p.68 (Nnu, inft. Yangsi present. Peter Banga, interpreter.)

Name of medicine is nggun. Nnu makes it (as senior man in Këna clan - at Fonfuka). As such he is Be-nggun - father of nggun. He obtained the medicine from his father. Does not know the origin. Medicine is made at time of the harvest of guinea- corn and dry-season maize: towards the end of January. It is after guinea-corn harvest that he makes it. Medicine when made is kept in a calabash hanging on the door of his house. Medicine consists of leaves: he was taught these by his father. At the time to make the sacrifice he goes and gathers the leaves. They are pounded and squeezed into the calabash to which some water is added. In the house he asks Fiyen (god) and the people from whom he got the medicine, his agnatic ancestors, to bless: that is Banga, Këna and Mmoek. Then he takes a Dracaena leaf (here called koeng) and asperges everyone on the breast. Does not say anything as he does this: does it with his right hand. Walks through the compound and quarter and to all places that he can reach, Mulung, Fio, etc. As a result the 'country becomes "cold"', no sickness enters: luktu bonoelo - place is cold; or laaki bonoelo - country is cold, cool, at peace.

People will give him guinea-corn or any food as a thanks offering.

p.69 Anyone in the family may watch him making the medicine; thus they will learn how to make it, and someone will be able to instruct his successor when he dies. Rite is carried out on Tukupwa day.

MBENG JUJU. Got it from his father; origin not known. Comes out for cry-die only. When it comes is at night and no except members may see it. No cloth or mask is worn. Juju is a small carving of a man: about 2 feet high, the carving of a man is called FUMOSO. There is also a small carving of a woman: she is called KULI. He says that these figures are not linked with any ancestors or gods or spirits. Power derives from the medicine made which is rubbed on them. Not connected with fertility. Old carvings were spoilt so Banga (father of Nnu) went and bought carvings from Banso (he does not know if Banso has this juju).

Term for any carvings of human beings is kakafu kwoem fu.

Nnu makes medicine of different things (will not say what) and rubs them on Fumoso and Kuli; hangs a little on neck of Fumoso. This impregnates the figures with power. Then members of Mboeng come out at night; figures are placed on ground. They beat the drum (ncum) and a gong (nggoen); also have a 'trumpet' (Peter said a 'microphone' because it changes the voice of the blower and he is not recognized). Name of this trumpet is Kuli: same as for female figure. It is a calabash with a neck: hole in base and hole in neck. If figures are seen by a man who has not paid for the privilege, he will die. Mboeng emerges for cry-dies of members and Fon. When it emerges, all women, and men, who have not paid, lock themselves in their houses.

p.70 MUNGGONG also has a juju called Kuli, but it is a male carving: similar to Mboeng.

Tacoe in Bum has Mboeng, but he does not know where he got it. NDITO inft. Yangsi also present and Nnu.

NDACAM: Reaffirm that ndacam has no medicine or juju (see 11.iv.63). It was a section of manjong. Says njong and mfu' are old things for Bum (mfu' - see 1960 notes).



p.71 SUGWE. XXD about nesugwe. Says nesugwe consisted of about 5 or 6 men who are the leaders of sugwe. XXD why called 'mother' of sugwe? Says that man of this group has power to enter woman and know all the things that a woman knows; just like a mother. (PK - who carries a child?) Such a man is like a mother.

XXD about power of such nesugwe. Says should distinguish between commonsense, which is ukoeti to (? he has a head). Other power is ifinti - which is supernatural power, ability to know unseen things.

CHOICE OF NESUGWE. Kwi'fon chooses these; also chooses the leader of nesugwe - president. Term for leader of nesugwe is lumagwe (man of gwe); he knows all; he looks all. He has ifinti. Can fly like an angel, see all places; knows things. (Ndito' has not got ifinti - see below.)

TUT If cësu tutso meet, it is on tukukwa - this is the big day. They do not meet on every tukukwa. Would meet when kwi'fon and Fon tell them to do so.

XXD if formerly used to meet regularly: said would have met when summoned by the Fon; when there is news to be reported to them, or when sacrifice was needed.

p.72 Would also meet if an accidental slaying or wounding had occurred, and purification was needed. Such a man brings a fowl, then beak is split, blood goes on outside of the pot, then stick feathers there.


Matters discussed in NDACUM, e.g. whether a man who committed a serious offence is to be killed. then ndacum comes to the cësu tutso. If cësu tutso say his death would spoil the country, then ndacum cannot have the man put to death. Similar, with war. If ndacum advised war and cësu tutso was against it, then they would not go to war. It is essential that agreement of cësu tutso be obtained.

XXD initiative from cësu tutso: Say if latter see that man is doing wrong then would order kwi'fon to kill him. (Note that this would be in consultation with the Fon.)

If a cetut does bad thing, cësu tutso would fine him. If he continues, then they ask kwi'fon to drive him away.

p.73 PEACEMAKING They are not sure where the initiative comes from. They said that ndacum might give orders that a sacrifice was to be made at the boundary. But Ndito is not sure of the procedure because he had never seen war.




TACOE (TACIA) inft. on KWI'FON Njito' also acting as informant.

Tacoe of Ngoen has just arrived; an old man. He says he is cinawut. His lineage is from Saf. Is not of Fon Saf's family, but is a coe of the Fon Saf (pl. coesu).

Tacoe succeeded Banga, his own father, as compound head; BANGA succeeded KIMBINE. Not known who Kimbine succeeded. Name of the sahinda is Funggé. Funggé is the name of the first man of the lineage who came from Oku. He came to Nggoen. Does not know his relationship to Kimbine. This is a list of VHs of Nggoen. Hereditary position. Tacoe was the eldest son of his father, BANGA, who had no surviving brothers. When Banga died, Fon and Ndito' agreed that Tacoe would succeed; that is, ratified it. Known beforehand that he was a good man.

p.74 But if the Fon and Ndito' had known that he was a bad man who would spoil the village and waste its resources, then Fon and Cësu tutso would refuse to ratify the choice; choose another man. Cësu tutso and Fon would choose, because if this was left to the lineage there might be quarrelling. Also the potential claimant as regards age would be driven away because he would make trouble.

When BANGA died, Fon told Ndito' to bring TACOE to Lagabum. Then the Fon asked: "Is this a good man?"; that is he asks all the big men of tut. When they agreed then Fon told Ndito' to take Tacoe to his village. Ndito' took him by the right arm, held it up; says to the assembled village, "This is the man to rule". Then he has him robed in Banga's cap and gown, gives him his father's cup. Then places him on stool. Then a big dinner is made: 4 tins of wine were poured into wine pot; there was food; all danced.

Tacoe succeeded after the locust plague: 1930-1 or later. Was taken into ndacum in less than a year: taken to succeed his father Banga, who was a member of Ndacum. (Note that Banga of Nggoen was not asterisked by Fon as a big man in 1938, though he occurs as such in Fon Kwangga's list.)

XXD about who held for ndacum Tacoe says (Ndito' agrees) that only if a success to CH or VH who has much sense would he be taken into ndacum.

IT IS NOT AUTOMATIC. Says successor to CH or village headship whose predecessor in ndacum does not necessarily enter ndacum.

(K. This evidence is important since Tacoe has a vested interest in this, and was one of the last to enter ndacum when it was a building.)

p.75 TACOE does not know when Banga succeeded, but BANGA was alive in the time of TAM.

(K. note that BANGA is not mentioned in list given for 1927 by present Fon; possibly became more important later; possibly he was not in ndacum though Tacoe was.)



XXD about JUJUS AND SOCIETIES Tacoe has Mbashua. It has a medicine. Goes out to cry-dies and dances. Plays xylophone - njang; also ncum (drum). It has a masker with a human mask. He does not know the origin. Medicine of Mbashua makes chop fill the belly; i.e. those who partake are quickly satiated when they eat. Entry is one fowl, fufu and much wine. He also has Mboeng, does not know from whom his father got it. Has not got nggun. Kimbiné had mboeng.

p.76 HONORIFICS Tacoe's title given by the Fon is Mayuka; means 'big man' (given by the Fon after he had presented a big goat and wine to Fon (direct; not to Ful). Title bestowed when he was led to the Fon to be acknowledged as village head.

BANGA's title was Tumen-mbanga. Given by Kwangga. Banga was like the right hand of the Fon; was sent on important messages. Does not know if Kimbin‚ had a title.

Njifoba has just arrived from Wum. Is hot and tired and irate.

p.77 Made polite greeting and was pleased to see me, but when he sat down, told me how he had walked far from Wum with a message for the Fon, began to harangue me because I had not arrived on the day said. The Fon had waited for me, then gone to Su-Bum, then to Wum. He had sent Njifoba back to be with me, and Njifoba was tired with walking. I tried to mollify him by saying I had told the SDO on Thursday I would not be able to go but no message could be sent through in time. Communications are slow. Still very irate.

When I asked Tacoe who the other big men of ndacum were, Ndifoba intervened and said we were not to discuss this unless the Fon was present. He refused to talk. I said everything would be checked with the Fon, but as I was leaving on Saturday I must work now. He said we were not to talk. So for the moment I offered him wine - and all the rest. Most offered their glasses to small boys; and Ndifoba said it was too soft, had I not something stronger. I offered beer and this was agreed to be stronger. I then questioned Nggum (cëtut) who had been waiting while I questioned Tacoe.

NGGUM of Nggoen. Says he succeeded WANJONG as CH. His father died about 1955. (Note that Ndito' agreed that in 1938 Ndito'- Yangsi, Ful Ngong-Mata, Wanjong had all paid and see the things of kwi'fon - cësu kwo'so.)

Wanjong succeeded TABU, who was father to him; Tabu succeeded NGGONG-NYOE was his father. These successions are to the positions of compound head. Not known whom Nggong-Nyoe succeeded. Did not know the name of his sahinda, then says Jokpuwo; but this is name of a place in Nggoen. Could of course be the name of his ancestor.

XXD if ever had title. Says he had none; Wanjong had none. Was simply a coe in TUT. Tabu had no title. He has no dances or jujus. Ranks as alung; sing. lung; pl. alung.



p.78 Ndifoba has cooled down after drinking beer. He is impatient at attention given to Nggum; not used to being silent. I asked him his forebears.

Ndifoba succeeded Diang (his brother). Diang succeeded Kimbi-Yuendong. Kimbi-Yuendong was a fon's son. Tam was brother to Kimbi-Yuendong. Father of Tam and Kimbi was Yunji (Yundi). I said I thought Mbangakoe was father. Said no: Mbangakhoe was brother of Yunji by a different mother.

I check king list as given in 1960 and by letter later. I'm not sure whether Ndifoba was a little lit up by fatigue and beer and the wine. He starts from the present Fon and works backwards.

p.80 Kwangga means 'join people'.

There are no regnal titles. Keep name bestowed by father. Tam means 'take time before do it'.

KIMBI-YUENDONG was a powerful man before the Germans came. A big man; had wives and children. Was a member of kwi'fon; died about 1932-33. Saw things of kwi'fon but was not of the ndacum. Paid to see Kwok (Kwo').

Njifoba - present man - says paid to see kwok - paid 5 goats. These given to men of Kwok; 3 goats eaten by cësu kwok; two went to the Fon.

Kimbi-Yuendong was given the title of Njifoba. Means he was like a hunting dog. Foba is a name given to hunting dogs. Njifoba was like the hunting dog of the Fon. Diang also paid for his title; and Njifoba - present one - also paid for it.

p.81 Njifoba has with him a cane fly switch which cost 2s. Big men carry such things.

To pay for the title of Ndifoba, Bala gave 2 goats, wine and fufu to Njito' and rest of cësu tutso, to the cësu kwi'fon and Yaas. All notables partook of it. Then later in the same week gave 2 goats to the Fon. Went to the Fon; addressed Fon as follows:

camafo dong nyam
cover of world! horn of buffalo!


Then Fon replied, 'NJIFOBA'. Then Njifoba replied, "camafo; dongnyam". (Njifoba is now mellow and ready to discuss anything.)

p.82 Says Kimbi-Yuendong was like Ful; he helped the Fon Tam; then helped Kwangga till he died. His place was then taken by Ful. Ful's son would not take his place. Banya was not right hand man of the Fon. Reason as follows:

When Tam succeeded, his mother Yuendong could not be wife; she was built a house outside the palace proper and then took lovers. By one lover she had Banya, and Banya ranked as a prince because Yuendong was mother of a fon. She also delivered Bongabu (woman) and Bangsi.




Bangsi died without a successor. But Ful has a brother at Su-Bum who is Nji-Kimbi (one father different mother); younger brother (note that Nji Kimbi is on court and important).

But if Ful died, Nji Kimbi would not go to the palace in Ful's place because he is trying to be free of the Fon (Njifoba is likely to take his place).

p.83 Njifoba is questioned about matrilineal descent in Bum: what are the places that had it?

MATRILINEAL DESCENT: In Koti was a lineage - was Kumanbo - (see p.86 below). There is also a compound at Jul - on the boundary with Bikom which had it: the man there was Yangsi-Nena. He came from Bikom. Successor is Nggonga Ndumwi.

Buabua: one compound there - present man is Jetang. Also Ngonga- kang's father who was Tumen-jangan-ga followed this or rather belonged to a lineage that had it. But Tumen changed the law; said he would not go to Kwoti (Koti) to succeed. His mother was from Koti. He is one of the cësu tutso from Nggen (or Nggoen). (See later notes.)

p.84 Njifoba is now willing for me to question Tacoe about ndacum (completely mellow).

NESGUWE. Tacoe says that ndacum chose the nesugwe. Njifoba agrees. Leader of the ndacum is called lumasoecum - leader of cum - man of ndacum would choose the lumsoesugwe. Then the Fon would spit wine in the man's face, put feathers of fowl in his cap. This spitting by the Fon gives the lumsoesugwe power. This power is finti (see above) and derives from the Fon. Only the lumsoesugwe has this power; the other members of nesugwe don't have it. [Cp. Mbot.]

Finti is like a torch lamp; shines in the night; foresees war. When this happens, trumpet - song - sounded the alarm. [Cp. 1960 elephant story.]

XXD if Ndito' has finti. No: because finti is connected with fighting - aggressiveness. Ndito's is for peace, for chop, pikin, and hunting. If he was given finti by Fon, all things would spoil. Ndito's qualities and that of the leader of the nesugwe are different. Cannot confound them (Ndito', Ndifoba, Tacoe, agreed on this).


p.85 TACOE asked to name famous lumasugwe; he says they lived in the time of Tam: they are Wanayioe - he had no successor (was cinawut); Tandakimbong (cinawut). Waa - who was alung, no successor. Tandakimbong had no children. Since their time, there have been no lumasugwe. (Tacoe is an old man; he was assisted in recalling by Ndifoba.)

Tacoe was now asked for NDACUM members, of the ndacum as it should be now. Long discussion follows between him and Ndifoba. Eventually they went outside. Ndito' remained with me, came back after some time. Tacoe and Ndifoba said only ones heard about were:

  1. Banga (of Nggoen) father of Tacoe, cinawut.
  2. Tumabu of Buabua - who was Alung - not known who successor was (PK notes that in 1927 list submitted by Fon there was a Kangha-Tung of Buabua who was Alung; I have no time to check this as men are impatient to get to market; see if I can check later and see if any connection with Fang-Yekan).
  3. SALA of Lagabum - also Alung. This is all they know. (Note that somewhat high preponderance of Alung in this list; Njifoba is Alung and a powerful person: Fon's right hand man.)

p.86 After discussion we went off to the market as I had promised to meet Nggonga-kang there; also to try and find some Mungong men. Others impatient to get to market. On the way Ndifoba said Fon must see me; wishes to talk. Nji also. I say I will try and arrange to come over from Fungom in mid-June.

The market is a small one, got there about 12: Baptists appeared, drumming and singing hymns. Pastor preached: children, some young men and women listened. Very little in the market. Some large dried fish. We had bought mats earlier for 100 and 120 Fr. each.



NGGONGA-KANG, Coetut. In Peter's house. Nggonga-kang is of Nggoen. Succeeded before 1951. Before present Fon succeeded. He himself succeeded his father, Tumen-Njanga. Latter had been CH in German times. Tumen succeeded his own mother's brother called KIYAMBI. Kiyamabi succeeded his own mother's brother, who was Kumambo (see Koti notes). Said previously had matrilineal descent: see p.83. Tumen changed the rule.

Kiyamabi had been at Ngunabum, as was also Kumambo. People died there because of war with Bikom. So Tumen-jangga (correct version) then came to Nggoen. Before he died Tumen said his son was to succeed him; he changed the rule of succession. Tumen had sisters but they had no sons.

Since then they followed patrilineal succession. Nggonga- Kang's mother was Kang (her name suffixed to his own, Nggong). She was from Saf; he could not have inherited there in any case since they have patrilineal descent.

His sahinda is Kumambo: is of the same family as Cekun at Koti. Not known where Kumambo came from originally, i.e. whether he came from Bikom; or was a group living already at Ngunabum.

Nggong is a cinawut, not Alung. (Correct Fon's list for 1962, Part III. Not altogether clear since we were told specifically that all coesu tutso were Alung. Fon said that Wagom died, then Nggongakang took over. Wagom is not in Nggong's genealogy. Possible that Wagom's line became extinct but on the other hand Tumen-jangga is mentioned on another line.)

Nggonga-kang was given the title of Kpwalá-Kpwalá: got it before he succeeded to position; means a very active, smart man.

Tumen-jangga had title of To'njangga: means one who knocks the head of xylophone. Does not know if Kiyamabi had a title. He himself owns no dances or medicines.


p.88 At market. Mbuk nji informant. Chief of Mbuk not here, but an elder Nji is here; name is Nji Ngáng. Now says that Fon of Mbuk died long ago. Late Fon's brother looking after place. Died c. 1917.

  1. Langji - a fon: died when first English came.
  2. He succeeded Cantaka, his father.
  3. Not known who predecessor of 2 was.

Mbuk originally came from Kiyaki (which is near Su-Bum) to present site. Were settled in Kiyaki before Mbangtshu came; moved here before Mbangtshu came; this in the time of Cantaka. Some of the people scattered and went to Mandabili. Says there is only one grave at Mbuk; the other, that of Cantaka, is at Kiyaki. Knows nothing more.

Says language of Mbuk is called Jaibvoen Bongoe (Peter says it should be Jai voen bongka).

Fon of Mbuk is called mfain voen Boka [? Bongka].

p.92 Says Mbuk cannot understand Munggong language or that of Njari side (Mbembe) or Bikom or Nchanti.

Came back from market, having failed to find a Munggong man.

Hortense, daughter of Waba, at my house. Says her husband died about 5 years ago. She refused to marry again and left. People there troubled her. She is a Catholic and wants to marry in a church. Went to Bamenda. Paid £4 for a licence to sell mimbo. Paid rent for mud hut; one middle room, small bedroom: cost 1200 frs. a month. Would buy wine from Mankon: bottle it, and sell it at 20f a bottle. Might sell 30 or more a day.

Says eventually she will trade near the market. She returned to Bum because it is her country. People were very good to her. She has almost repaid brideprice - £35. Says some men pay £70 for a woman; nowadays there is often a delay before a girl marries, so her father builds her a house.

XXD if she would marry again; said no. If she married and her husband died (2nd time), she might be accused of witchcraft. Says that profit on beer is small. True that ordinary Beaufort in Bamenda is only 60f a bottle, but it is transported to Bissa; then costs 70f a carton to headload it here where it sells at 120f a bottle.

She is a lively, intelligent person, had no schooling. Here she farms, where else would she grow food? Stresses the lack of respect shown to the Fon, which she deplores.

Up to see Ndifoba at about 4.30. He showed his graves: one outside a house, that of Kimbi-Yuendong: raised platform on verandah of house cemented round grave and down the side, small headstone. I take photo there of his own things, a fine carved stool, belonging to Kimbi and carved here; old machete about 8" long, carved wooden head with face on top of handgrip. Machete was Kimbi's, worn in elaborate sheath. Has a brass pipe which he himself got from Bamum, of a lion. [see plate].

Took another snap of the other grave, that of Diang; then one of Ndifoba's three wives and children; two daughters in background; the other women are married to his sons.


p.93 Checking GENEALOGY;

[Genealogy omitted]

When Kwangga succeeded, then Yuendong took lovers.

By one, she had BANYA: he ranked as a prince because his mother was the mother of a fon. His father is not known. Banya had a half-sister (her mother Yuendong); she was called BONGABU. Her grave was shown to me on the way to Njifoba's. She (Bongabu) took a lover and had a daughter, Kang, who also ranked as a princess-munto, because her mother was not given in marriage. She had a daughter, Ne, who was also a munto since Kang was not given in marriage. Ne had no children. The graves of these were shown to me.

Njifoba confirms Pete

For further information contact Ian Fowler