Buea Archives File No. Af 13
Original File No. E.P. 6859
AN ASSESSMENT REPORT ON THE BANGWA TRIBAL AREA
IN THE MAMFE DIVISION OF THE CAMEROON PROVINCE
DEC 19TH 1922
INDEX TO LEADING FEATURES
1. The BANGWA Tribal Area is situated in the north east of the Mamfe Division, and the watershed which extends along the side of this tribe forms the existing international boundary with the French sphere of the Cameroons.
2. This area is inhabited by eleven clans mainly BANGWA, but the Clans situated in the northernmost part have very little connexion with the true BANGWAS who inhabit the central area, and those in the Southern portion show a tendency to adopt the higher standard of living of their neighbours, the NKONGKWAS. Typical BANGWA Clans are FONTEM, FOTABONG I, and FOTO-DUNGETET. FONJUMETOR, FOSSONGO, and FOSIMO differ slightly in dialect whilst FOSIMONGDI, TSCHATI, and FOLEPI have no real connexion with this tribe but are included in the BANGWA Native Court Area as a matter of convenience. In the South the people of FOREKE- TCHA and FOTABONG III, the latter now a separate entity but descended from a common ancestor with FOREKE, are adopting the customs of, and intermarrying largely with the NKONGKWAS.
3. The total number of inhabitants of this tribal area is thirteen thousand nine hundred and sixty one, the area is one hundred and fifty eight square miles and the density is eighty eight. It will be seen that these areas are unusually thickly populated and this congestion of population is partly responsible for the many land disputes which have arisen in the past.
4. The BANGWAS are a virile and hardy mountain tribe who for the most part inhabit the peaks of a mountain range at altitudes from two thousand four hundred to six thousand feet above sea level. The national dress of the men is a loin cloth and an embroidered cap, whilst amongst the women any form of clothing is unknown and even the Chiefs’ wives go stark naked. Very little sickness was met with, but infant mortality is high and only the most hardy survive which is only natural considering the Spartan existence these people lead. A very old Clan Chief will refuse any sort of assistance in the shape of transport since if he did not proceed on foot when travelling his Clansmen might get the wrong impression that he was getting feeble.
5. Whilst these people prefer to retain their primitive mode of living and have not adopted more civilised methods; in intelligence and intellect they are extreme1y advanced. They cannot be described as naked savages living in hill top recesses, obstructive on every occasion and suspicious of our intentions, as is so often the case with Pagans living in a similar environment.
6. On arrival in this area one is immediately struck by the extremely broken nature of the country, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that there are not fifty square yards of level ground to be found in the entire area which have not been levelled by artificial means. There are no villages or hamlets, in the ordinary sense of the word, the inhabitants dwell in a number of compounds which are scattered over the mountain side, generally in a position sheltered from the wind, and frequently quite invisible from the six inch ledge out in the hill side which more often than not serves as a road.
7. The compound of a Clan Chief is of a more imposing nature, each wife has a hut about ten feet square, and there may be as many as one hundred wives; in addition there is the meeting or council house (DEINDE), and each servant (CHINDA) of the Chief has his hut. The Chief’s compound may therefore contain as many as one hundred and fifty huts. These huts are built on terraces cut into the side of the hill and are nearly all at different levels. The open space near the Chief’s compound is generally undulating and it is often difficult to find sufficient level ground even to place a table and chair.
8. The BANGWA huts are of an unusual type. They are about 10 feet square and twelve feet in height, built of mud and strengthened by poles out from the giant fern placed at interval of eight inches. The interior is frequently panelled with the midrib of the Palm and there is a false roof constructed of bamboos. The real roof is dome shaped and composed of mats of the mafia palm. The space between the roofs is used as a store cupboard for kernels, firewood etc, and is entered from the outside of the hut by means of a ladder. Entrance and exit are through a small window which can be secured by a sliding shutter.
9. This tribe is administered from Mamfe, the Headquarters of the Division. Formerly it was included in the DSCHANG Division, but was transferred when DSCHANG was handed over to the French in 1920. It has always been the area most remote from Divisional Headquarters and owing to the nature of the country and the entire absence of roads has received few visits from Political Officers.
10. The German method of overcoming organised resistance was force of arms, followed by a disintegrating process by which the village area, group, or clan, was split up and parts of these units were placed under Chiefs to whom they were in no way whatsoever connected, and these units fearful of German methods, during the German occupation remained where they were placed. But on the arrival of the English and the disappearance of the mailed fist, they began to reassert themselves by endeavours to break away from these Chiefs to whom they owed no allegiance, with the result that the Clan Heads of this tribe have gained a reputation for being quarrelsome and constantly at enmity with one another and for this they are not entirely to blame.
11. Owing to the changes in the Clans brought about by the German there is considerable confusion and heartburning over the existing boundaries, and to arrive at a settlement in which both parties were satisfied was a matter of exceeding difficulty.
12. Cases were also met with where the toleration exercised by British Administration has been taken advantage of. There are examples of villages who have settled in the neighbourhood of a Clan Chief and have for many generations enjoyed his protection and hospitality, and have been given farm lands, who now wish to pose as independent units and make no form of acknowledgement to the chief for the advantages they have enjoyed solely because they are not connected by family ties.
13. The administrative unit is the Clan administered by the Head of the Clan or Chief and by his Sub-Chiefs. Since the names - Chief and - Sub-Chief‖ might equally well apply to a District Head and his Village Heads or to an Emir and his District Heads it is suggested that for descriptive purposes - Clan Chief‖ might be better styled - Village Area Head, - Sub-Chiefs might better be described as - Hamlet Heads, and the administrative unit they compose the Village Area.
14. This nomenclature, moreover, exactly expressed the actual mode of origin of these units. In all cases it was found that these village groups owe their origin to a common ancestor who was the founder of the ―Clan‖ and whose descendant is the Clan Chief or Village Area Head of to-day. On the growth of the parent village the heads of the various branches of the family went further afield and founded the majority of the hamlets which now together with the parent village compose the Village Area. In former times there was no suspicion of independence on the part of these hamlets, but direct administration, as practised by the Germans, has made independent hamlets which by tradition are part and parcel of an existing Village Area.
15. Hamlets are not in all cases presided over by blood relations of the Clan Chief, but occasionally by men of stability in the town, who had acquired a small following and were granted by the Clan Chief the title of NKEM, for which they paid a fee of several goats, and provided a feast for the villagers.
16. Titles are common, and all Clan Chiefs have a following which generally accompanies them wherever they go. It was usual for the Clan Chief to meet the members of the assessing party on the boundary and escort them to the Chief’s compound. There, all the Chief’s wives and various servants would be assembled, and the visiting party would be heartily clapped. This is the local form of salutation, and often some women would come forward and sweep the ground in front of the Chief’s or Political Officer’s feet as a sign that they were entirely subservient to his wishes.
17. The strictest etiquette is observed when speaking to a Clan Chief. The Clan Chief’s attention is first drawn by a clap of the hands, and the person wishing to address the Chief does so with both hands held in front of and at a slight distance from his mouth. On no single occasion throughout the assessment was any Clan Chief spoken to without this formality being observed.
18. Very little has previously been written about the BANGWAS. In most cases reports on the Clan Chiefs convey the idea that they are particularly inefficient and useless from the administrative point of view. But there is little evidence to show that much pains have been taken to educate them to become useful officials of a Native Administration. This, in the opinion of the writer, is due to the continual change of Policy during the last few years. Now that it has been definitely decided that these units are to be administered through the indigenous administrative machinery which is in existence, and that useful native institutions are to be sympathetically nursed and encouraged, a very rapid improvement may confidently be expected.
19. Perhaps the most reassuring sign is the extreme loyalty and confidence of all the Chiefs, Hamlet Heads, and members of the community in the Government. Whilst there have been various disputes in the past and endeavours on the part of some of the Hamlet Heads to become independent units, on no occasion were there any expressions except of the utmost loyalty to the Government. In all circumstances every facility was given to the assessing officer and party, and they, it is needless to mention, were not accompanied by any show of force in the shape of police or soldiery, and only by one Government Messenger for part of the time.
The Native Staff assisting the assessing Officer were with two exceptions obtained locally and gave all the assistance in their power.
20. The eleven village areas now included in and with the Bangwa tribe are bounded on the North by the BAMUMBU Village area. On the East the boundary is the watershed which is the existing international boundary with the French, between 5 ̊ 20’ N and 5 ̊ 40’ N. The Southern boundary is the river FI, MISUR, or BETSU, which runs along the whole extent of the FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA and FOTABONG II Village Areas’ southernmost limits, dividing then from their NKONGWA neighbours. On the Western border are the MBO, ELUMBA, and BAYANGI Tribes.
21. The most noticeable feature of the country is the watershed which forms the French boundary. From here the rivers MANU, MA, BAGO, MFU, and BETSU take their source with their innumerable tributaries and all flow westwards to form ultimately the Cross River.
22. The lowest strata of rain clouds average about five thousand feet and the average height of the watershed is between five thousand and six thousand feet with a resulting extremely heavy rainfall.
23. The inhabitants of this area live on a range of mountains varying in height from two thousand nine hundred feet in the FONTEM Village Area to six thousand five hundred in FOSIMONGDI, the average altitude being between three thousand and four thousand feet. The people live in compounds scattered over the mountain side. The Chiefs are mostly to be found living on the peaks whilst the hamlet heads are often found in the hollows between the various summits.
24. The gradients are unusually steep, and a gradient of one in two is quite common. An examination of the heights marked on the Map affords some idea of the configuration of the country. FOSIMONGDI to TSCHATI is three miles as the crow flies, FOSIMONGDI is at an altitude of five thousand seven hundred feet and TSCHATI two thousand five hundred, or the descendent average over one thousand feet per mile. TSCHATI’S Hamlet Heads about two miles distant are situated at heights varying from three thousand three hundred to four thousand four hundred feet. 25. In the FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA area the distance from SONFI to FOREKE is about two to three miles; in practice it is a very severe two and a half hours scramble over broken boulders. 26. The River BAGO at FONTEM is at a height of two thousand nine hundred and fifty feet, in about eight miles it has fallen at MOMBOBISUK to a height of seven hundred feet.
27. These examples of the variation in height are typical of the whole area. From FOTABONG III, the most Southerly village, to FOLEPI, near the Northern boundary the distance as the crow flies is about twenty three to twenty five miles which on a good road could be traversed in a day; in this country it would be extremely good going to accomplish this journey in five to six days.
28. At three thousand feet the forest level is passed and the bush is open and inclining towards pasture land.
29. The soil is mainly composed of a tenacious red clay and it is not of a very high standard for farming or operations; at the lowest levels the quality of the soil improves greatly and is rich in leaf mould.
30. The country is for the most part open and there is little thick bush. Military operations could only be carried out successfully on a very large scale.
31. No information was obtained about the presence of any minerals of economic importance nor were any traces of them observed.
32. The variation in temperature is very noticeable at the different heights. In FOSIMONGDI the evenings during the rainy season become extremely cold.
33. It is difficult to estimate the rainfall which is very heavy, probably from thirty to forty inches of rainfall monthly during the three months spent in this area, viz: July 20th to October 20th.
THE SUBJUGATION OF THE BANGWAS
34. The first news of the approach of the European to these areas came from NGUTI in the BANYANGI country. The white man first known to the BANYANGIS as - TATA and to the BANGWAS as - NDEK, perhaps about the year 1896. A German, most likely an Officer with a small escort, arrived in DEFANG, stayed there for sometime and ultimately burnt down this Chief’s compound for refusing to return a stolen drum. The European then proceeded to TALI and the Chiefs of FONTEM, FOTO- DUNGETET, and FOTABONG, full of curiosity to see this wonderful white skinned man went to MOBOBINSUK to salute him, but hearing that he was about to make war on them scattered on his approach. The stranger was rumoured to be able to burn down a house by merely placing his hand on the wail and was able to touch the Sky. This European then proceeded to BALE.
35. Later the Germans made peace with DEFANG in the BANYANGI Country. At this time the BANGWAS were frequent visitors to the BANYANGI markets, and one TAINYIGU of FONTEM returned one day with some bells and a red cap given to him by the German Officer at DEFANG to present to the Chief of FONTEM with instructions to go and salute him and bring an offering of Plantains, goats, and pigs. FONTEM sent these presents but did not accompany them. Two days later the European arrived in FONTEM and was an object of much curiosity. He was accompanied by eight servants but by no military or police escort. The German was on arrival saluted according to Native custom by hand clapping, and he enquired whether this meant war or peace. On being reassured that no hostilities were intended he remained in FONTEM for six months.
36. At the end of this time Chief FONTEM was asked to supply him with eighty men to carry his loads and to enable them to see for themselves from whence he came. These eighty men were absent for four months, and than returned to FONTEM accompanied by the German and laden with samples of European clothing, piece goods, and hardware. This German who was known as TANJOK or MAJAPARI again took up his quarters in FONTEM. Chief FONTEM was now given a German flag to fly. At the end of six months TANJOK asked for one hundred men to be given him to take to the plantations. The hundred labourers were supplied and they were taken away. TANJOK returned at the end of one year bit unaccompanied by any of the hundred labourers.
37. When it was explained that they were on the plantations the BANGWAS did not accept this statement and accused FONTEM of selling them for slaves. The people were evidently annoyed and TANJOK at the end of four days asked FONTEM for twenty men to take him to BAGAM. The people refused to supply them, so FONTEM gave twenty of his own servants (CHINDAS).
38. On arrival of FOTO-DUNGETET the Chief (the father of the present Village Area Head) refused to allow him to pass and the German had to return back to FONTEM. TANJOK then asked FONTEM to assist him to make war on FOTO-DUNGETET but he refused, TANJOK next offered to place the people of FOTO-DUNGETET under FONTEM if he would agree to his suggestions. FONTEM again declined stating that the Chief of DUNGETET, TUNGWA, had placed the son who was to succeed him on his death in his charge (this son NGOSSON is the present head of the Clan DUNGETET and Village Area Head of FOTO- DUNGETET), and therefore he could not make war on him.
39. TAJOK then stayed three days and attempted to leave by night, but was stopped by two BANGWA men on the road who told him he could not be permitted to leave FONTEM without first informing the Chief. TANJOK shot these men and was soon surrounded and shot at by the BANGWAS. It would appear that TANJOK, seeing escape hopeless, blew his brains out after first handing poison to his steward who immediately fell dead. The remaining seven domestic servants were allowed to go away unharmed.
40. FONTEM took his German flag, gave it to the servant of the dead TANJOK, and told him to report to the Germans that TANJOK had died by his own hand and had not been killed by the BANGWAS.
41. A year passed and rumours of the approach of a punitive patrol reached FONTEM; shortly afterwards troops arrived at FOSSONG, burnt the compounds and shot at the inhabitants and then proceeded to FONTEM’S compound, which was destroyed, all cattle taken, and numerous villagers killed. The patrol returned having made no attempt to come to terms with the BANGWAS.
42. A year later two German Officers with a large escort arrived, accompanied by Interpreter Melango (now a District Head in the Kumba Division) and asked FONTEM if he wished for more punishment or not. FONTEM was only too pleased to make peace and presented the German with twenty elephant tusks, twenty goats, and twenty pigs as tokens of homage. Four rifles belonging to TANJOK were returned. FONTEM also gave the Germans two boys to accompany them and learn their language.
43. One of these BANGWA boys returned after one year and reported that the German had ordered him to return with twenty labourers. FONTEM sent a message to the German that his people refused to supply them because none of the hundred labourers supplied to TANJOK had ever returned. The German’s reply to this message was that a punitive patrol would be sent. FONTEM then sent a tusk to the TALI Chief entreating him to act as an intermediary and inform the Germans he did not wish for war again. The Germans had a garrison of two companies at TALI at this time.
The TALI Chief, DEFANG, is reported to have kept the tusk and instead to have handed stones to the Germans with the message that if they could break the stones they had better come and try and overcome the BANGWAS. DEFANG is also reported to have told the BANGWAS that if they tried to get an interview with the Germans they would have their throats cut. The BANYANGIS are noted for their treachery and deceitful practices.
44. After a year the BANGWAS received news that the Germans were advancing against them. In the mean time a stone well had been built at the BAGO river to prevent the Germans crossing. This wall was nearly two and a half miles long, six feet high, and over three feet in thickness. The BANGWA Captains TAKUCHAP, ASUANKAN, ASWATABONG, and ASWATOKEH, ANTICIPATED that the Germans would enter the water and when they were held up by the wall, the BANGWAS would open fire and decimate the enemy. The German guns soon opened fire, and the BANGWAS, creeping through the grass, evacuated their position behind the wall unnoticed by the Germans, and retreated. The Germans by an encircling movement then closed round the wail and mistaking each other for the BANGWAS opened fire and suffered many casualties.
45. The Germans then shown a way into FONTEM by ACHANKANG of FOTABONG, Chief of the DIMA Clan and father of the present Village Area Head. The NCHUTI (an office holder next in importance to the Clan Chief) was then sent with a tusk to go and make peace with the Germans. The latter on demanding the surrender of FONTEM were informed by NCHUTI that he was dead and all the people wished for peace. Peace was made and FONTEM hid in the bush for nearly twelve years.
46. A German station was built on the site now occupied by the market and Hauptman Rausch was in charge of the company. FONTEM at this time was hiding in the hills quite near his old compound and could plainly see the Germans in the distance. Hauptman Rausch ultimately heard of FONTEM’S retreat and went with an escort to arrest him. FONTEM saw them coming and escaped, but being tired of twelve years in hiding arrayed himself in his Chieftain’s robes and voluntarily surrendered to Hauptman Rausch. FONTEM was arrested and taken to DCHANG where he was placed under supervision but not treated as a prisoner. Later he was exiled to GARUA and allowed to build a house there, and two years and five months afterwards was reinstated as Chief of FONTEM.
47. Apart from the war with the FONTEM people (FONTEM Village Area) there were also hostilities with the DUNGETET Clan. The German met with resistance and about sixty FOTO men were killed, when they capitulated and surrendered all their guns. They were then ordered to work on the roads with which order they evidently did not immediately comply, for Chief TUNGWA was imprisoned for twelve years and four months and escaped on the arrival of the English. One year later he died.
48. There is no record of further hostilities with the Germans. The capitulation of the FONTEM area and the posting of a company at FONTEM was sufficient to prevent any further opposition. It would appear probable that the German occupation of this tribe would have succeeded without hostilities if the BANGWAS had not been continually compelled to supply labourers who were taken far from their homes and were never heard of again.
49. The Germans enforced the following orders:-
- 1. Slavery was prohibited.
- 2. No powder to be bought or guns carried.
- 3. Roads to be kept clean.
- 4. Head Village Chiefs were to keep the estates inherited by orphans till they grew up.
- 5. Plantation labourers had to be supplied (sometimes as often as three times a year).
50. The German system of giving presents to Chiefs was much appreciated; it is said that once a year all Chiefs were called in and many presents, including gin and whisky, were given. These presents were often distributed in the name of KAISER.
51. The present trade depression and the little trade now done by the Trading Companies is frequently contrasted with German times. It would appear that the German Political Staff took a great interest in trade and carefully studied the tastes of the people. The Chiefs would be asked to produce samples of native cloth, beads, and hardware, which were popular with them. These articles would then be ordered by the merchants and stocked in the canteens. Contrast this method with the young assistant of the - if you do not fancy our goods leave them‖ type, who considers that the natives should be flattered if he is willing to accept their money.
52. The capitation tax was collected by the Chiefs and according to FONTEM they received a share equivalent to 10% of the total tax brought in.
53. If a Chief had disobeyed an order or incurred the displeasure of the Political Officer, a squad of soldiers unaccompanied by an European Officer would be sent to the Chief’s compound which would be looted. These ―Patrols‖ would also be given to a Chief, unaccompanied by an European, to assist him to enforce in order or collect supplies. This has done a considerable amount of harm to the Chiefs who have bean blamed for all the excesses of the soldiery place at their disposal.
54. The sotires of the doings of police and soldiers are unnumerable and it seems likely that the Germans shut their eyes to many of their malpractices. Chief FONTEM states that he has seen prisoners strangled and killed by hammering a nail into their skulls. In the morning the N.C.O. in charge of the guard would report that one prisoner had died through sickness and there the matter ended. That troops obtained all supplies without payment goes without saying.
55. It is improbable that police or soldiers have entirely forgotten the liberties which were taken during the German occupation, and the greatest discretion should be exercised in allowing even one or two police to travel these areas without rigid supervision.
56. The BANGWA considers German rule more exciting. He never knew when he would be shot or hung, but at intervals enjoyed very prosperous times. English rule in regarded as dull, but the fact that they can sleep safely in their beds and go anywhere unmolested is much appreciated.
57. Tribal wars in most instances were little more than minor quarrels between the Clans mid were neither longstanding nor were many casualties inflicted.
58. The one exception is ASUNYI, Chief of FONTEM. In his case war was made on the BAYANGIS of TAKWA end the MBOS of ETABANG, and it is probable that except for the coming of the European this Village Area Head might have considerably enlarged his territory by conquest.
59. These squabbles between the Clans, tribal war is too dignified a term, were closely connected with the local politics of each Clan, and it is proposed to deal with them separately in an account of the organisation of the BANGWA Clans.
THE FONTEM VILLAGE AREA
60. The head of this Clan, the DIBANG, as he is often called, is ASUNYI of FONTEM. ASUNYI is a very able Chief and is a man of great character; his encounters with the Germans and twelve years of wandering in the bush have already been related. FONTEM is very popular with his people and deservedly so, for he certainly considers their interests, at the same time not forgetting his own. He has been called a land grabber and conceited; the former fault he shares in good company; and perhaps he is guilty to a slight extent of the latter. But it must be remembered that he is ambitious, and Chief of a highly organised administration where his slightest wish is accomplished almost as soon as it is expressed. No one can be in doubt for an instant as to who is the ruler of this Clan, and FONTEM maintains this position without the slightest show or ostentation.
61. The Chief’s household contains numerous titled office holders. On the approaching death of a Clan Chief he selects four of his sons for the following appointments, the first to succeed him as head of the Clan, (amongst the BANGWA tribe the eldest son is never chosen for this appointment but receives a goodly portion of the estate and the title of ASABA); the next two in order of importance receive the titles NCHUTI and ASAA, and both these men can represent the Clan Chief. MAFAW is another title held by a Chief’s son.
62. The leader of the fighting men is ASUWA. The president of the market is KAMATABONG. AZONWA is the executioner; NDONKO is in charge of the store rooms and issues out food for strangers. The Chief has two hunters NAHANYA, who shoots any kind of game and one BASANGO, who only shoots bush swine. The Chief’s blacksmith is NGUFET and he forges knives, anklets for the Chief’s wives, and the gongs (DECHERA) used in some plays.
63. The following servants are also employed: the swineherd (BEAKUNYA), the cowherd (NJAFOW), the shepherd (BEJE), the pipe holder (DIFOR) and the orderer of supplies from the villages (DHAJUM).
64. The most important appointments are the BAKUM (singular = NKEM). These BAKUM are the Chief’s advisers and they are appointed in most cases from the family, but a prosperous citizen with a small following may be given the title of NKEM. To be made an NKEM is generally a stepping stone to becoming an Hamlet Head (FONTE).
65. The original ancestor of the DIFANG Clan is MENKAM. From the genealogical tree (opposite) it will be seen that ten out of thirteen Hamlet Heads are descended from him. The eldest hamlets are FOREKE and FOMILA. It is interesting to note that in the Clan council the Clan Chief gave judgment after the witness had been examined by the Hamlet Heads of FOREKE, FOMILA and FOWCHAP. The hamlets or FOMINE and FOGOMINJE are amongst those longest established but they are not related to the Clan Chief.
66. The Hamlet of FOTABONG II was created by FONTEM before the advent of the European. This is a sort of - punishment village‖. Any one committing a serious fault was banished there and was made to work on FONTEM’S palm oil plantations, and it is said that each man had to supply him with five or six large pots of palm oil per annum, anything over he could keep for himself. It was suggested that the village was similar to a slave town but FONTEM stated that this was not the case.
67. The prerequisites of a Clan Chief are considerable. In the ease of FONTEM it is usual for all villagers having palm trees to make a voluntary donation of oil once a year. Cooked food, plantains, and corn are brought when there is no palm oil. The Hamlet Heads (BEFONTE), or Sub-Chiefs, generally give a matter of two large pots of oil a year and receive in return a goat and some cloth.
68. In the case of a small hamlet with the annual presents amounted to perhaps 3/- to 4/- per male per annum. These presents to the Clan Chief are the custom and are voluntary donations. There were no complaints of any description against them. The Clan Chief always gives return presents. FONTEM stated that he might receive as many as five hundred pots of palm oil a year in presents and from palm holdings which he lets out to different people.
69. There are certain fees connected with the creation of appointments. An NKEM is generally appointed from a Chief’s family, which is very numerous, one hundred wives being quite common. But a well-to-do Citizen may ask an NKEM to recommend him for his title, when he is introduced by this NKEM to the Chief and states that he is ready to pay the fee if the Clan Chief is willing to grant him this title. The fee is generally about four hundred and eighty rode or two hundred and forty marks.
70. An NKEM on his approaching death generally nominates a servant to be given to the Clan Chief to work for him. This servant is - NBEMBE, which means that either his father or mother was a slave, and he is called a CHINDA. In return for the CHINDA the Chief in said to give a present of a cow. If the NKEM has no servant to give the Chief, a donation of two hundred and forty marks is given; this fee is also the installation fee of the son who succeeds as NKEM.
71. In the case of the death of an NKEM, two or three goats are given to the Hamlet Head, one of which is given to the Clan Chief when the death is reported. An NKEM in a hamlet can be created by the FONTE or Hamlet Head. These payments permit the wives of the BAJM to wear wristlets but not anklets.
72. An NKEM may build a meeting house (DEINDE) with two windows; and this is the maximum amount of windows he is permitted to have. An Hamlet Head may be permitted on payment to build a DEINDE house with three windows. Whilst at FOMILA it was observed that one of the windows in the DEINDE house was covered up. On a second visit to the Hamlet the Clan Chief FONTEM arrived unexpectedly end was heard to speak severely to the Hamlet Head. The reason was that FOMILA had made a third window to his DEINDE house without the necessary permission and this had been discovered. The Clan Chief would in a case like this send to FOMILA the TRU ju-ju who would after consultation fine him three hundred marks (£7: 10:-) or the equivalent in stock.
73. The Hamlet Heads (BEFONTE, plural of FONTE) carry a horsetail, and their wives wear brass anklets which distinguish them from other women. The BAKUM and BEFONTE have the privilege of being buried by the DEFAM Fetish or by TRU if they belong to it. There is a considerable amount of Class distinction. A Chief’s son considers himself inestimably superior to an Hamlet Head’s son although they may be closely related. The CHINDA class is the lowest in scale.
74. FONTEM made war on the MBO people. A BANGWA man and his wife engaged in getting palm oil were caught and eaten by members of the MBO tribe. Later two more man were captured, and shortly afterwards four men were killed whilst fishing. FONTEM then consulted with the BAKUM and it was agreed to make war on MBO.
75. Two hundred fighting men went to the Chief of MBO’S compound, killed eighteen MBOS, took seven prisoners and burnt the Hamlet of the ETABANG Clan. AGUMIYA, the MBO Chief capitulated, sued for peace, and his overtures were accepted. AGUMIYA in presence of TENEKAN, ASSUMA, DIFAN and TANYEMBI, agreed to acknowledge FONTEM as Chief. One tusk of every elephant killed was to be given to FONTEM and the skin of all leopards caught.
76. The usual presents given to their own Chief were also in future to be given to FONTEM viz:- bush beef, fish, plantains, and oil; and the women were to give camwood. This agreement was ratified by all parties marking the arm with a knife till the blood came. These marks can be clearly seen on FONTEM’S fore arm. These MBO hamlets were under FONTEM for about ten years and were taken away from him when he made war on the Germans. The population of these hamlets was about two hundred and fifty to three hundred inhabitants.
77. FONTEM’S father ACHEMABO made war on the TAKWA people. On the arrival of the invading force the TAKWA people capittulated and offered ACHAMBO a bag of clothes; this was burnt in the market as a sign of the treatment they would have received if they had not surrendered. ACHEMABO then selected four Chiefs from the TAKWA people and created FOTO an hamlet head. ASAA, NKEMKAN, and KONGANG, were created BAKUM under FOTO. It was also agreed that all leopard skins and the heads of all of the MBO people killed in war should be given to ACHEMABO.
78. FONTEM stated that the TAKWA people paid tax to him for three years during the German occupation but continually made complaints to the Germans who after this time made them independent.
79. In the time of ABAHATU there was continual quarrelling with FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA over a woman, but the parties eventually became reconciled with little bloodshed.
THE FONTEM - FOTABONG BOUNDARY DISPUTES
80. A dispute of long standing is the position of the Northern boundary separating FONTEM’S village area from FOTABONG’S. FONTEM claimed that the River NTSEMBA was his boundary, whilst FOTABONG and his people strenuously contradicted this statement and stated they had land south of this river.
81. On FONTEM being questioned he stated that he only knew of three FOTABONG men who were residing on his land and to these he had given permission within the last four or five years. FOTABONG stated that this was not the case; that there were thirty five men, some one hundred and ten women and their families, living in one hundred and thirty huts, and that many of these people had lived on this land prior to the coming of the Germans. FONTEM then made various evasive and contradictory statements.
82. It was then decided to make a thorough survey of the disputed area and this was undertaken by Mr. G.P. O’Sullivan, Assistant District Officer, who accompanied Mr. Cadman whilst the latter was assessing the FONTEM Village area. Mr. O’Sullivan found that FOTABONG’S statements were true. There were three hamlets FONTEM, FOMWENCHI, and FOMBIN, with compounds immediately to the south of the River NTSEMBA. The total population of these hamlets was found to be two hundred and thirty and they inhabit one hundred and five huts.
83. FONTEM stated that four generations of his family had lived there. FOMWENCHI, a man of about forty years of age, said he was born there, and FOMBIN, a man of over fifty came with his father about thirty years ago. Apart from these statements the original sites of the first huts occupied could be seen plainly in the grass.
84. It was also found that there was not one single farm of FONTEM’S in close proximity to the FOTABONG farms, there were practically no palm trees on this land, and there was no evidence that FONTEM or his people had ever farmed on this small piece of ground in dispute. The only claim FONTEM has to this land is a sentimental one if that; he stated that in the time of his original ancestor MENKAM the NTSEMBA was the boundary.
85. It is not considered justified to recommend that some one hundred and thirty huts should be knocked down or some two hundred and thirty head of population ordered to vacate their houses for the very slender reason stated by FONTEM.
86. It is proposed therefore that the boundary should be, as suggested by Mr. O’Sullivan, (vide map opposite) from the junction of the NTESMBA NTSEMBA and the NTSENCHUA rivers to run south East along the NTSENCHUA to a point six hundred yards North East of FOMILA; thence along a line of cairns placed at two hundred yards distance running approximately due East along the top of the North slope of the hill to a point South East of FONTEM, thence North East to the NTSIFU River and along the NTSIFU to the NTSEMBA. Thence along the NTSEMBA crossing the main FONTEM CHANG road to a small stream which is the boundary between the Hamlets of FOMBE and FONDONG.
87. On the East of this road there are eleven huts, and their occupants with one exception appear to have settled on the land within the last five to ten years. The one old inhabitant, MBEFIT, was originally from FOREKE. These people should be given the option of paying their tax to FONTEM or returning to FOTABONG.
88. This was one of the few occasions when FONTEM did not ―show up‖ well. He did everything possible to prevent the assessing party visiting these compounds and when frustrated he certainly behaved in a most childish manner.
89. The River NTSEMBA would be a convenient Geographical boundary but a line of cairns should make an equally conspicuous, and in this instance, a much more equitable one.
THE VILLAGE AREA OF FOTABONG
90. The present Clan Chief is GENDIA a youth about nineteen years of age. The father of GENDIA, ACHENKAN, assisted the Germans against FONTEM and profited considerably thereby. This has led to numerous complaints since the British Occupation. There was considerable discontent on the part of the Hamlets of FONDONG, FONDUMBIN, FOMBA and FOSSONGFI. The heads of these hamlets refused to pay tax to the Clan Chief and stated that they would not follow him again. The inhabitants of FONDONG stated they wished to follow FONTEM and the other hamlets wished to be under the Clan Chief FOTO-DUNGETET. These complaints had been before the Court at DSCHANG on previous occasions.
91. It was stated that FONDONG had been under FONTEM before the advent of the Germans. The Germans placed FONDONG under FOTABONG and they were afraid to protest since FOTABONG threatened to report the assistance that they had given FONTEM in his war against the Germans.
92. Mr. Rutherford investigated the case and it was found on examination of the genealogical tree of the DIBANG Clan (page 22) that the Hamlet Head of FONDONG was a descendant of the original ancestor MENKAM and a near relation to the Clan Chief FONTEM. It was therefore decided that FONDONG should be placed in the FONTEM Village Area to which it properly belonged. This decision was most popular with the villagers who had been listening to the case.
93. The complaints of the hamlets of FOSSONGFI, FONDUMBIN, and FOMBA were also investigated. It was stated that these hamlets had been taken away from FOTO DUNGETET and given to FOTABONG owing to disobedience on the part of the FOTOS under the German regime.
94. Rutherford heard this case and it was again settled by an examination of the genealogical tree of the FOTO DUNGETET Clan (see below). In this connexion Mr. Rutherford writes:-
On 4th August at FUNDUMBIN the three hamlets were placed under FOTO on the ground of common ancestry and ancient connexion. The two disputes gave a public example of Native Administration policy and the benefit of honesty. The FONDONG decision resulted directly from the frank declaration to Mr. Cadman of FONTEM’S family tree and manner of ancestor worship, while the three hamlets inquiry showed the assembled heads of FONJUNGWA, FONJUMETOR and FOLEPI besides those immediately concerned, that the consideration of family connexion and native tradition carry mere weight than those of administrative expediency or of blind persistence in previous decisions.
95. FUNDUMBIN had been previously imprisoned for refusing to follow chiefs other than their own Clan Chief and were again ready to risk imprisonment, by a direct refusal to obey orders on the chance of a new trial and of being re-instated under their old Clan Chief, so strongly is the Clan Organisation developed during the enquiry FOSSONGFI, a very old man, leant forward, pointed to Mr. Cadman, and at the same time asked Mr. Rutherford whether he would be so the Hamlet Heads of FOSSONGFI, FOMBA, and unjust as to order his brother (meaning Mr. Cadman) to go and live across the boundary in FRENCH country.
96. It will be seen from the genealogical tree that there are very few branches of the DIWA family:
97. The only Hamlet Heads are FOTEMBE and FOMBE neither of whom are connected to this Clan Chief by family ties. FOMBE came from FOTO (in FRENCH country) in the time of NKEMATABONG and till recently has always been willing to acknowledge FOTABONG as his overlord. Now this Hamlet Head refused to follow FOTABONG on the ground that there is no relationship, and forgets the fact that for generations he has lived on FOTABONG’S land and enjoyed his protection. On no account should this Hamlet Head be allowed to cut himself adrift and become independent of the Clan Chief.
98. FOCHA is an NKEM and has not been promoted to the position of hamlet head, he has a following of eight men. FONKEM’S genealogical is doubtful, it is said he originally came from FONTEM area and is connected to FOTABONG by marriage.
99. The boundary dispute with FONTEM has been reported in paragraphs 80 - 89 supra.
THE VILLAGE AREA OF FOTO DUNGETET
100. The Village area Head is NGOSSON, his father TUNGWA having died in 1917. The Clan Chief TUNGWA did not comply with German orders and a patrol visited the area and sixty were killed (para 47). The hamlets of FOMBA, FOSSONGFI, and FONDUMBIN were then placed under FOTABONG, but were given back to FOTO as the result of a detailed investigation by Mr. Rutherfoord (para. 94 refers).
101. This Clan owes its origin to one NBINKEN and it will be seen that in all cases the Hamlet Heads of this Area are connected to the Clan Chief by family ties. NGOSSON is young but is very intelligent, and should make a first class official of the Native Administration.
102. The geographical arrangement of this area is hardly satisfactory. The land occupied by the Clan Chief and his people is entirely cut off from that occupied by his Hamlet Heads. FOTO cannot therefore visit his hamlets without passing through FOTABONG country. The reason is that FOTABONG obtained possession of the palm grove - ATOR which makes a salient into the FOTO area and gives FOTABONG a boundary with FONJUNGWA thereby cutting off FOTO from his hamlets.
103. It is highly probable that sooner or later there will be a complaint in which case it seems only reasonable to give back the land - ATOR to the DUNGETETS. When the Germans fixed the boundary by which - ATOR is given to FOTABONG it seems highly probable that after having transferred FONDUMBIN, FOSSONGFI and FOMBA to FOTABONG they did not realise that there were other DUNGETET hamlets viz:- FOLIM, KAMATIMBA, and FAWCHAP to the west of their boundary.
104. In the time of ASADRA the DUNGETETS quarrelled with FOTABONG over a palm grove which formerly belonged to FOMUM (and does now) who had at the time deserted their village. Ten FOTABONG and fifteen DUNGETET men were killed in the ensuing fight.
105. The Clan Chief TEMDONKIN quarrelled over a bamboo farm which was owned by FOTO and claimed by FONGO-TUNGA. Nine men were killed and four wounded. This farm is still in the possession of the FOTOS.
THE VILLAGE AREA OF FONJUMETOR
106. The FONJUNGWA and the FONJUMETOR group of villages, shortly after the English took over the administration had been made separate units, and in consequence had paid their tax to the District Officer independently of one another.
107. On arrival at FONJUMETOR, an examination of the genealogical tree showed positively that the FONJUNGWA hamlet heads were closely related to the FONJUMETOR heads, that the FONJUNGWAS were a younger branch of the WAMATOR Clan, and that the present head of the WAMATOR Clan was admittedly the village area head of FONJUMETOR and FONJUNGWA.
108. These groups of villages, however, were not on speaking terms, the reason being that the FONJUNGWAS complained bitterly of the treatment they had received from the present Village Area Head, NJUKON, in the days when they were a united family.
109. Since the present Policy is to build up and strengthen the position of these Clan Heads wherever possible, an enquiry was held by Mr. Rutherfoord, Divisional Officer, who was able to come to FONJUMETA, into the possibility of re-uniting these units and persuading the Hamlet Head of FONJUNGWA to become reconciled with his family head.
110. FONJUNGWA complained that on the arrival of the English, NJUKON had sent his people and they had taken goats and palm oil from FONJUNGWA; in fact the hamlets had been raided, much damage done, and many articles stolen, including two necklaces, a cap and a blanket much prized by him.111. FONJUMETOR’S explanation was that he had been ordered to supply oil, plantains, and chickens to Government and he ordered FONJUNGWA to supply his share. FONJUNGWA admits that he did not supply these goods, whereupon NJUKAN and his people made an excuse to raid the hamlets of FONJUNGWA.
112. FONJUNGWA then complained to the District Officer at DSCHANG. The District Officer ordered the return of the stolen articles and allowed FONJUNGWA to split off from the village area and become a separate unit paying taxes direct to Government instead of through the Village Area Head NJUKAN as was previously the case.
113. The damage according to FONJUNGWA was made good with the exception that a blanket, a bundle of Hausa girdles, and two necklaces (said to cost eight hundred marks) were not returned to FONJUNGWA.
114. This was the position of affairs on arrival in the compound of the Clan Chief JUNGDON, an old man who had appointed his son and successor NJUKAN (Village area Head) to act for him. FONJUNGWA was sent for and for the first day a reconciliation appeared impossible, but both parties were asked to meet each other, and on the following day JUNGDON publicly informed FONJUNGWA that he would do anything he could to effect a reconciliation between him and his son NJUKAN, and he was prepared to make all reasonable amends possible.
115. JUNGDON shortly afterwards returned with a horn filled with water, this horn had belonged to BESIANKOBI, the great grand-father of NJUKAN, and informed all present that NJUKAN had been to the graves of their forefathers where he had sworn that he had never seen the necklaces and the goods said to have been stolen from FONJUNGWA. The ceremony of the horn was then performed. The Clan Head, his son, and FONJUNGWA held the horn announcing while the water was spilled that the feud was finished for good and always. According to Native Custom, if the controversy re-opened at a later date after the ceremony of the horn, the offender is liable to a very heavy fine.
116. It was then suggested that to celebrate the occasion FONJUNGWA should bring his hamlet heads to a feast. But they refused to come and sent word that they had not been consulted in the matter and therefore they were not reconciled to the Clan Head. The following morning they arrived and stated that their people were opposed to the reconciliation and threatened to run into French country rather than come under FONJUMETOR. Mr. Rutherfoord informed them that they might go and the sooner the better; their land would then go back to persons who trusted the Government.
117. After consultation the Hamlet Heads of FONJUNGWA stated they considered themselves able to effect the reconciliation with their people and the agreement was formerly ratified.
118. This is an interesting case since it demonstrates very clearly that the Hamlet Heads are items that must be seriously considered. It was a mistake in the first place to imagine that FONJUNGWA could agree to the reconciliation without consulting his people, and it also shows what a well regulated Native Administration existed amongst these Clans prior to the arrival of the European.
119. The FONJUNGWA hamlets were then visited and whilst in FONJUNGWA, the old Clan Chief JUNGDON suddenly appeared. He was ceremoniously saluted by the Hamlet Heads and received the presents, demanded by native custom, of kolas and palm wine. But it must be admitted that there was a strained feeling in the atmosphere. It cannot be expected that these families can become immediately reconciled, but the fact that they have officially ―shaken hands‖ is a considerable improvement on the previously existing conditions.
120. FONJUNGWA, who is a member of the Native Court of BANGWA, is afraid that he will lose his seat on the bench by thus becoming reconciled. It was pointed out most clearly that the fact that he had become reconciled to the Clan Chief would certainly not mean that he lost his seat in the Court or would in any way be a loser.
121. Recommendations are being made, provided he pays his tax to the Clan Chief, to place him on a salary equivalent to his share of the tax when he was independent (vide para. 225). It is essential, as an example to others, that this official of the Native Administration should in no wise be the loser by acknowledging his lawful Chief. 122. FOMENKAM and FONKENG were made Hamlet Heads by JUNGDON, and they are therefore of comparatively recent origin, FONKEM’S father was created a Hamlet Head by FOSSAW, and BESIANKOBI created the hamlet of FOTABONG.
123. In the time of the Clan Chief FOSSAW there was a quarrel with the chief of FONGO-TUNGA over a slave bought by FOSSAW but not paid for. Five on each side were killed before peace was declared. There were no boundary disputes in this area and FONJUMETOR seems on the best of terms with his neighbours.
THE VILLAGE AREA OF FOSSONGO
124. Proceeding northwards from FONJUMETOR, on crossing the River MASA the FOSSONGO Village Area is reached. This area has a total population of only five hundred and fifty four inhabitants but has been the source of much controversy.
125. The genealogical tree of this Clan is as follows
127. The father of the present Village Area Head, TENDOMNO, died about twelve years ago, and a chinda TABONFAT was appointed guardian till the boy was of sufficient age to perform the duties of a Clan Chief. Last year TENDOMNO came into the title and TABONFAT absconded into French country with twenty one women, twenty goats, five pigs, a box of beads values at five pounds, a bead necklace worth twenty pounds, seven horsetails, an ivory bangle and an NGU head dress, the inherited possessions of the newly appointed Clan Chief. An attempt is being made to recover this property with the aid of the French authorities.
128. The Hamlet Head of FOSSONGO now occupies a strip of land at the extreme west of his area where he moved about six years ago from a site considerably to the East of his present position. FOTINGO, an Hamlet Head of NKONG, occupies land immediately to the North of FOSSONGO’S compound. FOSSONGO has been accused of encroaching on NKONG’S land, and the site of his present compound certainly bears out this suggestion.
129. In the past there has been considerable bickering between FOSSONGO, NKONG, and FOSIMO and in this connexion Mr. Sharwood-Smith, Assistant District Officer, writes:-
"After very careful investigation I have come to the conclusion that the following is the best solution to the difficulty. The removal of all FOSSONGO’S quarters from their present position on the Northern side of the MAK river to their old site in the hills on the original FOSIMO, FONJUMETOR road, which has now fallen into disuse. This will have the additional advantage of providing a road running the whole length of the ANGLO-FRENCH boundary and will save the long detour via FOSSONGO’S present site. The Chief of FOSSONGO’S quarter can stay where it is on the tongue of land formed by the MAK river and the MASA stream provided he complies strictly with orders and gives no further trouble, in which case he should be removed lock, stock and barrel, to his house on the hills; and again. In the area now in question the (? Illegible typing ?)
On the South, the MASA stream; on the North the MAK River: neither of these on any account to be crossed. (II) NKONG. On the North the MAK River on the North East the MASA stream neither of these on any account to be crossed. (III) FOSIMO. On the South the MAK River. On the east (W?) the FAENE River from its confluence with the MAK River to where it is joined by the BANGO stream.
(V) FOTINGO. On the South, the MAK river on the west the FAENE river; on the north the BANGO stream."
130. On inspection it was found that the NKONG and FOTINGO boundaries were being observed. But there appears to be a misunderstanding concerning the northern boundary of FOSSONGO
which in practice is certainly not the River MAK.
131. According to FOSIMO and FOSSONGO the boundary separating them are the streams BANGO on the west and WANTSA on the east and the track running into FRENCH country. Since both parties, viz FOSSONGO and FOSIMO, are satisfied that this is their boundary it seems unnecessary to order the removal of the compounds of FOMWENTI and FONGU to a position South of the MAK river. FOSSONGO stated that he had moved his compounds from FOTINGO’S land but was quite certain he had not been ordered to remove the compounds of FOMWENTI and FONGU situated well to the East.
132. In the past the Clan Chief NBORNU had quarrels with FONJUMETOR and FONGO-TUNGA. There were about ten killed in these fracas. The new Clan Chief TENDOMNO, has only just been appointed and did not appear to appreciate the duties attached to his Office. Considerable time was taken in explaining what is expected from him.
THE VILLAGE AREA OF FOSIMO
133. The Village Area Head of FOSIMO is a keen, energetic chief who with a little teaching should do well. FOSIMO differs from the Village Area Heads hitherto described in that he has a large number of alien hamlets in his village area and these have proved a source of continual trouble to him.
134. The only Hamlet Head with whom he has any family connexion is FAWCHAP-MENDI.
The remaining hamlets now included in this area viz
136. These Villages appeared perfectly content to be under FOSIMO and there is at present no suggestion of breaking away and becoming independent.
137. The Hamlet Head FONKEM stated that he presented FOSIMO every year with one pot of palm oil and that FOSIMO’S people had purchased a palm grove from him. The Hamlet Head FOMUM admitted that they had been under FOSIMO for a very long time but the why and wherefore he did not know.
138. As far as these villages are concerned there can be little doubt from the statements of FOSINO and the Hamlet Heads themselves that they have been under FOSIMO for a considerable time.
139. Last year, the Hamlet of FONTCHA was included in this area, but FONTCHA removed from FOSIMO’S land to a site given him by NKONG, and is now under NKONG. NKONG incidentally is always at logger heads with FOSIMO and holds the BANGWAS up to ridicule whenever possible, since they still maintain their Native Customs, their women are naked, and they hare not adopted European dress.
140. NKONG, a youth, with ultra European tendencies, is always likely to be a disturbing element where FOSIMO is concerned, and will endeavour whenever possible to alienate from him the Semi- BANYANG Villages of FONKEM, FOBAH, FOMUM, and FOZAT.
141. In the North East of this area are four Villages: FOPE, FOGWE, FONCHEBE, and BASALI, which were formerly included in the FOSIMO area, but, ever since the accession of the present Clan Chief, some eight years ago, have always endeavoured to obtain their independence and have been a continual source of worry to the Divisional Officers. At the present moment these villages are not included in the FOSIMO area pending an investigation by the Divisional Officer, Mamfe, into what shall be done with them. Since certain fundamental questions are involved and the people are closely connected with the village areas of TSCHATI and FOLEPI, and the four Hamlets of FOMUM, FOLAH, FOZAT, and FONKEM, it is perhaps excusable to discuss them here.
142. Mr. Sharwood-Smith who has visited these areas and carefully studied the question writes as follows:-
"I have come to the conclusion after exhaustive inquiries that both TSCHATI and FOLEPI are miscalled BANGWAS, they are rather related to BAMILLEKE, BAMUMBU and through BAMUMBU to the grassland BAMILLEKES i.e. BAMESSONG etc, but through living close to, intermarrying, and trading with, their BANYANG neighbours have become half BANYANG. Towns of BAMILLEKE stock in the MAMFE Division shown in order of precedence according to strength of BAMILLEKE blood and in them are (1) BAMUMBO (2) TSCHATI and FOLEPI and BASALI (3) FOTINGO and KESANG (4) NKONG. All these towns and hamlets have a common language called MUNDANE. FOTINGO, KESANG, and NKONG are considerably more BANYANG than NAMILLEKE, but their tribal language (which is not BANYANG although they all talk BANYANG) very closely resembles MUNDANE so that an NKONG man would have no difficulty in conversing with a FOLEPI man. Regarding FOSIMO and his sub-chiefs my theory is that as stated before BASALI and NKONG were originally BAMILLEKES, but through constant intercourse and intermarriage with their BANYANG neighbours, the BANYANG strain now almost predominates. FOSIMO made easy peace with the Germans and led them against these hill BAMILLEKE - BANYANGS, for which he was given a special protection certificate by Captain Rausch, the German District Officer at CHANG, and dominion over these conquered towns. Finding English methods of government are not as harsh and repressive as those of the Germans the BAMILLEKE-BANYANGS are beginning to assert their independence.
FOSIMO therefore has no moral right to be their overlord and it is desirable from the point of view of justice that they should be granted their independence preferably as one town with BASALI as chief; in all there will be about 230 men.
On the other hand in view of the decision to run the Province on Native Administration lines it must not be forgotten that as Chiefs go FOSIMO is the second in importance in the division and it is in the interest of Government to foster such as he and increase their powers rather than diminish them."
143. Mr. Sharwood-Smith very clearly points out that these Semi-BANYANG villages BASALI, FONCHEBE, FOPE, FOWE formerly under FOSIMO and the villages FOZAT, FOMUM, FODAY, and FONKEM now under FOSIMO (vide para. 135 supra) are neither BANYANG nor BANGWA, but have gradually trickled down from the North, and with this the writer entirely agrees. But it is suggested that the statement ―FOSIMO therefore has no moral right to be their overlord‖ is open to criticism. Is it conceivable in the struggle for existence that these straggling Hamlets could have dwelt in pre- European times between the virile and war-loving BANGWAS and the equally powerful BANYANGS without being compelled in self preservation to seek the assistance of either the one or the other?
Of the two, it is more than probable they made overtures to FOSIMO, taking into consideration the fact that give of them are at the moment under him and observed BANGWA customs with regard to the payment for titles and in the case of FONKEM the annual donation of palm oil to the Clan Chief.
144. Concerning the BASALI, FONCHEBE, FOPE, and FOGWE, chiefs Mr. Stobart writes as follows:- "The Chiefs came in on 29/8/18. Of the four men it appears that FONCHEBE has always paid tax to FOSIMO and is friendly to him. The other three viz FOPE, FOGWE, and BASALI are truculent and point-blank refuse to obey FOSIMO, who has evidently abused his position in German days and has incurred their enmity. The situation is made difficult by the fact that they are in absolutely inaccessible hills and a threat to punish the town is practically impossible to carry out. As however they are actually residing on FOSIMO land they must follow FOSIMO. Failing this they must settle elsewhere and obey the Chief on whose land they settle. They are given two weeks to decide which they will do."
145. Mr. Stobart on 10/11/18 writes:- "The Three chiefs in question elect to follow FOSIMO rather than be driven from their country. The threat of cutting down their palms which is their main source of wealth conduces to this decision."
146. The abuse of position mentioned by Mr. Stobart is, according to FOSIMO, the looting by the police sent by the Germans to assist FOSIMO to collect supplies ordered by them.
147. FOSIMO’S version as to why these villages should be under him is owing to debts contracted in the time of his ancestors. According to FOSIMO FOPE came to JEZ.AM (vide para. 134 supra.) and asked for a loan and was given two bags of clothes, eight goats, and five guns. On JEZAM asking for a return of these valuables, FOPE stated he could not repay them but would give JEZAM two pots of oil annually and be under him. This donation of oil was given to TANJEMESO and ASABAJBRON but never to the present Village Area Head; but they helped to build a house for FOSIMO about eight years ago. Similarly FOGWE was lent a bag of clothes and placed himself under TANJIMESO. FONCHEBE is said to have placed himself voluntarily under JEZAM.
148. The whole question is fraught with difficulties but if these four villages are made independent it will be difficult to give a satisfactory reason for not allowing the hamlets of FOMUM, FOZAT, FOLAH, FONKEM, and NKUMCHA to become independent. The Village Area of FOSIMO is then entirely disintegrated; and what is perhaps more important a precedent will be created which will be carefully watched by the BANYANGIS who are more prone than others to endeavour to throw off their submission to pre-European authority.
149. To place these Villages under SABES (BANYANGI) with whom it is unlikely they have any family ties, since there is not one BANYANGI woman in these villages, is only to put off the evil day; for after a year or so they will again endeavour to become independent.
150. The FOSIMO had the usual encounters with their neighbours FOSIMONGDI, TSCHATI, BAFO-FONDONG, and FONGO TUNGA. A few were killed on either side, but these quarrels were only of temporary nature, no malice was harboured, and friendly relationships were immediately resumed after an unfortunate incident. The Northern boundary is the river NSESSIN.
THE VILLAGE AREA OF FOSIMONGDI
CLAN MONGE (not BANYANGI)?
151. The FOSMONGDI area has a total population of four hundred and eighty two. There are no Hamlet Heads but four of the family are BAKUM. The Village Area Head’s compound is on a peak some five thousand seven hundred feet above the sea level. These people are not BANGWA and origia1ly came from French country. They were at one time under one JINKAN, a vassal of BAFO- FONDONG. This village is composed of practically one family.
152. The Village Area Head NKELAFA has a bad record and is stated to be a slave dealer but hard to convict.
153. NKELAFA complained that fifty of his men had run to near the FRENCH boundary and were paying their tax to BANGAN in FRENCH country. On counting, it was found that this chief had considerably more taxable males than he had been in the habit of paying for, although he complained of his exodus.
154. These runaways were neither interfered with nor visited, it was not considered worth while upsetting the tranquil calm of the existing international boundary for a possible sum of £12-10-0, which is the maximum amount we might gain in taxes, if they did not permanently return to the land of their origin.
TCHATI VILLAGE AREA
155. The TSCHATI Village Area is included in the BANGWA Native Court but it is immediately obvious that the people are not BANGWAS. From the well-disciplined and composed members of this tribe, one comes
into an area where the Chief has much less dignity and lacks the same control over his people. Orders are given with much shouting and gesticulation and with less satisfactory results.
156. There in a peculiar feature about the appointment of this Village Head LI. On the arrival of the Germans LI sent KAJE, an old man and a relation, to bear the brunt of German instructions. But on the arrival of the English LI appeared in person before the English Political Officer, since he had heard that the English did not give so much trouble.
157. In TSCHATI, the old man KAJE appeared in a picturesque suiting of leaves, prompted by a son of the "knowing plantation labourer" type, and stated that he wished to be Chief of TSCHATI. Since KAJE, who appears a very foolish old man, had not complained from the time of the arrival of the English, he was told he could proceed to Mamfe and lodge a complaint if he so desired. KAJE seemed very pleased that the onus of Chieftainship was not immediately thrust upon him, and it is very unlikely that he will be heard of at Mamfe.
158. It was found from the genealogical tree that three Hamlet Heads had family ties with the Clan Chief. Considerable difficulty was experienced in obtaining details of this Clan. It was noticed that whenever no particular interest was taken in the compilation of the tree, often a very tedious process, organisation was of a low standard the carrying out of orders lees satisfactory.
TSCHATI Village Area.
161. There is a dispute between TSCHATI and FOLEPI, his northern neighbour. Fifteen men living south of TSCHATI’S compound came over from the FOLEPI area and settled there about six years ago. These men, although living within a few yards of TSCHATI, refuse to pay tax to him and pay to FOLEPI. It was pointed out that a tax payer must pay his tax to the Chief on whose land he resides. If they do not wish to pay to TSCHATI they must return to FOLEPI.
162. This Village Head means well but is casual in his methods.
THE VILLAGE AREA OF FOLEPI
163. The head of this small Clan is a youth. The inhabitants are not BANGWAS but are related to TSCHATI and BAMUMBU (vide TRIBAL CONNEXIONS) and are similar to them in every way. This is the most Northerly area of the BANGWA assessment.
164. The Clan history is rather doubtful; it appears that only two of the so called Hamlet Heads are related to the Clan Chief.
THE VILLAGE AREAS OF FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA AND FOTABONG III.
167. These Areas are situated to the South of the FONTEM Village Area and form the southern boundary of the BANGWA tribe.
168. FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA and FOTABONG III have been at enmity with one another, and the boundary separating them has been a subject of dispute, for many years.
But on examination of the antecedents of these Chiefs it was found that FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA and FOTABONG III were descended from a common ancestor, that FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA was the rightful Clan Chief and that the people of FOTABONG III separated on account of a family feud. The people of FOTABONG III were given their independence by the Germans and have ever since been regarded as a separate entity.
169. GENEALOGICIAL TREE OF FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA.
(of doubtful accuracy)
170. The site originally occupied by the FOTABONG III branch of the family was LETTRE to the East of the EAGWILE river. The Clan Chief TANJONJE quarrelled with MBEAMBONG of LETTRE, and the latter was killed in the ensuing war. BELENTU, his son, after his father’s death escaped with his people, went to NGWORIKO (FONTEM’S grand father) and acknowledged him as their Chief. BELENTU for some time resided near NGWORIKO’S compound.
171. FOREKE then sent a goat’s foot to BELENTU which signified that NGWORIKO was intending treachery. BELENTU took heed of the warning and ran to a hamlet near TAKWA. It was whilst BELENTU was TAKWA that the present FOTABONG III was born. From there BELENTU sent parties to harass the FOREKE people, and according to FOTABONG III the conqueror TANJONJE agreed to give BELENTU seventy goats, three cows and a pot of oil for the palms left in the old village of LETTRE from which BELENTU driven. FOTABONG III now claims the LETTRE palm bush since he says the goats were never given. But the present clan Chief FOREKE has sworn on the DIFAM fetish that TANJONJE did actually hand over the goats etc. It seems extraordinary why the conqueror should thus make amends to the defeated party. The explanation given is that it was in order to reconciliate this branch of the family.
172. BELENTU was ultimately driven out of TAKWA by FONTEM and he returned to the site now shown on the map where he remained with his people till his death, but he was never reconciled to FOREKE.
173. The man who now calls himself FOTABONG III has had an adventurous career. He was born in TAKWA and sold by FONGU of NKONGWA to BANYANGIS and worked as a slave for two years till the arrival of the Germans and the abolition of slavery. FOTABONG III then obtained employment from the Germans as a Government messenger. After two years he resigned and built a compound by the BEGE river. Later he obtained employment on the MEANJA plantation and after this, being plausible, set himself up as Chief FOTABONG III.
174. Incidentally this man has no claim at all to be head of this hamlet. BELENTU on his death left several sons, TAKOMBO, NJIGOM, ASHONG, NGUNJU, and the man who calls himself FOTABONG III, and nominated, strictly according to native custom, TAKOMBO to succeed him TAKOMBO succeeded and had two sons, LEGA and NGUNJO. TAKOMBO died whilst they were children, and in turn NJIGOM, ASHONG, and FOTABONG III as guardians, but since LEGA is now about twenty five years of age and NGUNJO about fifteen, the services of this FOTABONG III can very well be dispensed with.
175. Since the return of FOTABONG III from TAKWA, and after he made independent by the Germans and thus allowed to break off permanently from his family head, viz. FOREKE, there has been continual trouble over the boundary which separates him from FOREKE.
176. FOTABONG III states that the FAGWILE river was fixed as the boundary by the BANGWA Native Court. The members FOMUM, SIXPENCE, and NKONG (note all BANYANGIS) went to the scene of the quarrel to decide the question. This statement proved to be entirely erroneous. NKONG states he never visited the scene of the quarrel, it is not in the Court Minute Book, and President of the Court, FONTEM, stated that he sent FOMUM and SIXPENCE to order them to stop quarrelling and not to fix a boundary.
Last year FONTEM, assisted by FONJUMETOR, and FOTO DUNGETET, fixed the boundary now shown on the map.
177. On proceeding to FOTABONG III it was found that this troublesome Hamlet Head bad built himself within the last six months a large compound in the Hamlet of SONFI, which it will be seen is right in the middle of the FOREKE Hamlets, and was endeavouring to get his people to settle there.
178. A mistake was made in the first place when this small hamlet was given its independence; the total population is only one hundred and ninety five. Since a reconciliation seems improbable to say the
least of it, it now remains to decide definitely on the boundary. In view of the history of the people of this hamlet, who are nothing more than fugitives coming back to their Clan Chief, the boundary fixed by the Native Court, as shown on the map, gives them ample room for their requirements. The Clan Chief FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA endeavoured to effect a reconciliation and stated he would be only too glad to bury the hatchet, but with no result, FOTABONG preferring to remain independent. Such being the case he deserves no sympathy. 179. The Hamlet of SONFI is inhabited by nine men from NKONGWA and their families. They were invited over by FOTABONG. There is no reason why they should not stay in this site, provided they pay their tax to FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA. It should be noted that these people have never made any payment for the land they now occupy or for the palms from which they are collecting oil, and they admitted that they have absolutely no claim at all in connexion with this land, but they have been in the habit of making presents of palm oil to FOTABONG, which is of course absurd.
180. The boundary between FOREKEK-TCHA-TCHA and FONGE, a hamlet of the FONTEM AREA, is by a line through the bush running South East from the FONTEM-ETABANG road, crossing the FOREKE-FONGE road where it is intersected by the WANTSA stream. This boundary leaves the palm grove WANTSENKA in FONGE country. FOREKE’S southern boundary is the river BETSU. There are at present a few farms of the NKONGWA people on the north bank. Care should be taken that there are no more encroachments.
181. FOREKE is not a very satisfactory Village Area Head, he is of the slovenly variety, and is very slow at carrying out orders.
There has been trouble with his Hamlet Head FOMILA, who was imprisoned for refusing to follow him.
182. There is very little indication of the origin of the Clans forming this tribe. In pre-European times there was scarcely any intercommunication between them. FONTEM was well acquainted with the FOTABONG and DUNGETET Clans, but a journey as far as FOSIMO would be a very hazardous proceeding.
183. Owing to this lack of communication there are numerous differences in the language, and nearly every Clan has its dialect. The FONTEM, FOTABONG and DUNGETET areas have a similar dialect, but FONJUMETOR is slightly different, and in the FOSIMO Area the difference is still more pronounced. The people of FOREKE- TCHA-TCHA speak another BANGWA dialect.
184. Most BANGWA Clans would be understood by FONGO- TUNGA, BAFO-FONDONG, BANGANG, FOMWEN, FOREKE- DSCHANG, FOTO, FOSONTIA, FONDONERA, FONGWONDONG, due east of the BANGWA Clans. The BANYANGIS the west have, however, a totally different language and would not be understood by the BANGWAS.
185. It is probable that the FOSSONGO’S came from the East and it is certain that FOSIMONGDI did.
186. The Village Areas of TSCHATI, and FOLEPI are related to BAMUMBU and are certainly not BANGWAS. They speak a different language, their houses are built on a different system, and the women wear clothes. These three groups of Villages are also understood by the wedge of hamlets which have generally interposed themselves between the BAYANGIS and the BANGWAS (vide para. 142-143 supra).
186A. From a cursory examination of the language, the absence of gender and the use of nominal prefixes would place these clans in the BANTU or SEMI-BANTU group.
IV. THE CENSUS.
Owing to the extremely broken nature of the country and the fact that the population resides in compounds scattered all over the hills, it was impossible to make the customary house to house visit. The only hope to get an accurate count depended on the assistance and co-operation of the Native Administration. Lacking the support of the Village Area and Hamlet Heads a satisfactory count of the people would have been impossible, firstly it would have been an almost hopeless task to find the compounds generally tucked away out of view, and secondly there was nothing to prevent any of the inhabitants walking over the boundary into French country till the assessing party left.
188. The method employed was to visit each Village Area and Hamlet Head’s compound and to call in the people over which they had control. The Village Area Head in the presence of the Hamlet Head then questioned each adult male concerning his family, children, and livestock, and the information thus obtained was immediately written down under the following headings.
Date............................Hamlet of................Village Area of...
189. Much time was spent in educating the Native
Administration, and when it was clearly explained to the Village Area Heads what was required they did everything possible to obtain as accurate a Census as possible; temporary absentees were reported and entered, and it was found that the Chief on nearly all occasions were inclined to include boys who had scarcely reached an age when they were capable of earning money, which is the definition of a taxable male on this assessment.
190. Various checks were made and it is very unlikely that there were many evasions; systematic evasion certainly is not practised. 191. The Census record in this manner gave the following population.
ASSESSMENT CENSUS 1922 (Sept.)
|Village Area of||Males||Females||Boys||Girls||Total.|
|Total for area assessed.||3439||5062||2868||2592||13961|
There is every indication that these figures are likely to be very fairly accurate.
192. The proportion of males to females is six thousand three hundred and seven: seven thousand six hundred and fifty four, or out of one hundred head of population forty five are males and fifty five are females. The percentage of children to the total population is 39%. 193. The Census figures obtained in 1921 from the count of an African Clerk were as follows:-
|Village Area of||Males||Females||Boys||Girls||Total.|
|Total for Tribe||3599||3079||1353||1124||9125|
194. It will be seen that whilst the adult males in the census of 1921 number three thousand five hundred and ninety nine compared to three thousand four hundred and thirty nine in the present assessment, the total populations was nine thousand one hundred twenty five compared to thirteen thousand nine hundred sixty one, or some fifty percent less. This serves as an example of the futility of placing any reliance in figures obtained in this manner.
195. There are numerous versions concerning the German method of arriving at the number of taxable males.
196. In some cases it was left to natives who counted the number of huts by taking a chip from the window frame of every hut; if the owner was unpopular with the collector, two were taken. In other cases the Chiefs stated the number of males they had in their Village area. The German definition of a tax-payer was a male who had arrived at the age of puberty.
197. It was also stated that the Chiefs in some cases deliberately over-stated their number of taxable males to prevent the possibility of their being placed under another Chief or ordered to move their position to some spot on a main road, of which they were in constant dread. The larger the Village the less likelihood of these calamities occurring.
198. This Area has not been assessed since the British occupation, and the figures for the taxable males have of necessity been based up to now on the German count. It was found that in many cases the number of tax-payers was considerably less than the figures taken from the German Census, which will be seen from the following table:-
DETAILS OF TAXABLE MALES
|Village Area of||Males Taxed in |
|Males taxed |
in previous years
200. The small increases in the FOSIMONGDI, FOLEPI, TSCHATI and FOTABONG areas, are due to a ore careful count.
201. The increase in the FOTO-DUNGETET area is due to the inclusion of the Hamlets of FONDUMBIN, FOMBE, and FOSSONGFI, formerly included in FOTABONG I.
202. The FONTEM Village Area shows a decrease of one hundred and six, of these sixty five are on plantations and six are excused on the grounds of ill health. Owing to the inclusion in this area of FONDONG, which was formerly under FOTABONG I, the decrease
is really seventy. This is accounted for by the fact that the Germans estimated FONTEM’S taxable males as one thousand, which exceeded by seventy his taxable capacity: FOMTEM states that he has been in the habit of paying for these people out of his own pocket, and as further examples of a similar nature came to light there is no reason to disbelieve his statements.
203. FONJUMETOR shows a decrease of sixty. Of these six are infirm and twelve were absent on plantations. SOMO, the FONJUNGWA Hamlet Head, wished to include thirty- two small boys about ten to twelve years of age in the tax list, on the grounds that they were orphans and could pay their tax by selling part of the estate left them by their fathers. This suggestion was not agreed to.
204. The greatest decrease, two hundred and twenty six, was seen in FOSIMO area. The hamlets of FONCHEBE, BASALI, FOGWE, and FOPE, formerly under FOSIMO, were not included in this Village Area since it may be expedient to place them under another Chief. These villages number about one hundred and twenty adult males. Thirty of the community have crossed into French country over a quarrel concerning a pig. Eighteen are on plantations and two are infirm. The remainder were paid for by FOSIMO himself.
205. The decrease in FOTABONG I is due to the transfer of the Villages of FONDONG to FONTEM and of FOMBE, FOSSONGFI, and FONDUMBIN to FOTO DUNGETET.
206. FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA shows a decrease of seventy nine. Ten were absent on plantations and one
infirm. The remainder died whilst absent on railway construction. Change of climate, the diet, brackish water, and injury were said to be the cause of the deaths. FIREJE had already reported this decrease to Mr. Rutherfoord, and the tax for 1921, needless to say, was immediately reduced.
207. There is a tendency amongst the BANGWA Chiefs to overcount their taxable population on in an endeavour to please. They are only too ready to include a youth the moment he is at an age to earn money, and they are very loath to make exceptions on the grounds of ill-health. Old men are rarely excused solely on the ground of old age, because the Chiefs point out that a respectable and aged citizen generally possesses many wives and much livestock and is quite in a position to pay.
208. The FOLEPI and TSCHATI Village Area Heads, who are not BANGWAS, have not the same command over their people as the BANGWAS, Chiefs, and counting was more difficult.
209. The males on plantations totalled one hundred and fifty five, and eighteen were excused on the grounds of ill health.
210. A thousand women were questioned concerning the number of children they had given birth to, the number which had died, the age at death and the numbers which had survived. The following table shows the results of these enquiries.
|Names of Village areas||No. of|
211. The total number of births by one thousand women was two thousand one hundred and thirty seven, and of these nine hundred and twenty seven, or forty three percent, died under six years of age.
The percentages are as follows:-
Of one hundred children born
|Deaths in the first week......||4|
|Death over one week and under one…..||7|
|Death over one month and under one year....||14|
|Death over one year and under six years…..||18|
|Living and over six years of age......||58|
THE MARRIAGEABLE AGE.
212. In the TSCHATI Area it was noticed that the proportion of married women was unusually large and yet plenty of young females were present. On investigation it was found that female children were taken to their husbands’ compounds and lived with at an unusually early age. It is quite usual for females to be married to their husbands and live connexion with them generally for two and sometimes three years, before they are properly developed or have reached the age of puberty.
213. In the Hamlet of Mofaw, out of twenty married females seven were quite young children hardly ten years of age. In FOTUNGO twenty out of ninety two were mere children. In FOTU nine girls were married, four of whom appeared quite undeveloped. They admitted they were not virgins, but did not appear to object to sexual intercourse. These four girls could not have been more than ten or eleven years of age at the most, and this was the general opinion.
214. The Village Area Heads of TSCHATI and FOLEPI (not of the BANGWA Tribe) admitted that it was their custom to marry at this age. It is well known to be injurious, and medicine is taken daily to counter-act the ill effects. If this medicine is not taken, the skin of the girl is said to dry up, her hair comes out, and she may die. The medicine is made from a leaf (DILUM) and is mixed with pepper. This medicine is taken for two or three years till, to quote the interpreter, "they reach proper woman." TSCHATI and FOLEPI admitted that the Germans had forbidden this early marriage, but since it was their custom they had continued its practice. It was stated that this was not a BANGWA custom and that FONTEM had made a law prohibiting it. This may be true, but there were one or two Hamlets with a suspiciously large proportion of married women compared to the proportion of female children.
215. Whilst there is a very efficient Clan organisation and the majority of the Clan Chiefs are capable men, there is no indication that there was at any time a Chief who was acknowledged by any Clans other than his own. The creation of District Head cannot, therefore, for a very long time if ever, be contemplated. In their wars there is no evidence to show the Clans ever united against a common enemy, or that at any time any one Clan was subject to the rule of a chief of another Clan; except by forcible methods as employed by the Germans.
216. The Native Court, of which all the Clan Chiefs are members and the President is FONTEM, has been created a Native Authority, and takes the place of a District Head. Whilst these Chiefs work together in harmony as members of this court, and are not averse to the President being the spokesman for instructions received from the District Officer, they would strongly object to the idea of being "under" FONTEM.
217. FONTEM, had it not been for the advent of the EUROPEAN, might have considerably enlarged his territory at the expense of other tribes, namely MBO and TAKWA, but he is the first to admit that he has never held authority over any other BANGWA Clan Chiefs.
218. The present organisation developed by Mr. Rutherford strikes one as being entirely satisfactory, and with a little further training in details should shortly become a most efficient administrative machine.
VI. VILLAGE ADMINISTRATION.
219. The Origin of the Clan Chiefs and the formation of the Village Areas have been fully discussed, it only remains to discuss the financial position of the Native Administration.
COST OF NATIVE ADMINISTRATION.
220. The total annual tax to be received from the Clans composing this tribal area is £836-16-.
221. It is hoped that the division of the tax will be in 1923.
50% or £418-8-0 to Government
50% or £418-8-0 to Native Administration
The Clan Chiefs are accustomed to receive 10% of the amount collected with the exception of FONTEM, who as President of the Native Court receives a salary of £72 per annum in lieu of share. The Hamlet Heads do not receive any portion of the tax.
222. The sum usually apportioned to District Head’s salary is 30% and to Village Heads 20% of the Native Administration share of the taxes collected by them. In this instance these sums would amount to £209-4-0.
223. There is no vestige of a Central Administration, and the District Administration is represented by the Clan Chiefs who are members of the BANGWA Native Court which has executive powers since it is a Native Authority; these Chiefs function not only as Village Heads, in the strict sense of the word, but collectively perform the duties of District Heads in that they are members of the aforesaid Court which takes the place of a District Head.
224. It is proposed therefore that for the shares usually apportioned to District and Village Administration, salaries should be substituted in the following proportions.
|Clan Chief.||Proposed salary.|
|Total for tribal Area /.........||£204|
226. FOTABONG III has been purposely omitted since he cannot claim to be a Clan Chief, and the sum he collects does not amount to £20; if considered necessary, he might receive 10% of the amount collected.
227. The cost of the upkeep of the Native Court is as follows:-
|1 Court messenger at £1-5-0 p.m. ..........||15-0-0|
|7 Court messenger at 15/- p.m. each.......||63-0-0|
|1 Native Court scribe at £38 p.a………..||38-0-0|
|The average receipts are from £20 to £30 per mensem.|
229. Expenditure is therefore:-
|By salaries to Clan Chiefs. ..........||£204-0-0|
|Upkeep of courts………………||116-0-0|
|Rest house attendant………….||6-0-0|
|and the Revenue is approximately|
|From direct taxation………………||£418-0-0|
|From Receipts from Native Court||250-0-0|
This leaves a balance of £142 towards education, capital works maintenance of prisoners, etc. etc. It will be seen therefore, that the Revenue received from this Tribal area rather more than pays for the upkeep of the Administration in all its branches; in other words it is in a sound financial condition.
228. On the arrival of the European a highly organised Judicial system existed amongst these Clans. The most advanced was the FONTEM Village Area. In this Clan each village or hamlet had its meeting house (DEINDE) where disputes were settled by the Hamlet Head assisted by the NCHUTI and two or three NKEM.
229. If in these Hamlets a litigant was not satisfied with the finding of the Council of the hamlet head, he would go to the Clan Chief who would, if he considered it necessary, retry the case in the presence of the Hamlet Head. In this case the Council of the Clan Chief acted as a Court of Appeal.
230. When two Clans were at war with one another a Clan Chief of recognised probity would sometimes be called in to adjudicate between the hostile Clans, and his decision was abided by.
231. The meeting house of the Clan Chief FONTEM, where cases were tried, is an amazing structure. The internal dimensions are forty-two by forty-five feet, and a height of twenty five feet. The walls and ceiling are completely panelled with bamboos. Special recesses are provided to seat the Hamlet Heads, and the building is covered by a dome shaped roof.
232. All BANGWA Clan Chiefs have their courts, but amongst the smaller Clans the Hamlet Heads send all cases to the Clan chief.
233. Cases would be heard by the Clan Chief assisted by the ASAA, the NKEM (NCHUTI), the ASABA, and some of the NKEM. The cross examination of the witnesses would be undertaken by the latter, and the Clan Chief would then pass sentence. But sentences were often carried out by a Juju Club on the instructions of the Clan Chief. In some tribes it is often stated that the Juju Societies dominated the Chief. This is certainly not the case as far as the BANGWAS are concerned, where the Chiefs give the orders to the Juju clubs.
234. Adultery was heavily punished. The guilty parties would generally be sold into slavery. In the case of adultery with a Chief’s wife the adulterer would be condemned to death and the sentence would be carried out by the TRO Juju, the executioner being AZOMWA.
235. Petty thefts were punished by fines. Stealing on a large scale was punishable by death.
236. Cases of witch-craft were tried by ordeal. The Chief would give both parties a certain fruit, when the guilty person would die.
237. All complaints in these areas are now dealt with in the Native Court at FONTEM. This Court is of the "D" grade. The members are the Clan Chiefs and the President is the Clan Chief FONTEM.
238. The following statement shows the number of cases tried in the FONTEM Native Court.
|From September |
to December 1920
|For whole year||From 1st January to |
31st August 1922
239. The fees for nine months ending on September 30th 1922 amounted to £136 : 3: - and the fines to £61 : 5: -. These receipts were rather higher in 1921.
240. The minutes of the Court Proceedings and the accounts are kept by a Native Court Scribe, Mr. R. Eyong. In the case of these Clans where the Native Administration is highly organised the President and members cannot be said to be dominated by the Court Scribe. The greatest decorum is observed during the sittings and ―contempt of Court‖ is immediately dealt with by the President.
241. The Court may be said to be most efficient considering the date of its inauguration.
242. Agricultural for the most part is the work of the women. The clearing of the bush and the sowing of the plantain patch is done by the men, and the rest of the work falls on the females.
243. Some ten men may join together and clear each other’s bush in rotation, and similarly the women may club together and assist each other; this is a modified form of the communal system and is termed "Eser or Eserte". But a well-to-do man may hire labour to clean his farms.
244. Every woman makes a farm, and the suggestion that some women might not wish to engage themselves in labour of this description was greeted with derision. As soon as a girl has passed the infant stage she accompanies her mother to the farm. A youth when he is able to afford to pay the dowry and get married may lead a life of utter idleness, if he wishes, since the wife has to farm a sufficient area of land to supply the needs the family, viz, the husband, any children, and herself.
245. The soil does not strike one as very fertile when compared with the rich earth of the lower levels. The same land is cultivated for two consecutive years but rarely more. Manure and fertilisers of any description are unknown. But rotation of crops is occasionally practised.
246. The crops planted are:- plantains, yams, cocoyams, ground-nuts, beans, native tomatoes, tobacco, sweet-potatoes, peppers, sugar-cane, corn, potatoes (English) jamba- jamba and mabo.
247. These Crops do not grow equally well in all localities. The largest yields of ground-nuts are obtained in the FONJUMETOR, FOSSONGO, FOSIMONGDI, and FOSIMO areas. Cocoyams do best in FONTEM, FOTO, and FOTABONG; sweet potatoes in FOTO and FONJUMETOR. The best English potatoes are obtained in FOSIMO and FOSIMONGDI, in the latter area there are many acres of English potatoes under cultivation. It was observed that the best crops of potatoes are always obtained at the highest levels; there are two kinds: a large white species and a pinkish variety, the latter is very popular with the FOSIMONGDIS.
248. The farms are scattered all over the mountain side, and a woman may have as many as six patches under cultivation at considerable distance from each other. Two crops are generally grown on the same ground, ground-nuts and cocoyams are planted together, corn and cocoyans, and ground-nuts and corn.
249. The average area farmed by a woman is about an acre or slightly less. The number of women in this Tribal Area is five thousand and sixty two; allowing that five per cent are unable to farm owing to old age or other causes, the total number of women engaged in farming is four thousand eight hundred, estimating the average farm is three quarters of an acre, than area under cultivation is approximately three thousand eight hundred to four thousand acres.
250. There are no special crops, and only a very very small proportion of the crops grown is sold. A woman will barter a little farm produce for luxuries in the shape of salt, peppers, and oil. Farm produce is never grown or sold with a view to paying taxes.
251. Out of an adult male population of three thousand four hundred and thirty nine, six hundred and forty seven are described as farmers. Although this is a very small proportion of the total males, these figures are misleading, since a well to-do citizen with numerous wives and many goats, who does nothing himself, will describe himself as a farmer.
252. Apart from Palm trees and a few bamboos there is very little sylvan wealth. There are large numbers of palm trees in the hollows but it cannot be said to be a yearly rich palm tree belt.
253. Kolas are cultivated particularly in FOTO, and bitter Kolas exist in small quantities.
254. There are good supplies of canes.
255. Professional sawyers and timber cutters do not visit these parts.
Land Tenure and Palm trees.
256. All land is invested in the Chief and divided amongst the Hamlet Heads. Moat families possess palm trees, and there is no record of any man ever having been deprived of his ownership. But the Clan Chiefs would nevertheless claim that all palm trees and land in their areas belonged to them.
257. Palm groves are sold in cases of emergency, if possible to a connexion or a relation. But in some cases the family loses interest and the purchaser’s descendants inherit the grove.
258. Anybody is permitted to purchase a palm grove provided he lives in the country. Aliens living in foreign parts would not be allowed to obtain any interest in palm trees. The BANGWAS would not sell to a European for he is too clever.
259. A well-to-do man often hires out his palm claims and receives an agreed number of pots of palm oil per annum for the use of the trees. The owner, in some
cases, has the privilege of buying the kernels at a reduced rate. This arrangement may be terminated at will by either party. Most palm trees groves are named and it is evident from the preceding paragraphs that the greatest caution is exercised to prevent palm tree rights going out of the family.
260. As examples of sales of palm bush, FOSSONGO purchased the grove known as WASTSON from FONGU of FONJUMETOR for one hundred and twenty Marks, and a small grove from FOMWENTI for sixty Marks. In the F0TO-DUNGETET area the father of the Hamlet Head of KAMATIMBA bought a palm grove from FONJENGWA man for 140 Marks, but on his death the bush was sold back for the same price. ASONKON of FAWCHAP-MENDI bought a palm claim in FONKUM for thirty Marks.
261. All Clan Chiefs derive large income in the shape of Palm oil from their palm tree rights. Whilst the Hamlet Heads do not receive nearly as much as the Clan Chiefs, their holdings yield a considerable return. In the FONTEM area the Hamlet Heads receive the following number of pots of palm oil from their Palm bush let out on hire.
|Hamlet Heads of |
the FONTEM area.
|Pots of oil|
262. Industrial pursuits are practically palm oil. Out of an adult male population of three thousand four hundred and thirty nine, fifteen hundred and twenty seven are engaged in the palm oil industry.
263. Other occupations and industries are:—
|Palm oil industry||1527|
|Native Court Messenger||4|
264. The purest palm oil is made in the FOREKE-TCHA- TCHA area; the usual methods are employed.
265. The Blacksmiths forge the gongs and the pieces of metal which are attached to many of the dresses used in the plays. The iron wristlets and anklets worn by the women are also made by them. The knives made by the blacksmith of the Clan Chief FONTEM are particularly good examples of native workmanship.
266. There are three builders in FONTEM who assist in new
huts, but practically all the inhabitants are acquainted with this industry.
XI. CATTLE AND LIVESTOCK.
267. There are eight head of cattle in the District owned by the Clan Chief FONTEM. In German tines there were considerably more, most of the Clan Chiefs owning a few head and the richest inhabitants one or two, but these were commandeered during the war.
268. Sheep, goat, and Swine thrive in these mountain areas and the following numbers of livestock were recorded.
269. In the area of FOSIMONGDI the greatest numbers of sheep and goats were found.
270. Poultry is plentiful in all Villages.
XII. TRADE AND CURRENCY.
271. There is a large volume of trade, and markets are numerous both in the area under review and in the adjoining districts.
272. Markets are established at FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA, FONTEM, FOTABONG I, FOTO-NDUNGETET, FOSSONGO, FOSIMO, and TSCHATI. The markets patronised by the BANGWAS in the French Country are BAFO-FONDON, SANJE, BANGAN, SAMEGON, FONGO-TUNGA, and FOLIVIN. The BANYANGI and MBO markets are also visited, but the majority of trade lies with the French.
273. The largest market is at FONTEM. On market day some two or three thousand people will be collected in the market by ten o’clock in the morning. Trade is brisk, and very soon traders will be seen departing with bush bags of kernels to be sold to the factories at NKONGSAMBA some sixty miles distant. There is very little haggling over prices. At half past two the market is empty except for stragglers.
274. The following merchandise and foodstuffs are usually exposed for sale at the prices quoted.
|Kernels||Salt bag||7-8 Marks|
|Kernels||Bush pag||4-6 Marks|
|Kernels||Small basket||average 5-6 Marks 1/2 Mks|
|Palm oil||Large drum almost 2 Gallons||8-9 Marks|
|Palm oil||Calabash||2 1/2 Marks|
|Palm oil||Leaf bottle||1/2 Marks|
|Plantains||Two hands||1/2 Marks|
|Potatoes (English)||Small Basket||1d|
|Sugar Cane||Per stick||1d|
|III. Livestock.||According to size.|
|Goats||According to size.||12-24 Marks|
|Sheep||According to size.||8-25 Marks|
|Swine||According to size.||3-25 Marks|
|Fowls||According to size.||1-4 Marks|
|Swine meat||Per leg or quantity.||1-3 Marks|
|Clay pipes||According to size||2d|
|Salt (Rolls)||Per roll||1/2 Mark|
|Bags (Grass)||Bush bags||1/2 Mark|
|Worm Lozenges||Per lozenge||1d|
|Knives||Per knives||1/2d or 2d|
|Cutlasses||Per cutlass||3 Marks|
|Wooden boxes||Small||3 Marks|
|Pots (clay)||Per pot||4d|
|Cloth||Per piece||15 Marks|
|Cloth||Per yard||3 Marks|
|Waist coats||Second hand||9-12 Marks|
|and a miscellaneous||Edit|
|collection of old clothes||Varying prices||60 Marks is asked|
for an old overcoat.
275. Foodstuffs are only sold in small quantities to provide luxuries for the family in the shape of pepper, camwood and Kolas.
276. The penny quoted is the 10 pfennig piece.
277. Markets are held every eighth day, and although the FONTEM market is the biggest amongst these Clans large numbers visit the other markets. FOSSONGO Market, known as "SAMELKIN", is a popular trade centre and much used by the "GRASS-FIELD" natives from the French side. It is a common thing for two hundred or more bushels of kernels to be disposed of in the first two hours of business. Even in the drenching rain a considerable number of traders, chiefly women, would continue to sell their wares. Palm oil is snapped up the minute it enters the market and is used for local consumption by the Grass Field natives, who do not possess a single palm tree between them and are not acquainted with the manufacture of groundnut oil.
278. It is regrettable that the flow of trade, as far as produce and oil is concerned, gravitates to NKONGSAMBA in the French Cameroons, where there are thirteen firms in brisk competition with each other. For some two miles along the roads leading into NKONGSAMBA middlemen with their scales may be seen soliciting the natives passing with produce who will ask would-be buyers what price they will give for their load of produce before finally disposing of it to the highest bidder.
279. Trade in Mamfe Division presents quite a different picture; during the three months spent in the BANGWA area not a single European firm in this Division was buying produce of any description. The BANGWA is therefore forced to sell in French markets or to French customers in order to obtain the necessary money to pay his tax. English currency as a result is practically never seen.
280. The only trade from the French side to the English markets is in livestock. Goat and sheep bought in the French markets are sold to the greater advantage the nearer they approach to Calabar. Nearly all the inhabitants of these areas had at some time or other visited NKONGSAMBA, and so keen is the competition that the native has every opportunity of disposing of his wares to the best advantage. In actual precise the BANGWA prefers to sell in his own markets at a lower rate rather than be bothered to carry his produce to NKONGSAMBA.
281. The difference between the cost of a load of produce in the local markets and at the rail head is in the neighbourhood of five or six marks; taking the short cuts over the hills the journey can be performed in three days. By this means any able bodied individual can
quickly possess himself of a little ready money, and as far as German currency is concerned the collection of the necessary tax money presents no difficulties.
282. The value of the mark in 1916 was taken to be equivalent to 9d, and its value has gradually decreased in treasury circles. During the present year it is reckoned for taxation purposes to be equivalent to 6d. This is not the case amongst the BANGWAS, who still regard the mark as equivalent to a shilling and in the BANGWA markets it has very nearly the same purchasing power.
283. This was demonstrated on numerous occasions during the tour. A domestic servant or a member of the assessing party would enquire the price of an article, and if told two marks would offer a shilling, result a heated argument and a complaint to the Political Officer. The question of currency and exchange will be further discussed under taxation.
XIII. ROADS, REST-HOUSES, AND BRIDGES.
284. The TALI, FONTEM, FOTABONG, FOTO-DUNGETET, DSCHANG road is the only one worthy of the name.
285. The surface of this road, is, at present, poor owing to the heavy rains which have washed away the earth from the metalling. But it is possible that it would be quite feasible at a cost of £300-£500 per mile to make this road suitable for motor transport to connect it, if considered desirable, with the DSCHANG-NKONGSAMBA motor road.
286. The paths connecting the Village Areas and Hamlets are little better than goat tracks.
287. There is a rest-house at FONTEM and a small shed like structure at FOSIMONGDI. In the remaining villages the meeting- house or a native hut is the only accommodation for the European traveller.
288. The Clan Chiefs would no doubt be only too pleased to erect Rafia Palm rest-house at the Head Village of their area. These shelters could be built at a quite trifling cost from Native Administration Funds.
XIV. EDUCATION AND MISSIONS.
289. The percentage of the English speaking population compared with surrounding districts is very small. Only six hundred and fifty out of three thousand four hundred and thirty nine adult males have a fair knowledge of English.
290. There are sixteen Catholic and thirteen Protestant converts. But according to the returns of the Mission Teachers, of which there are six, there are thirty nine converts and one hundred and forty four learners.
291. There are Mission Teachers at FONTEM, FOTABONG I FOTO-DUNGETET, FOSSONGO, FONJUNGWA and FONDUMBIN, and in most cases the Village Area Head went, on his own initiative, to the Father at DSCHANG and asked him to send a teacher. The teachers were sent and the Village Area Head usually promised the Father to pay his teacher a small monthly wage in addition to a percentage of the collections. The teachers, who in most cases are well clothed and fed, rely entirely on voluntary donations of money and food from the inhabitants of the hamlets they cater for.
292. In the Northern Village Areas the missionary has not penetrated, but in the neighbourhood of FONTEM he is certainly popular. There is no prejudice against him, and Chief FONTEM himself, who professes not to care for doctrine, nevertheless frequently attends the services on Sunday.
293. Chief FOTODUNGETET, a most promising youth, stated that he engaged a teacher from DSCHANG to prevent the younger population proceeding to the plantations where services were held. This Chief takes daily lessons from the teacher in reading and writing. Chief FOTABONG I, employs a small mission boy about fourteen years of age to act as his "Clerk".
294. A native Administration School was started at FONTEM whilst this assessment was in progress. About thirty pupils were immediately obtained and commenced work in the covered porch of one of the Chief’s compounds. School buildings are being constructed to accommodate one hundred and fifty pupils most of whom will be boarders.
295. Education is popular amongst the Elders, and it should not be difficult to keep this school up to full strength. The children attending there appeared particularly intelligent. At the end of a week fifteen of the pupils were able to pass in the A, B, C, and pick out letters on a blackboard.
296. The Mission teachers at FONDUMBIN, FOSSONGO, and FONTEM, had a few pupils whom they taught reading and writing. But the newly inaugurated native Administration schools will most likely absorb all these pupils.
297. There is no record of taxation prior to the advent of the European but donations of palm oil and annual gifts were given to the Clan Chiefs.
298. In German times a Capitation Tax was imposed on males who had reached the age of puberty, and at the time of the English occupation the tax was stated to be six or seven a half marks, for all the Clans with the exception of FORKE-TCHA-TCHA and FOTABONG III, where the tax was twelve marks.
299. The first year that taxes were collected by the English was in 1916 and since that year the fluctuations in the value of the mark have been considerable.
300. The following table shows the number of marks paid by the tax payer and the English equivalent in shillings.
|BANGWA CLANS||FOREKE AND FOTABONG III|
|1916||7 1/2||9d||5s 7 1/2d||12||9||9/-|
301. Out of a total of three thousand two hundred and sixty six adults, fifteen hundred and twenty seven are engaged in the manufacture of palm oil.
302. The earnings of the individual in this trade depend chiefly on his enthusiasm for work. Four men working together, it is said, easily make five to six tins of palm oil in a week, the kerosene tin in question being valued at eight to twelve marks. In TSCHAI it is not considered hard for a man to earn a £1 or more in a month. From a mass of statistics it may safely be said that an annual out-put of about twelve kerosene tins of palm oil and the accompanying kernels will comfortably yield a profit of £6.0.0 per annum, which is taken as a conservative estimate.
303. The next moat popular form of employment is petty trading. In the numerous markets of the District, and in the neighbouring French country, there in a considerable trade in goats, sheep and pigs, and when once a man possesses three head of livestock, say two goats and a pig, he is so to speak well set up in business. This consists in selling his stock in the BAYANGI or BANGWA markets for a profit of one or two Marks, buying in the French markets where sales of stock are unlimited, and re-selling. The trading in oil and kernels is also considerable.
304. Numerous traders were questioned as to their earnings. In the FOSIMO area sixteen traders earned on an average twenty marks a month. In FOSIMONGDI, an area particularly rich in livestock twenty traders averaged twenty five marks per month. In FOTO-DUNGETET and FOSSONGO, ten traders averaged thirty three marks a month respectively.
305. A trader would on an average visit from two to four markets a week and according to the value of stock might quite well make a profit from one to five marks per market visited; this would give him an income varying from sixteen to eighty marks a month; or from 8/- to 40/- profit per mensem.
306. For taxation purposes it is considered that a trader’s annual earnings, or capacity to earn, may at a reasonable and low estimate be taken to be at least six pounds a year.
307. From the list of occupations it will be seen that some six hundred and forty seven adult males are classed as farmers. It is difficult to estimate the incomes of these individuals, for in the majority of cases they do no work of any description. An adult describing himself as a farmer is generally of advanced years, the possessor of several wives, perhaps three to five, and a few goats and sheep. He is often in the position of having marriageable daughters who are a source of considerable income to him. The produce of the farms of his wives, apart from feeding himself and the family, allows for a considerable amount of entertaining, which in expected from a citizen of repute. Since he can afford to lead a life of laziness in the bosom of his family, he should at least be able to pay a tax equivalent to the trader or palm oil maker.
308. The remaining industrials, thirty-nine in number, do not require special comment and their earnings are taken to be approximately the same as for the trader and oil makers.
309. The average earning capacity of an adult male in these areas is therefore taken to be equivalent to six pounds a year.,.
310. From the table in paragraph (300) the Capitation tax paid in 1922 was 7/- in the case of FOREKE-TCHA-TCHA and FOTABONG III, and 4/6 for the remaining inhabitants of the BANGWA Clans. It is proposed to leave the tax for FOREKE-TCHA- TCHA at 7/.- and to raise the tax for the remaining clans from 4/6 to 5/- per adult male.
PERCENTAGE OF ANNUAL EARNINGS OF PROPOSED TAX.
311. Since the average earnings of a taxpayer are estimated to be £6.0.0. per annum, exclusive of all living expenses in the shape of farm produce and of all profit derived from stock, then the proposed tax is equivalent to an income tax of 5.8% in the case of FOREKE— TCHA-TCHA and FOTABONG III and 4.1% for the remaining BANGWA Clans.
312. The reason why the inhabitants of FOREKE-TCHA- TCHA and FOTABONG III were asked by the Germans to pay twelve marks per taxable male in not clear, for while their customs are in some ways more civilised, neither are there any special industries nor do they enjoy superior economic advantages to warrant this increased tax. Since however they have paid tax of seven shillings from the time of British occupation and there have been no suggestions as to any hardship being felt in paying this amount, it is proposed to maintain the same rate.
313. It is not proposed to increase the BANGWA tax, the change from 4/6 to 5/- is negligible, for there are not at present any factories operating in the Mamfe Division and until British firms commence to purchase produce considerable difficulty may be experienced in obtaining the necessary
necessary British currency to pay the 1923-1924 tax. Practically the whole of the 1922 tax was paid in marks.
314. But on the revival of Trade, when factories are again opened in Mamfe or TALI, the tax imposed on these Clans can be considerably increased; in view of the fact that women are not taxed, a uniform rate of 8/- or even 10/- would not under these circumstances be too much.
THE VALUE OF LIVESTOCK IN ESTIMATING
THE ANNUAL PROFITS OF A COMMUNITY.
315. The livestock counted amounted to sheep, 1030, goats, 9532, and swine, 3378, making a total of 14,040. The possession of these fourteen thousand head of stock represents considerable annual profits to the community.
316. Reckoning that out of 9532 goats valued at £1 per head 50% or 4,500 are females and that each goat has one kid per annum, (in practice this is a low estimate) then at the end of a year the number of goats has been increased by four thousand five hundred head i.e. (4.500). Allowing that 25% of these animals be deducted for keeping the herd up to strength and for fertilising purposes the annual profits from this flock may be considered to be in the neighbourhood of £3000 to £3300 per annum. A flock of goats, then, valued at £9500, produces annually profits of from £3000- £3300 or approximately 30 - 35%.
317. By similar arguments the 1030 head of sheep worth £1000 may be estimated to yield annual profit of £300 -£330.
318. Estimating that out of 3378 swine two thousand aresows of which fifty per cent are fertile and produce average litters of four pigs per litter, the herd
herd annually increases in value by 4000 swine. Allowing 25% for improving the stock, then the annual profits from the 3378 swine counted is in the neighbourhood of £ 3000. The annual profits obtainable from livestock are approximately:-
|From 9532 goats||£3,300|
|From 1030 sheep||300|
|From 3378 pigs||3,000|
319. These figures are illuminating, for they prove conclusively that in mountainous districts where the country is essentially suitable for stock, where crops are poor, and industries practically unknown, the possession of herds of goats and sheep alone forms a sound argument for the imposition of a not insignificant capitation tax. In the case of BANGWA clans, where stock may be considered only a secondary consideration if that, a 10% tax on the herds alone would produce a tax of £440 per annum.
320. Whilst the usual precautions were taken it is more than likely that there is considerable evasion in counting goats and sheep. In practice an owner would hardly ever declare the kids.
VALUE OF CROPS HARVESTED.
321. The average area farmed by a women was found to be approximately three fourths of an acre or slightly more. The total number of women was found to be
be five thousand and sixty two; allowing that five per cent do not farm owing to sickness, old age, or other causes, then the area under cultivation is approximately 4000 acres. This means that an acre of cultivated land has to support three to four head of population, say a man, his wife, and one or two children. The average cost of feeding an individual is about 11⁄2 per diem; this would mean that the gross value of the produce obtained from one acre of land is £2.10/- in other words the yield of cultivated land is £2.10/- per acre.
PERCENTAGE OF ANNUAL EARNINGS OF PROPOSED TAX FROM ALL
SOURCES INCLUDING LIVESTOCK AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE.
322. The value from all sources i.e., traders, agriculture, and livestock for these clans may be calculated as follows:-
|1.||Livestock: Gross annual value from livestock||£4,400|
|2.||Agriculture. Gross annual value of produce from |
4000 acres of cultivated land at £2.10/- per acre
|3.||Industries and Miscellaneous.
(a) Earnings of 1527 males engaged in the palm oil
industry at £6 per annum
|(b) Earnings of 713 traders at £6 per annum each||4,278|
|(c) Earnings of 379 Chindas, hamlet
heads and miscellaneous industrials
at £6 per annum
|From Gross earnings from all sources and profits |
from crops and flocks
EXEMPTED FROM TAXATION.
323. The total number of males excused taxation on the grounds of ill health and injury was eighteen. Old age was rarely taken as an excuse since the elders all possessed considerable property and were quite in a position to pay.
The incidences of taxation are:-
|per adult male||5/-|
|per adult male and female||2/-|
|per head of population||1s 2 1/2d|
324. The question of the taxation of women is worthy of consideration. At the present time a large proportion of women falls into the hands of the wealthy members of the community. The Clan Chiefs FONTEM and FONJUMETOR both possess one hundred or more wives, and many others possess ten, fifteen and twenty women.
325. Of the three thousand two hundred and sixty six males paying taxes one thousand and five are not married. This means that five thousand and sixty two females are married to the remaining two thousand one hundred and seventy one males. Allowing each male one wife then there are two thousand eight hundred and ninety one females who might well be taxed on the grounds that they are of so annual value to their husbands. As a point of fact the value of produce grown by one woman is worth from £2 to £3 per annum. If all husbands were made to pay an additional 4/- for every wife they possessed above one, then a further tax of 2891 x 4/- or £578 would be collected.
326. There is no doubt that the taxation of women would be most unpopular with the Clan Chiefs and hamlet heads who now own an unduly large percentage of the adult females. But it is desirable in that it would tend to increase the population by diverting some of the women from the elders to the younger generation.
327. The tax now in force is a capitation tax levied on all males who are capable of earning money; by this system every tax payer knows exactly how much he has to pay and obtains a receipt. Whilst the existing native administrative machinery is capable, it is still crude and requires polishing, and for several years to come, the present system of taxation is sufficient to meet the needs of this district.
328. If in a few years’ time a boom in trade considerably increases the earnings of the industrials engaged in the manufacture of palm oil, then this class of wage earner might be taxed at a higher rate, and the tax then becomes a graduated capitation tax which is the dawn of an income tax. But the day of graduated income tax is very far distant, for in a community of this description the annual earnings, or the capacity to earn, do not vary very much, except in the case of Clan Chiefs with large palm oil claims, and an elaborate paper system of so-called graduated income tax is therefore unnecessary.
TAXATION IN THE FRENCH CAMEROONS.
329. According to Gazette notices in the French Gazette, the tax for 1923 in the Dschang Division, which adjoins the BAMENDA CLANS, is ten francs per male for the DSCHANG DISTRICT and fifteen francs per male for the remaining districts of the DSCHANG DIVISION.
330. Females are taxed at the rate of ten francs per head with the exception of women who have a child under twelve years, who are exempt.
331. In addition to the capitation tax there is also a road tax of ten francs (?) per male. According to French law, it is the duty of every citizen to work a definite number of days on the roads, but he may become exempt by the payment of this amount. The French Treasurer accepts a mark as the equivalent of a franc.
DETAILS OF TAX COLLECTION.
332. Difficulties of any gravity have never been experienced in collecting taxes from the BANGWAS. On the whole, considering the continual change in the value of the mark, the collection of taxes has been performed in a very creditable manner.
333. The 1922 taxes were collected in about ten days. Whilst the Chiefs knew how much each tax payer had to pay they did not always know the total of the tax required from their village areas.
334. The method of collection of taxes is through the President of the Native Court, i.e., Clan Chief FONTEM. Notice of the approach of the collection of taxes is given by the Divisional officer to the President of the Court, now a Native Authority, who then by means of the court scribe inform all the members of the date of collection. The tax is then brought in on the appointed date. Every tax payer is presented with a stamped disc which acts as a receipt.
XVI. IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION.
335. There is very little in immigration and emigration. Whilst the French and English natives are always crossing the international boundary to visit the numerous markets, change of residence, with a few notable exceptions, is rare.
336. Clan Chief FOSIMO was censured for concealing the fact that he had enticed some French natives from across the boundary and was endeavouring to get them to pay tax to him. Settlers are practically unknown.
337. There was considerable buying and selling of slaves before the coming of the European but it is unlikely that there is any longer traffic in slaves.
338. The position of the CHINDA is of interest. The CHINDAS, hitherto described as servants in the Chief’s households are, really slaves. The duties of a Chinda are very elastic, whilst he must perform any tasks given him by his master, he is allowed to devote the greater part of his time to trading, farming, or wherever his inclinations take him.
339. The child of a CHINDA is ―NBEMBE‖ which means that his parents are slaves and that he or she is not freeborn. A CHINDA’S daughter, i.e. an NBEMBE, may marry but half the dowry goes to the Clan Chief and the other half to the CHINDA.
340. A CHINDA who possesses three wives may reside reside in his own compound but children are still NBEMBE. A clan Chief may marry an NBEMBE.
341. The Chinda is the trusted servant of the Chief, his lot is entirely a happy one, and he would not have it altered. The suggestion of a redemption was greeted with much amusement and considered foolish.
342. Whilst women are not considered in the light of slaves, slavery in its most severe aspect could hardly impose a life of more toil and less luxury than is enjoyed by the average BANGWA woman. She wears no clothing of any description and she is purposely kept nude lest she should begin to indulge in luxury and thereby lessen her utility. When not employed in getting firewood, a no mean task, she is busy working from early morning to a late hour on the farm and then her domestic duties commence. The wives of the Clan Chiefs are in a no better position. A notable in a village of a Clan Chief is Mafaw the Head woman of the town. The MAFAW has a council house of her own which is quite an imposing structure in the case of MAFAW of FONTEM, and there she dispenses justice amongst the women who bring their complaints to her and whom she rules with a rod of iron. 343. An elephant hide whips was observed in MAFAW’S council house, this is used when the MAFAW orders corporal punishment to be meted out to an offender, but this is very rarely the case.
344. The MAFAW does not marry, marriage is beneath her dignity. But she may invite anyone she fancies to share temporarily her favours and the children of these unions are looked up to and move in the best BANGWA society. The MAFAW wearing a short gown and a hat, her arms covered with ivory bangles and her ankles with silver charms, carrying the unmistakeable insignia of her office, a horsetail with a highly decorated handle, is a picturesque figure in an highly picturesque community.
XVIII. MEDICAL AND SANITATION.
345. The hamlets are well kept and every compound is provided with a latrine.
346. There are occasionally outbreaks of small-pox but these epidemics are not frequent.
347. Venereal disease is occasionally met with but since the itinerant Hausa rarely visit these parts this form of disease is not prevalent.
348. Owing to the cold and incessant mists deaths are most frequently due to pneumonia and pleurisy. Pains in the chest are frequently complained of. On the whole these areas may be considered healthy.
349. The question of infant mortality has been discussed in paras 210 - 211 supra.
XIX. ETHNOLOGICAL NOTES ON THE BANGWA TRIBE.
These not were compiled whilst visiting the Bangwa Clans. The most important Native authority consulted was ASUNYI Chief of FONTEM.
350. When it is known that a woman is pregnant she begins to take medicine made from a leaf (NDWOT); she takes this medicine once in two days. When she is about to give birth, the services of a midwife (MANCHU) are obtained. MANCHU may be a man or a woman. Just before birth another kind of medicine (from leaves ABOLENTAN and DILUN) is given. If the child is born early in the morning it will grow satisfactorily, but if it is born about midday then it will have a bad character. There does not appear to be any ceremony connected with birth.
351. Twins are considered very lucky. On the birth of twins a fence is put round the hut, a chicken is caught, a feather is taken and heated in the fire and is rubbed on the nose of the twins. This is a form of salutation. The Clan Chief then sends camwood and a large piece of salt belonging to the original ancestor of the clan. These are placed in the hut where the woman has given birth, and are returned perhaps nine months or a year after birth. The day after there is a dance ESE this day is ALONG.
352. In the case of any serious trouble all women who have given birth to twins are called, and they arrive holding the EFOR stick. The Chief then explains the bad news to the women who all hold a calabash full of water which is then spilled, a goat is killed and cut in small pieces and this meat is thrown away in the bush. This is supposed to counteract the coming evil.
353. The day the child is born, the father father takes a leaf LU, which is squeezed into the ear of the child, and the name is spoken.
354. If the husband of the women is not the father of the child two names are given, one by the mother and one by the husband but there is in this case a certain amount of malice attached to the names. The name given by the husband might be BELEE, this means "if God does not protect him, this unfaithful wife may kill this child". The mother may call the child NKELA which means may "my husband has given me much trouble so a stranger has made me conceive" or ASUARAGARA which means "whatever my husband wishes to do to me so he must do", this is an expression of regret.
355. Circumcision is practised. This operation takes place two or three weeks after birth. Earth, CENTE, obtained from ground underneath the big drum NKANG, is sprinkled on the child’s head on the morning of the operation. There is no ceremonial.
356. The teeth are always filed generally the four top and bottom incisors. If a man has not had his teeth filed he loses caste, and no one has anything to do with him.
357. There are no tribal markings, but the backs, chests, arms, and stomachs of both males and females are a mass of markings. These markings are very cleverly executed in complicated symmetrical patterns.
TRANING OF CHILDREN.
358. A boy aged five is given a small bag, a strip of cloth and a matchet. When ten or twelve he will follow his father’s occupation. Female children are taught to work as soon as they can walk and at an early age follow their mothers to the farm.
359. If a men sees a girl he would like to marry he makes advances to her, and, if encouraged, he goes to his mother (in the case of a chief’s son to the MAFAW), and asks her to go to the girl’s father and ask permission for him to become engaged to his daughter. If the father of the girl agrees a goat is sent to him as a preliminary. The father then sends a message to the effect that in two or three week’s time he will come to discuss the question of his daughter’s dowry, and they must have this ready. There is no fixed dowry. A chief’s or NKEM’S daughter commands a much higher dowry than a girl lower down in the social scale. When the father arrives two hundred marks are generally given. Anytime the girl’s mother visits the house of her proposed son-in-law she also receives presents. The maternal grandfather will also be paid two hundred marks. The brother-in-law too is entitled to various presents. When a girl is of a marriageable age she is marked on back, chest, and stomach, which is the sign of her approaching marriage. At the time of the marking the girl’s fiancé kills four goats and sends the meat of two to the girl’s father and of the other two the girl’s mother. A live goat is also given to the father, and fourteen marks to the mother to buy a new hoe for farm work. Two bags of beans are given to the father. This concludes the list of presents. The suitor then sends his friends to fetch the wife, and by the friends of the bridegroom on the day of the marriage and then a goat is killed of which the four legs are hidden in the bridegroom’s sleeping hut. Four women then escort the bride to this hut. They take three of the goat’s legs and the fourth is sent to the bride’s mother.
360. If it is found that the girl is not a virgin the irate bridegroom would seize the four women who escorted the bride to his hut and sell them as slaves. This custom has been prohibited since the arrival of the European much to the regret of the BANGWAS. The bride might in some cases be sold as slave.
361. Since the coming of the European, in the eyes of the BANGWA immorality has much increased, and punishments now inflicted do not act as a deterrent to the same extent.
COMPULSION TO MARRY.
362. A girl must marry the husband that her father chooses for her. If she were allowed to pick and choose endless trouble would result.
363. A woman would be granted a divorce if the husband does not cohabit with her. A man could be granted a divorce if his wife does not obey him and if she is unfaithful or is be-witched.
364. If a man is given a woman and no dowry is paid, any children of the marriage go to the donor of the woman, who is nearly always the Clan Chief.
RIGHT TO WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
365. A man on his death bed distributes his wives amongst his sons. The favourite son, not necessarily the oldest, will inherit by far the largest number of wives; the remaining wives will be distributed amongst the other sons; but there is no fixed rule. In the case of children they are all inherited by the favourite son, although the wives may be inherited by different sons. The mother has nothing to say in the matter nor do women inherit.
366. On death, if the deceased is not suffering from an infectious disease, he is buried in his sleeping room. The body is washed by the head wife and his sons and rubbed with Camwood. The corpse is then dressed and placed in the compound in sight of the people. The relations of the deceased come and mourn and the JU-JU clubs to which the deceased belongs. The body is then taken to the hut where it is to be buried and a post-mortem examination is made by NYATUNWA. The relations of the deceased bring six feet lengths of cloth in which the body is wrapped up, it is then put in the grave.
The corpse reclines in a sitting up position facing the East with the hands under the chin. If a daughter of the deceased refused the present of the cloth with which the corpse is wrapped from a suitor, it signifies she does not want to marry him.
367. Women are never buried in the compound or house. If the deceased woman has borne a child she is buried behind the compound, but if there is no child she is buried anywhere in the bush.
368. The relations then arrive; each one takes a little earth, holds it to the forehead and repeats the words "IF I HAVE DONE THE DECEASED ANY HARM, IT BEHOVES ME TO DIE".
369. The father of the deceased then comes and says "IF I HAVE DONE MY DEAD SON ANY HARM MAY I DIE IN SEVEN DAYS". The grave is then filled in.
370. The day of the dance for the deceased is then arranged. On this day au the JU-JU Clubs to which the deceased belongs come with their guns and dance accompanied by much shooting. Each JU-JU company is given a goat.
371. Cremation is not known but in the case of a woman who has given birth to several children all of whom have died, if she bears another child which also dies, the body is as being responsible for the deaths of the previous children.
BURIAL OF HAMLET HEADS (BEFONTE) AND BAKUM.
372. On the death of an Hamlet Head a piece of cloth is sent by the Clan Chief to wrap the corpse in. The Clan Chief and the Hamlet Heads then come for the funeral. Before the arrival of the Clan Chief and the Division of property no one is allowed to touch the farms of the deceased or interfere with any article in his compound. This order is enforced by the "TRU" stick. A long black staff with leaves tied to the top is stuck in the ground and this represents the order of the most powerful BANGWA FETISH. The body is taken to the grave by members of the TRU JU-JU.
373. The Clan Chief comes at a later date and divides the property according to the wishes of the deceased, and receives forty marks or two goats. The Chief then sends the TRU JU-JU and the BAKUM for the burial dance which lasts throughout the night. A fee of two hundred marks is paid to the Chief of which eighty marks is distributed amongst the BAKUM.
374. A Clan Chief can dismiss an Hamlet Head if he does not satisfactorily perform his duties. The Clan Chief would then go to the grave and offer a small goat as a sacrifice. The name of the deceased would be called and the Chief would explain that the son whom he choose to succeed him is unworthy and that it has been necessary to change him and appoint another son of the deceased.
375. This was actually done by FONTEM in the case of the Hamlet of FOTODONGETET when DECHAMBE was driven out. Also in the case of the Hamlet Head of FOSSONGO when TAINYIGU was dismissed.
BURIAL CUSTOMS FOR A CLAN CHIEF.
376. When a Clan Chief is sick and considers his death is near he summons all Chiefs from far and near. When they arrive they are taken before the dying Chief. He then washes his mouth with water salutes the assembled Chiefs, and informs them of his approaching death. The son selected to succeed him as Clan Chief is then called and it is proclaimed to the assembled Chiefs that this is the son to succeed him and that they are to safeguard his son’s interest after his death.
377. The dying Chief then states exactly how he wishes his property disposed of and how he wishes his wives distributed. The Chiefs then take an oath that they will see these instructions faithfully carried out. Each Chief cuts off a small piece of hair and hands it to the dying Chief who makes a small incision in his arm, soaks the hair with his blood and swallows it.
378. When the Chief is dead the body is washed by his daughters and favourite wife. The leaf BELANG is then ground up and all these women rub the corpse with this powdered leaf. A white chicken is tied to the right hand and five beads (AKET) are placed in the dead Chief’s mouth. The body is dressed in especially fine raiment set aside for the purpose. The grave is dug by "NGUFET" and the body is buried by the TRU FETISH in a grave near the other Clan Chiefs. A post-mortem examination is often held.
379. Up to the burying there is silence in the Village and no lamentations until NGUFET comes with TRU and cuts the small string tied round the waist of all the Chief’s wives. At this signal all the women break into lamentations. The sons and Chinda of the Chief first dance NKWE followed by the Hamlet heads and the BAKUM. The important Chiefs then commence to come from all the surrounding tribes. These visits of condolence and respect to the deceased may continue for as long as a year. The newly appointed Clan Chief does not use the chair or the clothes of the deceased till a considerable time has elapsed.
380. The religious scruples of these people take the form of ancestor worship. A Chief will frequently go the graves of his forefathers (ETUBEFA) and commune with them. Supposing one of the Chief’s sons wishes to cut himself adrift from the family the Chief will invoke the departed ancestors and a calamity is certain to overtake the offender. A visit to the graves of the ancestors is always taken before going on a long journey or taking part in any enterprise. The Clan Chief, it would appear, has power over all the Chiefs under him, since he alone has the power to commune with or propitiate the spirit of their ancestors. If a soothsayer tells an Hamlet Head that he should take some salt to the graves of his fathers, then the Hamlet Head would have to go to the Chief who is the only one in the family who can help him. This is a strong element in keeping the heads of the branches of the family subservient to the wishes of the Clan Chief. During the last generation an idea of a DEITY, NDEM has become popular. This deity has become known from the fortune tellers. If a soothsayer prophecies evil then a sacrifice is made of a goat at the NDEM shrine, which is a small hut-like structure in the bush. Every individual has his own shrine. A soothsayer is frequently called to interpret dreams.
381. Property is divided at the will of the deceased there is no special law of proportion according to the age of the children. The women may be given some small things. The women are also inherited according to the wishes of the deceased.
332. The favourite son inheriting the greater part of the property would inherit the hut. The farms go with the women. Debts are inherited. The favourite son (WENDIONGWA) who inherits the greater part of his father’s property is responsible for his debts.
383. The Clan Chief in most cases appoints the leaders of the various societies and they are used to further his ends as well to provide entertainment for the people.
NTU OR TRU.
384. TRU is the most powerful JUJU amongst the BANGWAS. The TRU JUJU is called on the death of an Hamlet Head and must appear before the period of lamentation. The performers are unknown to the people and are dressed in sackcloth with masks made of a string knot-work. On the head is a bunch of leaves and the TRU staff is carried in the hand. The costumes are most impressive and are fantastic. The Clan Chief sits in state with a bowl of the TRU medicine. The performers appear in single file and suddenly begin to leap into the air to the accompaniment of yells and the noise of metal beating metal, the Chief is then saluted and handed the TRU emblem, a bunch of leaves, he then sprinkles the performers with the TRU medicine and the dance begins. The members of TRU are the Hamlet Heads and the descendants of the original members, new members are not elected.
385. Members of the TRU JUJU might be sent to a village to ratify the sale of a palm claim, or orders to clean the roads might be issued in the name of TRU.
386. NKWE is the ceremony held after a successful war where many of the enemy have been killed. The chief feature of the dresses is a wooden head affixed to the performers dresses and worn on the top of the head, these wooden heads represent the number of prisoners taken and from the character of the proceedings it might quite well be a play which takes place shortly before the sacrifice of the prisoners, but it was stated that this was not the case.
387. This JUJU may also be called to dance at the funerals of well-to-do people.
MIJON OR EFUKA.
388. This play is announced by four men ringing four bells which are attached to the ends of two crossed ropes and is performed on various occasions.
389. MIJON OR EFUKA is a war dance and is lead by the head of the JUJU, TANJIKUN, who wears a feather head dress. The remaining performers wear large masks with large hideous eyes and beards and the body is dressed in string tights. The performers brandish spears and knives and any one who has killed his man in war holds the skull of his victim in his hand and during the performance salutes the Clan Chief who gives him a present and praises his prowess.
390. The EFUKA JUJU is also called on the death of any man who has killed his man in war, all his companions sharing a similar distinction bring the skulls of their defeated enemies, place them round the grave of their dead friend and dance. Attached to the feet are cymbals which are rattled to the accompaniment of the drum.
391. When the ravages of leopards become serious EFUKA is sent to kill them.
392. This is a club to which the BEFONTE belong and BAKUM. There is usually a special building set aside for the members of this club and all appointments are made in it. The son of a member is on no account allowed to enter this building during the lifetime of his father.
393. There is an excellent band played by the members composed of drums, rattles, eyeballs, and gongs of various sizes.
394. The arrival of the DIFAM JUJU during funeral celebrations is the signal that the death dances are now at an end.
395. AKA the dresses are costly and most elaborate. The costumes consist of a head dress often representing some bird or fantastic beast made out of cloth and most ingeniously embroidered with beads. From this head dress extends in front and behind a long strip of cloth similarly ornamented. The cost of these dresses often exceeds twenty pounds. The dresses are the chief feature of this JUJU.
396. The wives of the Clan Chiefs have a dance known as AKOR. All the Chief’s wives dance round in a circle and the anklets are shaken in tine with the band.
397. This is perhaps the most common and popular play. The villages assemble in an open space and to the accompaniment of much drumming pretend to successfully attack and defeat an approaching enemy.
XX. THE EDUCATION OF THE NATIVE ADMINISTRATION.
398. The most important feature of this assessment tour has been the education of the Native Administration.
399. Every opportunity was taken to explain to these Clan Chiefs the policy of the Government, and this was much appreciated.
400. The reconstruction of the village areas, where necessary, on the strength of information gained from genealogical tables was fully understood by the Chiefs and it is unlikely that these hitherto frequently arising complaints will occur in the future.
401. A register has been compiled for each Village area (vide para 188) and at their own request, each Clan Chief will be given a personal copy which will be annually brought up to date.
402. The Map is based on Moisel’s map but as Moisel does not show the position of any of the hamlets the map may be said to be a new one.
403. The time spent amongst the BANGWA CLANS was ninety days.
(sgd) H. CADMAN. DISTRICT OFFICER 19th December, 1922.