father. The grave is here but he does not know his personal name. Great-grandfather of present Njito' delivered present Njito's grandfather at Nggunabum. Died there, then present Njito's grandfather came here to Mulung. Does not know the meaning of "Njito'".

p.50 Njito' says he is ALUNG, but he does not know the name of the Fon who fathered the first of the line of Njitos. Says there are graves of his predecessors at Nggunabum, about five. He occasionally goes there to make sacrifices. Now all are covered with grass. Last time he went was about ten or twelve years ago; this was done in the time of Kwangga. Says would go and make sacrifices there if an epidemic came or tornadoes.

I am checking through the list of cësu tutso given us for 1962, but referring to 1960. These are Njito; Ful of Lagabum; Yangsi-Mata of Fonfuka; 4 - is Nggum of Nggoen. (Not here today but Njito' will send for him. Nggongakang of Nggoen is not here today either - will send for him.)

Kilesi of Fonfuka: the last man died about 1939 (1947 ?). There was no one to succeed except a very small child, who was about 6 years old. He cannot yet sit among the cësu tutso as he is too young. His name is not known. (See Part II.)




XXD about Tifa of Ifun. He died about 1940 and they are still trying to find a successor. Tifa's predecessor was Yam, but it is not known whether he was father or brother to him. Bangsi of Lagabum is still alive, as is Madam Nanambang.

Asked why Fon had said Batifua was first man in Tut; he replies that he was as Fon, not as one of the cësu tutso. Fon must be included in any list since he is head of all societies.

XXD meaning of CINAWUT (see Mr Kwangga's comment - p.32, also p.52), pl. is acinaghoet. Agreed that cinawut meant 'not a member of a society'. General term for non-members, but extended to cover people who are not of the Alung group proper.

XXD about Ful's predecessor. Says his father was Banya, but does not know if Banya was in Tutso. (See later notes, he was not.) I would have to ask him about his own history. I said I had been told at one point that Kibon, son of Mbangakhë - fon, was founder of the Njito' line. Njito' said he knew nothing of this, nor did Daniel Bang.

p.51 KWI'FON-NDACUM: and Big Men

I asked Njito' who were the Big Men of Kwi'fon: he replied,


Then I said were these the men who would in fact enter Ndacum. Got this list:

These were the Big Five who could enter ndacum. But Nya could not enter, Njifoba could not enter, though these are big men in Kwi'fon, as can be seen by Njito's first list above.

Say that TACIA succeeded BANGA of Nggoen (Note that Banga of 'Ngen' is in Kwangga's list for 1938 but not marked as ndacum by present Fon).

XXD Ndito and others: about membership of ndacum. They say right is inherited but they would not take a man who had not the intelligence. (Difficult to arrive at conclusion since Ndacum has never functioned in time of present members.) Fon in 1962 letter said membership was not a family matter, but a matter for all Bum, but may have meant authority wielded over more than a family group. However, I don't think succession is automatic since 1927 list of five completed by present Fon in consultation, consists of some men who have no descendants in 1938 list.

XXD about meaning of cum (word for drum is cûm; pl. of cum is uucum). Say it means any secret meeting, so nda cum, a house of secret meeting.


p.52 XXD whether cësu tutso can see things of kwi'fon. Say that all may do so if they pay. But would not be able to enter the ndacum.

All must pay to see the things of kwi'fon. Fon's letter not correct when it says they do not pay to see the medicine. They could, of course, enter kwi'fon buildings. Ndito himself has not paid yet to see the medicine. Nevertheless, if he died, kwi'fon would come to his cry-die (because of his importance) and could also come to cry-die of any other cësu tutso because of their rank. Though Ndito can enter Kwi'fon he cannot see the Kwo' medicine, and cannot eat any of the things given by members or new members.

Say princes may enter kwi'fon and pay to see the medicine. Bum is not like Mbot or Nso'. Does not know reason why princes may enter.

Phrase to pay to see things of kwi'fon: tang kwo'.

Phrase for those who have paid to see kwo' is cësu nkosu (nkwosu). Those who have the right to enter ndacum are called cësu cumsu.

p.53 At the moment there are only two cësu tutso who have paid everything to see Kwo'; these are Ful and Bangsi of Lagabum.

Now say that in selecting members of ndacum, take them in order of age irrespective of sense. (This contradicts some earlier statements.) Difficulty is, that in addition to men who enter ndacum, there are also those who have tang kwo' and who rank as important. It seems incredible to me that the ndacum which is an inner group, would consist of men without sense, though man without sense might pay to see kwo' and be as important as one who is a member of ndacum.

Says that in BUM offices are handed on through brothers in order of age; then in next generation, would go to the eldest son of the eldest son.

XXD MATRILINEAL DESCENT. Says that originally BUM people here in Bum mixed with some Bikom people who were living in Bum, so followed matrilineal descent, even for the kingship. Don't know when this practice ceased: long ago (but see NDIFOBA's comments on 12 April, below).

XXD ASUGWE. Singular is gwé; plural is sugwé. Used to meet weekly in kwi'fon quarters, but had no special house of their own.

Ceased to be 30 as there were in the old days, but still have a few gwé‚ to keep up the tradition; now act as tricksters; select 'clever men' who will joke, indulge in horseplay; dance; take wine. Can't tell me more; must ask Ndifoba.




I ask Ndito if he inherited anything from his ancestors. He produces an iron bangle; sooty; he cannot fit it over his hand. When he succeeded, he did so, but had difficulty removing it.

Sak: term for ivory bangle; cyak: term for iron bangle (or ciak).

He also has a bladed spear. Blade about 4" long, 1" wide. Attached to stick, and is called a walking stick - mbang. Word for spear here is iwong.

SOCIETIES Says he owns no societies; no dances, makes no medicine for farms. But formerly he was the owner of NDACAM; it was for war. Still has its wine pot from which they drank. But ndacam had no dance and no medicine. A warrior's club. In grandfather's time it used to meet here to arrange time to go to battle; that is people of Mulung and round about.

Njito should be addressed as Nji.

p.55 Daniel Bang. BANG was his father's name; Daniel's father was half-brother to Yangsi-Ndito', same father but different mother. Note: Daniel, who is literate, is on Council; says that Njito' himself is the most senior man next to the Fon. Installs the Fon.


Shown grave of Yangsi: is a headstone outside house opposite Njito's drink hall. Stone indicates the position of the head: buried in grave with right arm uppermost.

Actual grave is inside the house. Stone is outside, and it is on the stone that sacrifices of fowl are made. Only Fon can pour wine on this stone.

XXD When Fon would make sacrifices? Says when Fon stays here he would make sacrifice; the first cup of wine is poured by Fon on gravestone; he asks a blessing; then Njito drinks from the cup, then all members - male and female - of the lineage would be given a little; then Fon himself drinks.

If there is serious trouble requiring that the Fon sacrifice wine, the Fon comes himself, or sends Ful.

XXD why Fon must pour wine? Says because Njito installs the Fon; so Fon must ask blessing on Njito and his family by pouring wine. For any Alung family head, Fon must pour wine. Fon is head of Alung.

I asked to see site of grandfather's grave of Ndito'; in a house spot indicated, but gravestone is no longer outside. Grandfather invoked, along with Yangsi, at Yangsi's grave.

Took photo of Ndito' (who donned tufted cap for the occasion) beside Yangsi's grave; he holds spear and armlet.

For further information contact Ian Fowler