A Bangwa account of early encounters
with the German colonial administration
Translation* of a Text recorded by the Fon of Fontem
Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria
Vol III, No. 2. 1965
Fon Fontem Asonganyi
(The original page numbers have been preserved for anyone wishing to reference this work)
The following text was recorded in the Fon’s house in Fontem in December, 1963. Fontem is in Western Cameroon very close to the border between the Eastern and Western Regions. It is sixteen miles due west of Dschang.
The name for a chief in much of the grassland area of Western Cameroon is ‘Fon’. The Fon of Fontem is the most prominent Chief of the Bangwa people, who speak a language called Ñgwé. The Bangwa people number about 27,000. They do not live in villages so much as extended compounds: that is, the Chief lives in his compound, surrounded by the compounds of lesser nobles. Any chief of sufficient importance (i.e. a sub-chief) moves away and sets up his own compound.
In the text, Fontem is referred to as Lebang. This is its original name, but the Germans took the name of the Fon of that period, which was Foantem, and renamed Lebang after him. Fontem is the name which now appears on maps. The present Fon’s father, who is the central character in the following account, died in 1951 at a very advanced age. The date of the beginning of this story is 1898. The estimate of the date is based partly on the facts as given in the story which ends with the 1914-1918 war, and partly on the evidence of an article found in Deutsche Kolonialzeitung, vol.l7, no. 6, February 8th, 1900, and an account found in the Bangwa Tribal Area Assessment Report by H. Cadman (1922). The Deutsche Kolonialzeitung article is entitled Gustav Conrau und Dr. Rudolf Plehn and refers to the recent death of the two Germans whose names appear in the title. The account of the death of Gustav Conrau bear a good deal of resemblance to the account of the death of the German called Manjikwara in the following story. Unfortunately, the writer of the article assumes that the reader will already be aware of the details of the man’s death: “der Hergang seines Todes ist aus den Mitteilungen der Tagespresse bekannt” (the circumstances surrounding his death are known from the reports in the daily press). But the sentence "Er war von den Bangwa...gefangen, unternahm, einen Fluchtversuch, wurde dabei durch einen Speerwurf verwundet und erschoss sich selbst, um nicht wehrlos in die Hände der Feinde zu fallen” (He was captured by the Bangwa, attempted an escape, was wounded by a spear thrust, and shot himself in order
* I am grateful to Mr. Bernard Foretia for help in translating this text.
not to fall, defenceless, into the hands of the enemy) makes it seem highly likely that this is the same suicide to which the text refers. On the other hand the article refers to Conrau’s visit to the Bangwa as if it were his first. One possible explanation for the discrepancy between this account and that of the text is that the Bangwa, so early in their encounters with Europeans, may have had some difficulty in distinguishing between them. As a result they may not have realized that the European of the second visit was a different one from the first. (But if the Cadman Report is correct then it supports the Fon’s text in describing more than one visit of the first German.)
If it is right to assume identity between Manjikwara and Gustav Conrau, at least as regards the account of the death of the German, then there is an interesting difference between the two accounts. In the following text, the death is recorded as the result of a misunderstanding. The Fon was distressed that the German had fled. He wanted him to be brought back so that they could discuss the matter again, in the article cited above, the death is attributed to general unrest and revolt in the country against Christianity and Germany, “...und die Ermordung Gustav Conraus hat vollends den Beweis erbracht, dass es sich nicht um vereinzelte Unruhen… handelt, sondern dass hier ein Aufstand im Werke ist, welcher Christentum und Deutschtum in ernstlicher Weise zu gefährden droht” (...and the murder of Gustav Conrau has completely proved that it is not a question of isolated unrest, but that here is a revolt in process to seriously endanger all that Christianity and Germany stand for).
The Bangwa Tribal Area Assessment Report by H. Cadman (1922) was apparently never published. The copy from which the following was extracted* is a typewritten document which is in the District Office, Mamfe, West Cameroon.
It is important to note that Cadman does not indicate the sources of his account:
“...At this time the Bangwa were frequent visitors to the Bayangi markets and one Tanyigu of Fontem returned one day with some bells and a red cap given him by the German Officer at Defang to present to the Chief of Fontem with instructions to go and salute him and bring him 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 police or 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.
"At the end of this time Chief Fontem was asked to supply him with eighty men to carry his loads and enable them to see for themselves from whence he came. These eighty men were absent for four months, and then returned to Fontem accompanied by the German and laden with samples of European clothing, piece goods and hardware.
* pp. 12-18 of the Cadman Report.
“This German who was known as Tanjok or Majapari again took up his headquarters 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 he given to him to take to the plantations. The hundred labourers were supplied and they were taken away. Tanjok returned at the end of one year but unaccompanied by any of the hundred labourers.
“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 him twenty of his own servants (Chindas).
“On arrival at Foto-Dungetet the Chief...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… and therefore he could not make war on him.
“Tanjok 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.
“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 Bangwa.
“A year passed and rumours of the approach of a punitive patrol readied 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.
“A year later two German Officers with a large escort arrived accompanied by Interpreter Melango…and asked Fontem if he wished for more punishment or not. Fontem was only too pleased to make peace and presented the Germans 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.
“One of these Bangwa boys returned after one year and reported that the Germans had ordered him to return with twenty labourers. Fontem sent a message to the Germans that his people refused to supply them because none or the hundred labourers supplied to Tanjok had ever returned. The Germans’ reply to his 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 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 Bayangis are noted for their treachery and deceitful practices.
“After a year the Bangwas received news that the Germans were advancing against them. In the meantime a stone wall 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. 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 wall and mistaking each other for the Bangwas opened fire and suffered many casualties.
“The Germans were then shownn a way into Fonfem by Achangkang of Fotabong...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 demanding the surrender or Fontem were informed by Nchuti that he was was dead and all the people wished for peace. Peace was made and Fontem hid in the bush for nearly twelve years.
“German station was built on the site now occupied by the market and Hauptmann Rausch was in charge of the company. Fontem at this time. Fontem at this time was hiding in the hills quite near his old compound and could plainly see the Germans in the distance. Hauptmann Rausch ultimately heard of 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 Chieftan’s robes and voluntarily surrendered to Hauptmann Rausch. Fontem was arrested and taken to Dschang where he was placed under supervision but not treated as a prisoner 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... It would appear probable that the German occupation of this tribe would have succeeded without hostilities if the Bangwas had not been continuously compelled to supply labourers who were taken far from their homes were never heard of again………”
This account, quoted from the Cadman Report, differs in several respects from the Fon’s text. The following are the main points of difference:
1. The number of people or servants accompanying the first German: eight in the Cadman’s report, but only one in the Fon’s text.
2. The name of the German – though Majapari (Cadman) and Manjikwara (Fon) are not very far apart.
3. The account of the eighty men who carried the German’s loads and then returned with him four months later, does not occur in the Fon’s text.
4. In the Fon’s text there is no mention of the German’s attempt to leave via Foto-Dungetet, and his subsequent appeals to Foantem to wage war on Foto-Dungetet.
5. The accounts of the various peace moves between the time of the death and the disappearance of Foantem do not appear in the Fon’s text.
6. The Cadman Report gives no explanation of how Hauptmann Rausch finally learned that Foantem was still alive.
7. The Cadman Report speaks of Foantem’s twelve years in hiding. Assuming that the German’s death did not take place before 1898, (which is a fair assumption, considering the date of the article in Deutsche Kolonialzeitung) then the times mentioned in the Cadman Report would take one to 1916 as the earliest possible date for Foantem’s release. Yet Cadman makes no mention of the start of the First World War. I am inclined to think that the times quoted in the Fon’s text arc closer to the truth, and though a time is not given for Foantem’s period in hiding, when the Fon was asked about this, he thought the period in hiding was about two to three years.
8. Cadman makes no mention of Azongakoh. It is possible that he was not told of him. Even today many people are reluctant to talk about him, and few of his children will admit to that fact.
The Fon’s Text:
The people who began this country started from a place called Beketche. The first person who started in Beketche was called Njinkeng. Njinkeng died and left a certain child in Beketche called Menkemkang.(1) Menkemkang died and the child that remained was called Leteratu.(2) Leteratu left Beketche and went to Menkem and died there. He left a child called Njaung. Njaung died and left a child called Ngworiku. Ngworiku died and left a child called Azongakoh. Azongakoh died and left a child called Foantem Asunganyi.(3) Foantem Asunganyi died and left me, Lefang, who have remained Foantem Lefang.(4)
All these places I have spoken of are in Lebang. We did not come from any other place but here.
The story I am telling you, I heard from my father Foantem Asunganyi. He became a very old man; older than any of the people in Lebang so that by the time he died there were no more of his age group living. He told me of these things, you understand, and this is how I know the story. And I will tell it to my child, saying, “Lebang began this way...and that...”
1 Menkemkang: a peacemaker; nkang: plant used in sending messages of peace.
2 Leteratu: name given to someone having a growth on his head.
3 Asunganyi: name often given to one of twins.
4 Three of the other ancestors were first given to me by their nicknames: Njaung-Abehatu: having a large scar on his head; Ngworiku = Ngwadbekwu: Azongakoh = Atchemabo: having an amputated or half hand. In the Cadman Report where some of these names appear under the heading Genealogical Tree of the Debang Clan showing Origin of Hamlets, they are often designated by their nicknames only.
Some of the ancestors of the nine Chiefs of Bangwa country came from elsewhere. But if you ask any of them they will tell you that their ancestors met the Fons of Lebang here.
Before the time the Europeans came Bangwa people could not reckon years as they do now. One did not know of a man how many years he lived before dying. One does not know how many years we stayed until the day the Germans came. But we do know that no Fon before Foantem Asunganyi saw the Germans. Foantem Asunganyi is the one who saw the Germans.
Now I will tell you how the Germans came to Lebang. The Bangwa people had heard news of strange people passing from Tali to Bali. The people from Lebang went to see and they came and told the late Fon saying they had seen a new-born child passing from Tali to Bali. The late Fon said “Is this so?” They said, “Yes”.
Again, the next week they went down to the market in Tali and they saw the German. He gave them a present for the late Fon. He told them he had been hearing a great deal of ‘Foantem Foantem’ and that he would come to see him.
Some days later the German came here. As he came the people saw him and shouted loudly, “A new-born child, the child is just born. and he is at once grown!” The whole people came out and saw and wondered. The name of the German was Manjikwara. It was Manjikwara who came and stayed here. He stayed and stayed and stayed; and he and the late Fon became friends.
The German had with him a child of the Fon of Bali who was called Nde’nji and he was his interpreter. He listened to the Bangwa people and interpreted them to Manjikwara.
Manjikwara stayed for some time and then he asked for seventy labourers. The people gave him seventy labourers and they went to Victoria to work. The German said, “It will be a year before they come back. you understand?”
Manjikwara took the labourers to Victoria, and later returned by himself to ask for more labourers. But the people who had waited and waited for their children who did not return went to the Fon and said, “Where are our children?'” The late Fon said, “They will come.” The people said, “You are telling a lie. You have sold them.” The late Fon said, “I did not sell them.” And so the fathers left.(1)
The people waited again. Then all the people of Lebang came to the late Fon and the fathers said to him, “You sold our children, and if you did not, where are they?” The late Fon said, “Idid not sell them, They are with Manjikwara’s friend.” The people said, “It is a lie.” So the late Fon stood up and went to the European and asked him, saying, “The people you took away, where are they now?” He said, “Foantem, they will come, you understand?” The late Fon said, “Yes.” and came and told his people. They said “You are telling a lie, you have sold them.” Foantem said, “I did not sell them.” They said, “You sold them….” and there was a great deal of noise.
1 Eventually, many years later, three of the original seventy returned. It is probable that the others, coming from the edge of the Grasslands, encountered malaria for the first time when taken to the plantations. On the other hand it is possible, at this stage of the story, that the people had not estimated a year’s time correctly and so were agitated too soon.
The European heard the palaver and that night he gathered his things together and ran into the bush, and ran and ran until he reached Akondem. At daybreak he hid himself in the bush.
In the morning the people in Lebang looked for him and could not find him. Then they went to the market and beat the gongs,(1) signalling “He has gone, he has gone.”
The late Fon told the people to go after Manjikwara and catch him and bring him back. They ran and ran and reached the bank of a stream, where they looked for him, but did not see him. Then they returned to the Fon,, saying “He went to the river, but we do not know where he is now.”
Then they went to look where the Catholic Mission is now, and found a trail, and they followed the trail until they came to a large bombax tree. There they saw Manjikwara sitting at the foot of the tree, leaning against the roots. The German saw one of them and shot him, and he went on shooting and killed several of the people. The people shouted at the German and called his Bali interpreter by name and they shouted, “Do you see this misfortune?” Then the German had only one bullet left and he took his gun and put it against his own head and pushed. Then he leant against the tree and died.
The Bali interpreter shouted. “Father Foantem, white man has shot himself, he has shot himself…” The people said, “What thing is he saying?” They came and looked at his body leaning against the tree. Then they carried his corpse back to the Fon and they cut off his head and buried the body.(2)
But some tale-bearers went down to Victoria and told the Europeans that the Fon had killed Manjikwara.
Then the Germans prepared war and they began the journey to Lebang. They sent a message to Foantem, saying, “You have killed one of our people, you must wait for us, for it is a bad thing you have done.” Then Foantem said, “Can a person come to my country and say this to me! Manjikwara killed himself.”
The Germans arrived and there was war and they came into this compound and burnt down houses, Then they went away. The people built the houses again as they had been before.
A year went by, and the Germans came and shot at Foantem and burnt this compound and went away and the people rebuilt the compound. And the people wondered and said. “What has caused the new-born child to be so strong like this?”
A year went by and the same thing happened . Altogether this happened for nine years. Sometimes the people tried to fight back. Once Foantem fled into the bush and across the river and there the people built two big walls of stones
1 Slit gongs, which are still to be seen in the market places, under shelters, and standing about four feet high. They are beaten in time of emergency or celebration as occurs later in the story with the return of the Fon from Garoua.
2 When the Germans made peace with Azongakoh the skull and body of Manjikwara were returned to them. They were buried under a large tree in the market place and an engraved stone placed above them. Later, a German soldier who died of an illness while in Fontem was buried beside Manjikwara. Today the gravestone of the second German can still be seen and its inscription read, but the gravestone of Manjikwara has unfortunately been lost.
and hid between them. But the Germans brought a machine gun to the other side of the river and began to shoot, and the stones fell down and were scattered over the ground and many people were killed. A relative of Foantem called Angayong had his arm cut off above the elbow.
Another year the people of Lebang divided into groups of four and went into the bush until they came to a place called Alee where there is a hill called Nkagung. There they cut tall palm trees until they were unsteady, and tied rope to them. And they look big stones and tied rope to them until they came to the top of the hill.
Then the Germans began to climb the hill and the Bangwa people began to shoot at them. When they shot, the Germans threw themselves down, but then they got up again and began to climb again. Others cut rope from the stones and rolled them down the hill, but still the Germans climbed. Then they cut the ropes from the palm trees and they fell across the road, but the Germans moved round them, and reached Lebang and burnt the compound.
Another year the people laid traps in the compound. First they dug pits inside the houses and put spears inside them and covered the spears. Then they took goats and tied them inside the houses. They tied them to the wall opposite the door in each house, and so behind the pit. Next they went to plantain trees where there were ripe plantains, and dug pits at the foot of the trees and put spears inside them and covered the spears. They said. “The Germans will come to cut the plantains and they will fall in the pits.” When the Germans came they bent down and entered the houses and fell into the pits with a loud noise and the spears pierced them. But still the Germans burnt the compound and went away. And the people said, “What will we do now?”.
Another year the people took a plant called ‘abuerh’ and they climbed to the source of the water. They pounded the ‘abuerh’ and put it in the water, for it is a purgative, and they said, “The Germans will come and drink this water and it will purge them and they will become weak and leave.” But the Germans came and drank the water and it did not affect them.
All this went on for nine years, as I have said. Then the late Fon made a plan. The next time the Germans came, they burnt the compound and shot some people. Then the Fon took one of the corpses and cut off the head and sent his people to the Germans, with the head. The people said to the Germans. “Look. you have killed Foantem.” And they placed the head on the ground before the Germans. Then they said. “We are tired of war and the king-makers have named this child of the Fon. Azongakoh. to eat death” (i.e. to succeed). Then the son. Azongakoh, entered (lie deserted compound and became Chief.
And Foantem went away to Ntung and lived at first in a cave. But it was not a good place, so he went to Andu and stayed there. The Bangwa people all knew where he was, but he did not come near Lebang and he left Azongakoh to be Chief. And there was peace between the Bangwa and the Germans.
But Azongakoh was not a good chief and he look the woman of a Foreke Chacha man whose name was Abachi. Then Abachi went to Azongakoh and said “Did you take my wife?” And Azongakoh said “Yes.” Ahachi said, “You have no right to take my wife. Your are not the true Fon.” Azongakoh said,
“I have taken her.” Ahachi snapped his finger and said, “Your father is hiding in the bush. Does he know what you have done?” Azongakoh did not reply.
Then Abachi went away and travelled to Douala and there he told a European in Douala that Foantem was hiding in the bush. The European said, “You are telling a lie.”' But Abachi said, “Foantem is still living and he is hiding in the bush,” Then the European said, “Can you go with me and show me Foantem himself?” Abachi agreed.
Abachi and the European travelled through Nkongsamba, Ngongo, Atobang and arrived at the junction where seven roads meet, the boundary between Mbo and Bangwa country. There Atungkwu, a son or Foantem lived. Atungkwu was returning with some others from hunting when he saw the European and he tried to run. But the European caught him and Foandu who was with him and put iron round their necks. Then they caught Tandungang and put iron round his neck.
Now I, Lefang, who am telling this story; I was with my namesake another Lefang and we were across the river at Ndzentse. We were staying in a small hut where they palm-oil. I saw one man Tongkwu come running and he said, “The Germans have gone to Andu.” Then we ran to Andu before the Germans arrived, and we told Foantem saying “The Germans are coming.” Foantem said, “Is it true?” Then we said, “Yes.”
Then Foantem stood up and called for his property and it was gathered together and we ran and hid in the bush and ran to the house of Takwu. There, Foantem sent for Azongakoh, his son, who was acting Chief. When Azongakoh came, they talked and Foantem said, “The Europeans want me and until they find me they will spoil Lebang and will scatter the people and divide Lebang and give it to other chiefs. This is too much struggling and fighting. I will go to the Europeans myself and I will show myself to them, and they will kill me and be satisfied.”
Then Foantem stood up and sent for water to wash. He washed himself and took camwood and rubbed it all over his body. Then he took his special cap which they call ‘nke’ and put it on his head. He took a small new cloth and tied it round his waist and he took a big piece of cloth and tied it round himself. He asked for his ivory bangles and put them on his arm and took a horse-tail and held it by the handle. Then he began the journey to meet the Europeans.
The next day he arrived at Andu where he he had hidden earlier, but the Europeans had left. He saw that they had pulled down the house he had lived in. He asked “Why?” The people said, “The Europeans want to find you, and they looked for you in the ceiling and under the roof.”(1) Then Foantem came to where the Europeans were and stood before them and folded his arms and stood.
The Bali interpreter, who had been before with Manjikwara said, “Foantem done come!” Then the European looked up and saw the man and said, “Is this Foantem?” The Bali interpreter said, “This is Foantem.” The European said to Foantem, “Are you Foantem?” and he said “Yes.” The European said to Foantem, “Are you Azongakoh’s father?” and he said “Yes.”
1 Traditional Bangwa houses have tall, pointed thatched roofs. Under the roof, either resting on the outer walls, or slung from the roof, will be found a ceiling made of plaited rushes or bamboo poles lashed together. The designs of either type are usually quite elaborate.
Then the European said, “Why did you run away?” Foantem said “Who docs not fear death? If a man does not fear death, what then should he fear?” The European asked him again, saying, “Why did you run away?” and Foantem gave the same answer.
The European ordered his soldiers to load their guns and to bring neck irons. They put a neck iron on Foantem as they had done with Tandungang and Foandu. Then Foantem said, “What is he doing? He is wasting his time. I have come and I will not run away.”
When they come near Lebang, the European asked him the same question, “Foantem, why did you run away?” and Foantem replied again, saying, “If a man does not fear death what should he run away from, but I have come now. Is that not true?” and the European agreed.
Then the European said, “You must send a message to your people that in two days’ time you will speak to them.”
So in two days’ time Foantem stood before them with iron round his neck and said to his people, “I am leaving with the European. You must not weep for me. You are to remain here. If any man kill a goat my spirit will return to haunt him. There is to be peace.” Then the people wept and said, “Where will they bury you?” and Foantem told them to be silent.
Then the European asked for two women and a servant to go with Foantem. The German said, “Foantem may try to kill himself. I want three people who can be witnesses and will come back to tell the true story.” So the Bangwa people sent the woman Nkengbezaa and the woman Azanu and as servant, Foalem. All three went with Foantem.
When the German and Foantem arrived in Dschang, seventy chiefs of the Grasslands went to Hauptmann, the head German in Dschang, saying, “We will give you seventy elephant tusks if you will return Foantem to Lebang.” But Hauptmann did not agree. The chiefs were not chiefs under Foantem, but merely friends of his, who were chiefs in the Grasslands. They said again to the European in Dschang, Hauptmann, “If each of us gives you one elephant tusk, that will be seventy tusks and then you will return Foantem to Lebang.” But Hauptmann explained that he would not do this. He said he had spent a long time and many stones of guns (i.e. bullets) capturing Foantem and that he must now show him to the other Europeans who had all heard of Foantem. and he must report this matter to his superior officers.
Then Foantem was taken to Garoua and kept in prison there.
After two years Foantem went and begged and held the foot of the European in Garoua saying he wanted to return to his country. The European agreed but said he must consult with others including Hauptmann in Dschang. Hauptmann and the others agreed and Hauptmann sent for Azongakoh and told him that his father would he returning.
Azongakoh went back to Lebang and sounded the gongs, summoning all the people. As the country came out he told them that they should dance and as they danced he began to tell them how Foantem would be returning. Then they cheered and cheered and then they set out for Dschang to meet Foantem.
At Dschang, Foantem arrived and the people gave him a great welcome and they danced and danced. And they danced a special dance of worship and then they slept at Dschang. The next day they journeyed back to Lebang. But Foantem returned more slowly. The European asked him, “Who will now be chief? Your son or you?” Foantem replied, “I will be an ordinary man in my country and my son will remain chief.” And the European agreed.
Foantem went to stay in the compound of Ngwetabo, and later moved to the compound of Tazite’awung and built a compound for himself there. Some people went to Azongakoh and said, “Why is your father staying so far away?” But Foantem stayed there until the war between the English and Germans began.
When the war between the English and Germans began, people came to Foantem and told him, “The German is again hanging chiefs, he has hanged Foto and he has hanged Foandong of Afu and he has hanged Foangang of Atuo and he is approaching this place.”
Then Foantem hid in the bush and he escaped for the Europeans came to his compound and said, “Where is Foantem?” Then Foantem went to Azongakoh and they hid in the bush. Foantem said to his son, “Let us both go to the European and agree with him that there shall be no more war between us.” But Azongakoh said, “You may go, as you do not seem to fear death. I am afraid.” So Foantem and Azongakoh agreed to send a deputation to the English. They were Foso’ and Tandungang and others, and they made an agreement with the English, who were now in Lebang, and they sent word to Foantem and Azongakoh that they should come. But Azongakoh refused to go. Foantem went alone. The Europeans said, “What did you run away from?” and Foantem said, “I heard you were killing many chiefs.” The Europeans said, “Where is your son?” Foantem said, “We all ran away, and no one knows where the other went when you run from death. He went his own way and I do not know where he is now.”
Then the European said, “You will be Fon again”, and so Foantem Asunganyi became Fon again.
But Azongakoh came back later and he and his father quarrelled, and Azongakoh was sent away from Lebang. He went first to the Grasslands and then afterwards to Mamfe, where he begged by the side of the road, and no Bangwa man would speak to him. He died in Mamfe many years later.
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