The Mbaw-Yakum people of Bambalang village Ndop central Sub Division, Ngoketunjia Division of the North West Region of Cameroon will on the 20th of February 2016 observe their annual cultural festival “SHA’ATANG under the distinguished patronage of H.E Mouelle Kombi Narcisse, Minister of Arts and Culture. The “SHA’ATANG” according to Mr. Ghogomu Ezekiel Nkonki (Publisher of Mbaw-Yakum Outline) originated during the reign of Fon Ghogomu in the 1920’s. Speaking on stone FM radio, he revealed that “during the reign of Fon Ghogomu who took over as the Fon in 1929, all the time every time they will go to the soothsayer to find out what is wrong in the village and the soothsayer will say one of the previous Fons is angry because since he died the village has not remembered him, consequently the villagers will block a week and remember the Fon. This happened repeatedly and Fon Ghogomu saw that it was good to set aside a period to remember departed Fons. He then proposed to the Ngumba (Secret Society) that 9 days be blocked in a year to remember the departed Fons. His request was thus granted and that is why 9 days in a year is blocked to remember departed Fons of Bambalang village. During these 9 days, the “Ngumba” visits all the shrines of the departed Fons believing that it is bringing the “cry die” from the shrines”. Mr. Ghogomu Ezekiel Nkonki is a prince of the Mbaw-Yakum Royal Family and doubles as the principal of G.H.S Bambalang. He attempted to trace the origin of the Mbaw-Yakum people and revealed that they originated from Northern Nigeria and were named Mbaw-Yakum because the first Fon was Yakum Ntah so the name Mbaw-Yakum was chosen to mean Mbaw under the leadership of Yakum. However Bambalang was given during the arrival of the Germans with the Bali Nyonga people.
The theme of the 83rd edition of the “SHA’ATANG” is “PRESERVING OUR ENVIRONMENT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT, PROMOTION AND EMERGENCE OF OUR CULTURE”. Saturday the 20th of February is the day for public manifestations while many other activities will take place within the nine days set aside. Public gatherings, farm work among other activities are prohibited within the nine (9) days.
Bambalang village remains one of the few villages in Cameroon with an annual cultural festival.
BY MBAH ISOFA
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