Some newly initiated youths into the “Ngumba” secret society in Bambalang were this Sunday (Vikwa) presented to the entire public at the Bambalang market square. After spending about 12days in the secret forest in the Bambalang palace, the youths 13 in number were presented to the public to mark the end of their initiation process. They are now permitted to move around and visit their homes. It is worthy of note that within a given period of time before they graduate from the palace, they are expected to be loyal, abstain from sexual intercourse, stay in the palace, run errands for village authorities etc. Speaking to this reporter, one village who pleaded on conditions of anonymity said “Thanks to modernity nowadays, these youths would have been given snake beatings whenever they are not found in the palace or not on errand for the palace. Today things have changed until they are allowed to go to school and only come to the palace during holidays. They are even permited to graduate after a short period of time unlike before. They are really lucky, see in our time, we were sent to go out at ungodly hours of the night, treated like slaves, but today they are lucky”.
According to Yakum Doreen (mother of one of the recently initiated youths, “This is a very important exercise in our life because as a princess, I am supposed to send one of my sons to the palace to guide my head which literally means if I fail, then I should blame myself for whatever happens to me”. Asked on who is expected to send a child to the palace as a “Chinda”, She replied that “A princess, a former Chinda, a twin if he is the first and a boy, a title holder in the palace . . . and that is all I know”.
Upon their arrival in the market, they first went round the market before sitting in the place that was already prepared for them. Speaking to ngoketunjiaonline, one other lady, mother of one of them, whom we could only recognize as “Mutuh”, revealed that they have been preparing food and bringing to the palace for their children from the day the initiation process began, she said “from the day the initiation began, we have been preparing food and bringing to the palace to give our children and not allowed to see them, no one except Chindas is allowed to see them, we are not allowed to go to the market until they are presented to the public. Today marks a new beginning in our lives and we are anxiously waiting for when they shall successfully graduate from the palace to mark the end”.
They are now the future of the Mbaw-Yakum tradition.
Their dressing and hairstyle is one thing this reporter would have loved to know more about but couldn’t meet anyone informed enough. This reporter also failed to have the significance of the bags in their hands but was only informed that things are put in the bag by family members whereas these youths are not permitted to check the bag. It is only checked and its content emptied by senior “Chindas”.