Mambila Village Life: The Makka cult

Attitude to Fulani, British and Germans

Mambila Village Life: IV Attitude to Fulani, British and Germans The Makka cult

The Mambila think very poorly of the Fulani. They say that they are a people whom God created merely to be parasites on others. They may rear cattle, but they have no home of their own. Wherever they go is their home for the time being. They are a troublesome and deceitful people who tell lies and steal and like to fight.

In the beginning, they say, the world was empty, without people, without animals. So God brought fate and delivered many children, some white, some black, some yellow. The white ones have become the White man. They used to be thought as wise as God. They could raise people from the dead and make old people young. When the British came to Banyo and conquered the Germans they said the British were then the gods. Germany had been conquered because of the evil things they had done to the Mambila. Now that the British were here the millennium had arrived. There would be no more taxation; if a man died they would raise him from the dead: they would grind one grain of maize and feed 10 persons.

After the British had been in Mambila some time, they began to say the British were human like themselves. When they found the millennium had not arrived, they became silent and began to say that the white man was not God. This was only said secretly. About 1937 a new sect arose, a wild people who began to say that a new set of people would arrive who shall drive away all the Europeans and make everyone to live in peace by himself. They were very many and their name was MAKKA. The Makkas were the makers of all human beings and of the world and everything in it. This was at last the real truth. What they had supposed the English would do in the days of their illusion, the Makkas would now do. There were those who pretended to have seen the Makkas, and to report their words: the Makkas said that no-one should pay tax any more, or work his farm, for a family would thenceforth be able to feed on one or two heads of maize or guinea-corn per year; no-one would die any more, for the Makkas had seen that the sufferings of the Mambila were too great. The Makkas would come to live with them and help them. Their prophets said that the Makkas were very short, well-built people; their women had six breasts. The Makkas did not like dirty compounds and dirty huts; the roads too should be clean.

Frequently, if someone had done wrong, perhaps beaten his wife or quarrelled with her, and the Makka prophets heard about it,they would jump up and down like dervishes and say that the wrongdoer must pray to the Makkas for forgiveness. Then the wrongdoer would give the prophets some money or some chickens, and the prophets would pretend to give them to the Makkas but actually keep them to themselves; and they would clench their firsts, bending the fingers into the palm and knocking them together exclaiming: "Forgive me, forgive me, O Makkas".

All this is still going on. In some places the Mambilas xxxx the Makka Sunday more than their own. On this day all the women prepare gruel in the morning and come out into the yard with it. They will join together whilst the Makka prophets execute a mad dance. When they have finished they sit down and tell the people to pray for repentance. They then share out the gruel and drink it: all must taste of it. They say the Makkas will root out all xxxxx from people.

When aeroplanes first appeared they began to say that these were the Makkas come back again. They have often been told that aeroplanes are nothing but iron and steel, but they always answer "No, No! that is a thing that has life. It is a Makka. If they are made by Europeans why should they not come down at Mambila and xxxxx with any European who is there". They all hope that aeroplanes are lords of the world and that they are preparing to come down some time and drive away the white people and the Fulani.