Adaptation of the German Colonial Administration to Traditional Bamoun Governance


Scientific Essay, 2022

54 Pages


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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

PARAGRAPH I : KING NJOYA’S OBJECTIONS TO CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

PARAGRAPH II : AMBIVALENT RELATIONS BETWEEN KING NJOYA AND MISSIONARY GÖRING

CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ADAPTATION OF THE GERMAN COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION TO TRADITIONAL BAMOUN GOVERNANCE

ABSTRACT

This article is devoted to the presentation of the adaptation of the German colonial administration to the traditional Bamoun governance. For this, he evokes the rebel acts of the sovereign NJOYA vis-à-vis the German colonial administration.

This allows us to appreciate the objections of King NJOYA to Christian religious practices and the ambivalent relations between King NJOYA and the missionary GÖRING. Subsequently, the perception of the German colonial administration by King NJOYA is thus established and challenges us on mutual admiration despite the ups and downs of the history of Cameroon. We will talk about the rebel acts of the sovereign NJOYA.

INTRODUCTION

In 1902, the Bamoun wanted to take up arms against the first German visitors ; NJOYA, aware of his weakness towards the Europeans, forced them to welcome them peacefully and avoided a bloodbath. The sovereign conceived a policy in which he gave himself the indispensable role of intermediary between the colonial authorities and his people : “If the skirmishers come to the market and they take something, or they strike, don’t you (Bamoun) get angry-let me the white men affairs1,” he said. “ He was then able to take advantage of this first warm contact : this is how he recovered, during the Germano-Bansoh conflict of 1906, the skull of his father, King NSANGOU.

The monarch’s decision had other more fundamental effects : the Germans, the first masters of Cameroon, instituted an indirect system of administration that went in the direction of what the Bamoun could hope.

The King lost some of his prerogatives to the colonial authorities, but he retained sufficient powers to continue to govern the kingdom. The right of life and death no longer belonged to him and he became an intermediary between his people and the colonizer. It was obviously necessary to work closely with the new masters in the economic field, but the cooperation was fruitful. The political strategy of King NJOYA has provoked many controversies : some French think that this African leader was a « tyrant » and an instrument of German politics.

Conversely, the Germans took him for a remarkable leader, intelligent and enterprising, who knew how to make decisions useful for his country. No European seems to have thought that he first wanted to preserve his population.

And yet, when it became apparent during the First World War that his German “friends” were losing it, he favoured the English troops by having them show them a way to his capital. The British occupation of the Bamoun territory was too brief for NJOYA to adopt a precise attitude towards their administration. However, to the extent that the English also practiced the policy of « indirect rule »2 like the Germans, their cooperation with the sovereign Bamoun could have been just as fruitful. On the other hand, the direct administration applied by the French would have catastrophic consequences on their relations with traditional power.

King NJOYA’s objections to Christian religious practices (Paragraph I) will highlight the ambivalent relationship between King NJOYA and the missionary GÖRING (Paragraph II).

PARAGRAPH I : KING NJOYA’S OBJECTIONS TO CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

Through its excellent relations with the Mission, NJOYA effectively helped to spread European culture in the country. The missionary emphasis was mainly on school, but men of school age received lessons to become masons, carpenters, and carpenters. The girls were trained as nursing assistants at the dispensary and as instructors in the teaching of girls. At the beginning of 1914, there were no fewer than five missionaries in Foumban. The church had 272 members. 600 students attended the missionary schools, 265 of them in the annexes outside the town of Foumban3, where the work was spreading4.

Under the influence of GÖRING, NJOYA even imposed a revolutionary reform on his country : the week of eight days was reduced to seven, to prevent, from time to time, the market days from falling on a Sunday. On the civil level, they also collaborated in the sense that the acts of marriage of Christian couples were countersigned by NJOYA5.

In spite of a slackening of morals among Christians, resulting above all from the debauchery of the Germans, which obliged the missionaries to excommunicate a number of them, the Christian community was deeply constituted in Foumban6.

NJOYA brings to the political power its note of sacrality by effectively tinkering with religious modernity. He is in search of the great narrative, the hope of a new religion that confuses the call of the muezzin, the bell of the Church and the rolling of the animist drums. This syncretism marks its inaugural entry into globalization ; the rejection of the other is proscribed in his political thought, the “endogeneisation” of external contributions is potentialized.

He clarifies his thinking in a narrative that hides modern political expressions : “God is able to listen to the grasp of all human races in their respective languages without the need to speak the language of the past ; for it is he who created all men, who endowed them with the power to invite their language (….). Those who claim that God could not listen to him who prayed in his national language because it is a slave language and because he did not pray in the language of free people are liars. God is the Master of all that men see with their eyes : this is very true ». In the face of the talent of King NJOYA, historian Joseph KI-ZERBO exclaimed in these words : « Truly, in this high Bamoun country where the air has a subtlety and a softness that invite to intellectual procreation, NJOYA has deployed to the genius the palette of the African spirit »7.

This is why King NJOYA did not want to change certain social habits such as polygamy within his kingdom (A-). He also wanted to baptize his subjects himself (B-) and add palm wine to holy water (C-).

A. KING NJOYA WANTED TO KEEP HIS MANY WIVES

Polygamy is the rule in all the western chiefdoms. Since the time of Sultan NCHARE YEN, founder of the Bamoun dynasty in 1394, each time a king is enthroned, it is to the family NJI MONCHOU that the honor to open the ball of the suitors.

When MBOMBO NJOYA arrived, the only single woman in the clan was… 03 years old. It does not matter, he received her as a wife, since we do not refuse to marry a “NJI MONCHOU” ; he left her in his family and provided for his needs. When she reached the age of majority, MBOMBO NJOYA married her young bride to one of her own in court, the main thing being that she remained there. Other young women were then proposed to him, and their applications were submitted to a special committee.

Only the king’s positive answers are made public. “Humiliating the losers is of no interest,” explains a king’s advisor. Several times minister, ambassador and monogamous during the thirty years that preceded his accession to the throne in 1992 ; the current Sultan of Bamoun, Ibrahim MBOMBO NJOYA, now has eight other women, aged between 35 and 55. And if he provides for the needs of the other wives of his predecessor of a father – who had twenty-four, none of them was given to him as an inheritance. NJI NCHARE Oumarou, the Director of Cultural Affairs of the Palace of the Bamoun Kings, will also say : The days of recovering his father’s wives are over. The Sultan’s unions are often the logical continuation of love stories ».

Today, in Foumban, the queens are active and hold leading positions in the Bamoun company : they are now company directors, nurses, business leaders, traders, etc. However, they must have a discreet influence and disappear behind the King8.

Polygamy is therefore above all the guarantee of a privileged status within the Bamoun company (1-). Thus, the missionaries made an adaptation to the practice of polygamy that will bring out the concept of hybridity (2-).

1. Polygamy or the foundation of a privileged status in the Bamoun Society

Polygamy comes from the Greek word "polugamia" consisting of the words "polù" which means "many" and "gamos" which means "marriage". For this reason, the term designates a matrimonial regime in which an individual is related, at the same time, to several spouses9. We talk about polyandry when a woman marries several men and polygyny when, conversely, a man marries several women.

Polygamy is more specifically associated with man. The authorization of polygamy in a State does not mean that it is practised mainly. In predominantly polygynic societies, 60-80% of households are “de facto” (not “de jure”) monogamous10. In the social sciences and humanities, the term polygamy is often used by abuse of language to refer to polygyny.

Polygamy is to be distinguished from group marriages, a form of polyamory involving several partners of each sex, and bigamy, a situation in which a person contracts several marriages separately, without having legally obtained the dissolution of the precedent or without both spouses being aware of this situation11.

Many countries tolerate polygyny without openly encouraging it. This is the case not only of almost all countries with a large Muslim population, with the exception of Turkey (banned in 1926)12 and Tunisia (banned in 1957), but also of some African countries, mainly Christian and/or animist.

The Muslim countries of Central Asia were subject to the prohibition of polygamy because of the Soviet era. Today the countries of Central Asia have banned polygamy, even though it is still tolerated and practised there.

Countries like Senegal allow polygamous civil marriage but the man must choose before getting married if he wants to do a monogamous or polygamous marriage and cannot reverse his decision once he has chosen13.

When he addresses the question of polygamy in the traditional Fang society, Georges BALANDIER14 shows that it is the main sign and condition of any increase in wealth. This wealth partly determines the level of social status and makes it possible to acquire a kind of personal power in a very hierarchical society.

What may be the reasons for polygamy on African soil ?

- The reasons for polygamy in Africa To explain polygamy in Africa, several theories are put forward. They are economic, reproductive, political. According to Norbert OKOUMA, the African oral tradition places it in very ancient times. According to him, it can be explained through the wars between tribes which had as consequences on the one hand the extermination of men in particular.

The survivors then took several wives or the victors took the women from their opponents and added them to the ones they already had.

Economically, attempts to explain polygamy are based on a rural perception of African societies, in the context of a particular mode of production which very often comes under a low mechanized subsistence economy in which the role of women as producers of food products is important.

This idea is defended among others by Ester BOSERUP15 who considers that seen from this angle, for the man, polygamy is inexpensive and especially profitable because the woman is a worker having an important role in agriculture.

At the political level, attention is focused on the internal coherence of the matrimonial system and a social organization where power is in the hands of the elderly. This is what Claude MEILLASSOUX16 shows. Indeed, polygamy is seen as the way to preserve the power of elders over cadets in societies where women’s access is controlled by elders.

According to DIOP ABDOULAYE BARA17, it also makes it possible to ally with several groups and thus confers on the man a socio-political advantage. It can also be a way to reconcile group preferences in matrimonial matters and individual and sentimental preferences. One finds this aspect in particular in the study carried out by Sylvie FAINZANG and Odile JOURNET18. Indeed, in their work on polygamic marriage in Africa and France, the authors show that most men take several women as wives under family and community pressure.

For some privileged categories, polygamy is also a way of exposing to the eyes of all its success and social prestige. This is what Raymond MAYER points out when he studies the history of the Gabonese family : « Polygamy is linked to the circulation of prestige goods associated with the movement of women »19.

As with the « Fang » of Gabon and the « Tege Alima » of Togo, polygamy is one of the essential elements of society and traditional religion among the Bamoun. It is a sign of power, authority and wealth.

- The acceptance of the practice of polygamy by the Qur'an and the consolidation of Islam to the detriment of Christianity

When Germany sought to conquer the territories in Africa, it occupied the territory of Cameroon in 1884, and made it a colony in 1902. During the colonial period, the Adamaoua region and the Lake Chad region were governed by a strong military presence and simple laws.

Local Muslim leaders, called « Lamido » in the Adamaoua region, and « sultans » in northern Cameroon, remained in place although their influence was more limited than in the 19th century. Their legitimacy no longer rested on other African Muslim authorities.

Local political institutions in the territory remained in place, as did Islamic laws and indigenous customs. Unlike the British government in northern Nigeria, the German colony did not impose taxes or agricultural reforms until 1913.

Cameroon became a French colony at the end of the First World War, and agrarian reforms could take place20. Officially, the penetration of Islam in Bamoun country dates back to 1906, the date of the conversion of King NJOYA who then adopted the title of Sultan. The majority of the population follows its king but popular Islam Bamoun remains deeply imbued with the old animist background. The Hausa first contributed to the Islamization of the South because of their mobility and commercial activity21.

From there, the Qur'an, the sacred book of Islam, limits polygamy, authorized first to protect the widow and the orphan.

- The Context of Polygamy in the Q’uran The Qur'an takes note of this in Sura 4, Verse 3 : If you feel it is better for orphans, you can marry their mothers – you can marry two, three or four. If you fear that you will become unjust, then you will settle for one or what you already have. In addition, you are better able to avoid financial difficulties.”

This verse became “primordial” after the Battle of Ubud, which resulted in heavy losses among Muslims. The survivors would then have married the widows and taken charge of the orphans, polygamy being then a kind of social assistance. According to the Hadiths22, the Prophet himself had a dozen women. According to Tradition, only Aicha, when she was five years old, was a virgin at the time of the marriage, the marriage being consummated four years later. The others were widows or divorcees, and for the most part these marriages were a way for him to enter into alliances.

In fact, in the Qur'an, polygamy is a statement of fact appearing in many verses dealing with the marital situation of the Arabs since it has always been practiced according to the customary consensus, as indeed for all ancestral patriarchal systems.

By affirming that the Qur'an allows polygamy, or for some makes it compulsory, while limiting it to four co-powers, Islam has in fact enshrined it in Muslim law23.

However, it is particularly important to point out that Muslim law subjects polygamy to conditions that are extremely strict and rigorous that any man wishing to be polygamous must respect.

- Islamic restrictions on polygamy First, the fairness prescribed by Verse 3 of Surah 4 of the Qur'an. This verse indicates that equity is a condition for permitting polygamy. If there is a concern about not being fair to wives in cases of polygamy, you have to settle for one wife. The fairness required is to ensure that all wives are treated equally regarding expenses, clothing, cohabitation and other material matters that can be controlled. When it comes to fairness in love, we do not have to apply it. We do not ask him because he is not capable. Verse 129 of Sura 4 testifies to this : “You can never be fair between your women, even if you are concerned about them…”.

Secondly, the ability to ensure the vital support of wives. Verse 33 of Sura 4 states, “And let those who have nothing to marry seek to remain chaste until Allah enriches them with His grace…”. In this verse, Allah gave the order to those who are not able to marry to remain chaste.

The inability to marry may be due to the inability to provide a dowry or the impossibility of securing a wife24.

Probably starting from the principle that men are, by nature, unfaithful, the Islamologist MARSHALL HODGSON defended the idea that Islam protects, through polygamy, all married women or mothers in the same way, and grants the same rights to children, while Western Christian society tends to protect only the only legitimate woman and her children, others are often excluded from social rights and succession25. In this context, we can say that the Muslim religion joins the Bamoun tradition, to take care of all orphans, widows and other vulnerable people, whether they are from our family or not. In other words, we cannot talk about a “nuclear family” without being selfish and ungrateful, because we are all the fruit of his family, but also of his community. And polygamy makes it possible to include this solidarity in a practical and lasting way within families.

However, with the establishment of Christianity, monogamy will be required of followers of the Catholic religion. In other words, he can receive the sacraments or become a Christian only if he is married or married to a single woman. Moreover, the Christian can have only one wife26.

- The establishment of Christianity or the fight against polygamy in Bamoun countries In vain NJOYA had discussed with the missionary, explaining to him that, in his country, customs were different. Historically, men who could do that would get multiple wives. No one would understand that a leader, a notable or a rich man had only one wife. Mr. GÖRING had patiently listened to the king’s objections, but he had been uncompromising on the question of Christian marriage.

In the face of the missionary’s demands, an idea had come to the Mfon. To satisfy Mr. GÖRING, he had installed some large Nji in the stalls of maids of the horse. Among them were WAMBEN and MAHMA. Each lived there with only one wife, the others having remained in their villages.

One morning high figures climbed the raidillon that led to the houses of the missionaries. It was the great Nji who were going to be registered as catechumens. Each one took with him a bride whose name was to appear next to his own, to satisfy the missionary’s requirements. No doubt Mr. GÖRING was surprised to hear the Nji explain to him the reasons for their action, but he also greatly rejoiced27. Before separating from them, M. GÖRING explained again to the Nji that they had to follow his teaching regularly if they wanted one day to receive baptism... The Nji were not eager to follow the lessons of their white friend. Soon they grew tired of it. Mr. GÖRING’s demands were out of line. He persisted in wanting to impose on them only one woman to whom they owed absolute fidelity. How could a Nji conceive of such a social decline ? And also such a ruin ? It was to lower oneself to the rank of the last inhabitant or a slave.

Who would replace the women in the many indispensable work of the house and the fields ? How, too, would they have many children ? Clearly, Mr. GÖRING did not seem to understand the enormity of his demands. NJOYA discussed this matter seriously with his advisers. Despite all that it brought good, the religion of the White God did not seem to fit for men. It was easier to follow the teachings of the Qur'an and accept the mores of the Foulbés. There, nothing forced them to abandon their wives or their old habits of privileged lords. For women, it was different28.

Indeed, with the establishment of Christianity, it was found that women were more faithful to their husbands, obeying their orders and no longer complaining or almost complaining. They observed the vow of submission as recommended by the Holy Bible. This was a very positive point observed by all Bamoun men married to Christian women. Even Sultan NJOYA made the happy observation.

But they did not give up polygamy, and as a result, the missionaries were forced to adapt to polygamy.

2. Adaptation of Missionaries to Polygamy

The missionaries recognized that the abolition of polygamy could have negative social consequences. More importantly, the missionary GÖRING saw no difference between polygamy and marriage in the sense of monogamy, which is revolutionary, coming from a missionary : “As such, polygamy is against the law… of God and must be abolished.29 But it must also be said, on the other hand, that the indissolubility of marriage is equally clearly taught by the word of God. Like monogamy, a polygamic marriage must not, in any case, be so easily dissolved. I think we really can’t ask a man to so simply repudiate women who have offered them their innocence, who have never been unfaithful, and who lead a good Christian married life.

Men who have never been unfaithful and who treat their Christian women as wives and let them express themselves, must without any other form of trial, be accepted if they ask to be baptized. (I would like this item to be thoroughly debated and debated.)30

We do not understand why the missionary GÖRING condemns polygamy, which he says is absolutely against the law of God and yet wants to maintain polygamic marriage as a union approved by God.

- Göring’s ambiguity in the face of polygamy

The missionary GÖRING who at the beginning of this talk considered polygamy as an immorality and especially the place of woman in these conditions as a sign of the guilt of man, now places polygamy and monogamy at the same level. GÖRING thus considers polygamy, if not as willed by God, at least as a form of marriage accepted by God. Upon closer examination, it appears that with this quotation, the missionary GÖRING was thinking of a particular category of polygamists.

GÖRING in fact thinks of men who consider « their Christian women as wives and let them express themselves ». It becomes clear that the missionary GÖRING thinks of polygamists who do not prevent their wives from going to church. Such men must even be allowed to receive baptism, according to him. Polygamy thus ceases to be a sin.

The missionary GÖRING, confronted in the missionary field with a concrete problem, seeks, without however expressing it clearly, a solution that is in reality opposed to the official position of the leadership of the Basel Mission. Several missionaries have, in fact, indirectly criticized the position of the leadership of the mission in their reports on this question31. This is a typical case of hybridity according to Patricia PURTSCHERT32. Ms PURTSCHERT used the concept of hybridity of Homi K. BHABHA as a basis for describing the contradictory attitude of the missionaries of the Basel Mission on the ground.

- Homi K. Bhabha’s concept of hybridity

“One of the hallmarks of colonial discourse is its dependence on the concept of “fixity” in the ideological construction of otherness.” These words of one of the most influential theoreticians of the intellectual current who is referred to by the term « postcolonial studies »33 wants to move away from the colonial model of the representation of the Other by deconstructing the thought structures and logics inherited from colonial domination ; to put an end to this domination in all its forms by giving full place to those whom the colonial discourse has excluded.

Hybridity, for BHABHA, consists of a “third space” where new forms of identity are created, transcultural, and where ambivalence reigns rather than a simple and constant opposition34.

In his major book, “The location of culture”35, Homi B. BHABHA revisits these various concepts, while inviting us to rethink the issues of identity, diversity, national belonging, as well as the relationship to the other in order to overcome them, thanks to the concept of cultural hybridity. He is a thinker of movement and “third-space”.

It seeks to construct a third-space thought, as a thought of emancipation, which turns its back on the analysis of colonial situations in terms of exploitation and domination and to reified and sterile oppositions between centre and periphery, identity and otherness36 37.

The phenomenon of hybridity has become fundamental in contemporary society. In the context of identity, the term “hybridity” has too often been equated with a certain utopian multiculturalism proclaiming the ideal coexistence of different cultures.

The Spanish-German theorist Alfonso DE TORO clearly means that hybridization and multiculturalism are not synonymous38. For DE TORO : Hybridity must be understood as the potentiality of the assembled difference with mutual recognition in a common territory or enunciatory cartography that must always be re-inhabited and cohabited again. That is, in a transcultural space of communication, people negotiate, re-codify and re-build each other, strangeness and their own, the known and the unknown, the heterogeneous and the uniform39.”

Hybridity is therefore an ongoing process, a phenomenon that addresses different concepts such as that of “multiculturalism”, of course, but also other ideas related to “interculturality”, “nomadism”, “otherness”, “transversality”, “interaction”, “dialogue”, “heterogeneity”40. One of the most striking examples in Africa is the phenomenon of the “Christian cross” called the “nkagi”.

Christianity was at the origin of the fact of the chief, one of the most concrete proofs is that of the survival of a usage long maintained in Bas-Congo : that of making appear the « nkagi »41 among the insignia of the chiefdom and especially as a symbol of the judiciary.

The “nkagi”, in the hands of the chief, prevented the country from “perishing” ; it was the object of a palm wine sacrifice every year during the ceremony dedicated to the dead42 ; it was used at the time of taking the oath.

There is an important phenomenon of assimilation against which the modern missions, at the end of the 19th century, wanted to react by destroying the « nkagi » considered as true « fetishes »43.

From the few observations left by the first of the contemporary missions, we know that «it is the fetishists and magicians who have taken over the cult objects » introduced by the former missionaries. In 1911, such a statuette of Saint Anthony is the property of a « doctor » of pregnant women ; she « laid it on their breast in order to have either a boy or a girl ; then offered a hen to obtain the requested favor »44.

The statues of saints – Anthony OF PADUA, the Portuguese saint par excellence, Francis, Bonaventure and James the Apostle45 – had to be widely distributed because of the worship they received in the kingdom of Kongo46.

In 1911, Fr. Van Wing simply reported the appearance in the Stanley Pool region of a "fetish" named "Dombasi"47 for the purpose of combating "the curses"48.

The photograph below shows this hybridity. Missionaries KELLER and G. SPELLENBERG wear the traditional costume of the Bali people. Two scenarios may arise.

Figure 1 : Missionaries KELLER and G. SPELLENBERG wearing the traditional Bali costume49.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source : Photograph taken in 1902 of Walker GOTTLOB available at www.archivfuehrer-kolonialzeit.de and accessed 06 April 2021. This photograph is also in the Archives of the Basel Mission in Germany.

On the one hand, they try to get closer to this « foreign » culture and to be accepted by this community. They want to be considered not as foreigners but rather as well integrated members. This explains the criticism of a colonization apologue such as Siegfried PASSARGE against the Christian missions in Africa. He finds that they do not sufficiently mark the difference between whites and blacks.

Commenting on an image in which a European hands a proud Negro, he finds it representative of the lack of dignity of missionary circles. RICHTOFEN has the same attitude as him50.

On the other hand, we may wonder if this is not a strategy to better deceive the consciences of those they are supposed to evangelize, to make them believe that they are brothers and sisters, that they share the same values.

It can therefore be inferred that there was a kind of “hybridity” on the part of German missionaries engaged in the colonial struggle who were to proclaim the Gospel, carry biblical values and at the same time make the “oppressors” accept in a “civilized” way.

In the rest of our work, we will therefore focus on the phenomenon of missionary hybridity in the face of polygamy.

- The hybridity of missionaries in the face of polygamy

The missionaries readily reported what the Committee wanted to hear, but they took a different attitude on the ground, without openly contradicting the Committee’s official position51. The Committee valued the fact that its missionaries on the ground were not influenced by local culture. The failure of such an attitude has been analyzed in the theological exploitation of the first part. The observation is clear : the missionaries seem here to settle with polygamy or polygamists, as long as they do not forbid their wives to take part in the cults and that they themselves directly or indirectly support the work of evangelization. It is interesting to note here that the missionaries are not only asking themselves the question, but that the debate is also about the access of polygamists to baptism. Unfortunately, the debate was not recorded in the minutes, which is abnormal52. The sources clearly show that some baptized or at least took part in the baptism of polygamists53. Indigenous pastor Johannes DEIBOL speaks of a family that called upon him to baptize a sick polygamist. The polygamist confided to him that he wished his sins to be forgiven.

He went to his bedside with the missionary STOLZ of the Basel Mission : “So that both of us could talk about his desire… The obstacle was his wives, because he didn’t know how to get rid of them — Thus he promised that in case he did not die, he would repudiate all his wives except one.

When we saw that his death was imminent, we baptized him and gave him the name of Noah in the presence of M. Spering and all his family54.” And this state of affairs was accentuated by the Muslim religion which allowed the Bamoun men to have several women. That is why Islam was able to spread so quickly and as well in the Bamoun country until today. Moreover, the Bamoun today play an important role in the spread of Islam, amplified by their cultural proximity with other southern populations.

In addition, King NJOYA also wanted to make his mark in the process of Christian baptism.

B. KING NJOYA WANTED TO BAPTIZE HIMSELF

Baptism is a foreign religious practice practiced by missionaries but which already existed in African societies. In Bamoun country, tribal initiations are evoked that mark the passage from the secular domain to the sacred domain.

Of course, it is the same pattern because it is a question of destroying the old personality in order to gain access to a new, superior personality, thus a death and a rebirth and the same ritual sequences that go from the rites of separation55 to rites of aggregation56, through rituals of margin57.

For religious initiations, the rites of rupture with the secular world take the form of a bath in the marigot, the destruction of old clothes and the wearing of new clothes, etc., following a call from some gods, this call can take the form of a dream, of an illness, of disorders in family life58. Religion as a “set of beliefs or dogmas and cult practices that constitute man’s relationship to divine power or supernatural powers” is a permanent fact that goes hand in hand with the history of humanity.

In this register, L.V. THOMAS, who, in posing what might be called an anthropology of the rite, made the following statement : One cannot conceive of (African) religion without rites for various reasons. First of all because religion, in order to be alive and active, must be expressed in liturgical behaviors that are socially codified, most often visible to everyone (except in certain sacred sequences reserved only for initiates). Thus, the rite authenticates the belief at the same time as it maintains it. Then, and this is true even more in Africa than elsewhere, because the body remains the privileged instrument that mediates the sacred in its immanent dimension ; through the rite, the numinous becomes particularly experienced corporeal and the negro-African does not imagine rites (at least for the most important ones) without certain body postures, without rhythms or dances. Finally, because the rite is the myth that makes flesh : language of an emotional experience most often collective attesting the presence of the numineux, the rite remains above all the incarnation of the myth »59.

Thus, it could be said that traditional black African societies find their essence in the rite because we realize that no activity of social life escapes the influence of the rite60.

This is why we wanted to know the meaning of baptism and its importance in traditional African society (1-). We also wondered about the change in social habits in Bamoun countries due to the adoption of Christian rites (2-).

1. The Meaning of Baptism

The word “baptism” comes from a Greek verb, “baptizein”, which means “dive”. This sacrament is therefore called by its central rite : diving into the water, a sign of a radical change in life. Like Jesus at Easter, and with him, the baptized plunge into death to be reborn to a new life, the life of God61.

Baptism or water baptism is a rite or sacrament symbolizing the new life of the Christian believer. It is shared by almost all Christian churches, given its importance in biblical texts.

Water symbolizes both the drowning death of the baptized in their old life characterized by sin, and their new birth in a new and eternal life62. For Catholicism and Orthodoxy, baptism is the sacrament of faith in Jesus Christ by which the Christian is saved, purified from sin, becoming a child of God.

The first meaning is that of the waters of death. "Water is the figure of death63," the most important analogy being the Flood. Just as the water of the Flood destroyed the sinful world, so the water of baptism destroys the sinful man. Another analogy is that of crossing the Red Sea : the waters of the sea destroyed the Pharaoh and his troops ; likewise, the waters of baptism destroyed the demons that dominated man.

Another conception is related to this one : for Hebrew cosmology, the Earth is placed on the lower waters, which are the Underworld, the kingdom of death. We can approach this theme of purifying water, although it is of another origin.

The water of baptism will then mean the destruction of the original defilement64. The second line is that of the waters of life. It is related to water as it inspires and sustains life. According to Genesis65, living beings are born from water. Moreover, according to Saint Ambrose, the water of baptism gives rise to a new creature66. The water of baptism is also compared to the rivers of paradise67, at the edge of which grow trees of life.

EZEKIEL shows in Messianic times a river of water gushing out of the Temple Rock and spreading into the desert of Judas, where he grows trees of life, and into the Dead Sea, where he makes fish swarm68. Christ applies this prophecy to baptism69. In this perspective, water is often associated with the Spirit : “no one, unless water and the Spirit are created again, will enter the Kingdom”70 71.

Thus, we wondered about the ceremony of baptism in traditional African society.

- Baptism ceremony in traditional African society The baptism ceremony of a new baby is one of the most important rites of passage in life. In traditional African society, the baptism ceremony announces the birth of a newborn, introduces the child into his or her extended family and wider community, and above all, gives a name to the child.

The name given to a baby can have a lasting influence on their personality and education. Choosing a child’s name is an important task for parents. For African art, the baptism ceremony is a rite of initiation that serves as a welcome.

Most of the time, this celebration happens with a sacrifice of sheep, goat, cow, is necessary to satisfy the ancestors with the blood of the animal at the same time to feed the guests, this event is older than the era of Christ and all other religions.

The ceremony begins with the recognition and divination of ancestors, followed by the name of “giving” and planting a living plant to represent life and survival. Traditional African names often have unique histories behind them. From the day or time of the baby’s birth to the circumstances surrounding the birth, many factors influence the names that parents choose for their children. Whatever ethnic group you look at, local names reveal a wealth of information about the bearer.

Among several ethnic groups, choosing names can be influenced by positive or negative circumstances in which the family finds itself at the time of a child’s birth. Often these names are complete sentences. For example, if the child is born on a Friday, the baby may be named “adjuma” which is a common name in the “Wolof” tribe.

“Kiptanui” and “Cheptanui” are often given to babies whose mothers may have experienced extreme difficulties during childbirth among the “Kalenjin” ethnic group in Kenya. « Lindiwe » which means « We have waited » is a name « Isizulu », often given to a little girl after a long line of boys. “Ayuji” which means “born on a pile of garbage” is a Hausa name given to a baby after those who were born before he could survive.

It is believed that giving the child a “terrible” name will deceive evil spirits into believing that the child is not loved and, therefore, allow the child to live.

The child does not officially begin to exist until he has been appointed as part of his rite of passage, that is, the baptism ceremony72. In « Yoruba » country, the baptism ceremony is called « Ikomo jade », which means « The exit of the child ». It takes place one week after the birth, in the father’s house. The baby is presented to the assistance by his mother.

In addition to welcoming the child, we use palm oil, salt, cola nuts or honey and each of these products is supposed to facilitate the future life of the toddler73.

“Ayodele” which means “Joy has come home” is a unisex name for a baby whose birth brought happiness to their parents “Yoruba” in Nigeria. “Adetokunbo” meaning “The crown/wealth has returned home” is a unisex “Yoruba” name often given to a child born abroad74.

In Bamoun country, as everywhere else, each individual is designated by a name. It is up to the father, head of the family, to choose the name of the child who has just been born. He chooses a name that has already been worn by his ancestors or grandparents.

The child almost never takes the name of his father, because the father must always seek to honour the memory of the deceased ascendants75. The father may also give the child the name of a deceased or living friend as a token of their friendship. If the friend is alive, he will recognize this intention by offering gifts to the newborn.

When the parent of a newly born child has his or her own living father, it is up to him or her to choose a name for the newborn. Next to the name, today’s Bamoun has a Muslim name if he is a Muslim, or a Christian name if he is a Christian.

In the Bamoun family, the first name is the most used. If an individual is given the name of GBENTKOM and the first name of OUMAROU, he will almost always be called OUMAROU. Another widespread habit is to designate an individual by his name followed by that of his mother. If GBENTKOM has as mother MFÙT, speaking of him, we will say GBENTKOM MFÙT.

In Muslim families, the child is named on the seventh day after birth, during a ceremony. At the ceremony of the taking of names, relatives, neighbors and friends gather. All who arrive do the alms at the entrance of the house.

They put on a plate money, colas, palm nuts, etc. These alms will be distributed to the poor who will pray to God to ask him to bless the newborn. The child’s father slits a ram to celebrate the birth of his child. The imam, the leader of the Muslim community or his assistant recites a prayer to God so that he takes under his protection the one who will receive his name. Festivities follow religious rites.

On the basis of this definition, we have witnessed a change in social habits in the Bamoun country due to the adoption of Christian rites.

2. Changing social habits in Bamoun due to the adoption of Christian rites

The powdered golden calf, which the Israelites had to swallow, showed men that they must not put their trust in fetishes. It was this story that gave MANGWELOUNE the courage to refuse the water of the "soldier" that WAMBEN forced his wives to drink from time to time. The "soldier" was a piece of red wood at both ends of which a liquid was poured that had the virtue of casting away evil spirits. Those who refused to drink it fell under the serious accusation of being sorcerers76. A new community now lived in the Mfon city. We saw men and women, nobles and slaves sitting together on the same benches, drinking from the same cup on certain days.

On the country passed a spirit hitherto unknown, blowing like a subtle wind, both in the palace and in the poorest hut. Christians gave up, the people did not know why, the most sought after goods.

Thus the Prince POPUERE had renounced the « Ngueri », of which he was the leader, left four wives to keep only one, abandoned to others of the girls bought by him to make them his wives later.

POPUERE must have known, however, that in doing so he was violating the customs of the country, humiliating the royal family. Even in the harems of the great Nji penetrated an atmosphere hitherto ignored. Christian women carried out their task more conscientiously, avoided quarrels. In the evening, they often met to sing. Seeing this, NJAPNDOUNKÉ77 had entrusted several brides of the Mfon to Mme GÖRING to teach them the customs of the Whites. It is true that the Nji were not always happy with the new state of affairs. If their Christian wives were faithful, they also stubbornly disobeyed when they wanted to force them to consult the spider, to drink the medicine-fetishes given by the sorcerer, to offer sacrifices to the ancestors.

So it was not uncommon to see one or the other of them, mistreated, seeking refuge on the hill of Njissé78. NJOYA wanted to create a community of its own. It was even said that he had asked the missionary for permission to baptize his people himself with palm wine, using his drinking horn. But the pastor had rejected his request79. King NJOYA had evoked the idea that the baptism of the faithful of the Church of the missionary GÖRING should be done according to the African rites, that is to say by including palm wine.

C. KING NJOYA WANTED TO ADD PALM WINE TO HOLY WATER

The « tchapalo » or « dolo » is a drink obtained from the fermentation of millet or red sorghum sprouted and then cooked in water. This drink is consumed in Mali, northern Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Burkina Faso and many other West African countries. Young people often consume it and have given it the short name « Tchap » but originally it is a drink during traditional ceremonies. The manufacture of « tchapalo » is reserved for women over 40 who have been initiated. The alcohol content of this beer is around 4% and 6%. In countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are several flavors of these local alcoholic beverages. Among others, the « lokoto », a drink with a very high alcohol content from the distillation of fermented corn kernels, combined with cassava and many other ingredients that make it special. We also have the « lunguila » which is a variant of the liqueur based on the juice of the sugar cane and many other drinks equally fermented. In every region of Africa, you will have a local drink full of tradition. These various drinks are consumed during special ceremonies80.

We have, for example, the “Koutoukou” called “gbele” in Côte d’Ivoire, “akpeteshie” in Ghana and “sodabi” in Benin81. It is a artisanal water obtained through the distillation of roaster buds, oil palm or raffia. This liqueur is widely consumed in Benin. Traditionally, this African alcohol has its place in religious ceremonies or great occasions to celebrate.82

We can also talk about the Tedj83 in Ethiopia. It’s mead, the oldest beverage in the world. It is a drink obtained by fermentation of honey with water : 1 liter of honey for 4 liters of water. The drink obtained is orange yellow, it can titrate from 8% up to 15% alcohol in the strongest cases.

Mead is the drink of the wise, a divine drink, the drink of sacrifices. In other African countries, you can add pepper to bring strength : it is the drink par excellence to consume after the fighting.

A sacred drink, mead still has its place in many tribes during rituals84. But the most popular drink remains palm wine. Palm wine is very popular and is consumed throughout the African continent. Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage obtained by natural fermentation of palm sap. It is a traditional drink in most tropical regions. In Cameroon, it has several names : mimbo, matango, mbuh, sodébi (giving the odontol once distilled)85.

Thus, let us ask ourselves the following questions : what is palm wine and why is it consumed (1-) ? And why did King NJOYA want to add palm wine to holy water (2-) ?

1. Origin and symbolism of palm wine

Palm wine is widespread in South-East Asia, North Africa especially in areas near the Sahara and sub-Saharan Africa. The sap is extracted from various species of palms : the date palm in the Maghreb, the African oil palm86 and the roaster87 in Africa, the sugar palm88 or the palmyra palm in South India and South East Asia, the nypa89 in swamp areas and mangroves, the raffia90, the coconut tree91 elsewhere. Jubaea chilensis was used in Chile but is now protected. When it has just been harvested, the juice is white and milky, sweet and rather sweet.

Over the hours, the fermentation increases, the wine produced becomes sparkling, strong, sometimes after, and takes a darker shade. By its taste and its light effervescence, the palm wine is rather close to a cider than a wine92. What are the challenges of palm wine consumption ?

In Africa, palm wine is often associated with wedding ceremonies, customary or religious rites. Thus in some tribes, the dowry required to the groom includes ladies jeannes of palm wine. Palm wine symbolizes the eternal union between the spouses93. The bride offering a glass of palm wine to her father seals their union forever.

In general, this traditional conception of drinking94 is explained by the French geographer Alain HUETZ DE LEMPS95: For many ethnic groups in Black Africa, drink is at the centre of social interaction and conviviality and sometimes becomes the central element of ritual and religious ceremonies96.”

During the holidays, palm wine is often used as an aperture. It is spread on the ground and is intended for ancestors who are not forgotten97. In some villages in Cameroon, a certain amount of all the wine used must still be offered to the chief of the village. In addition, sharing wine with the village’s “boss” is considered a sign of loyalty and homage. Moreover, social life revolves around the palm wine kiosk, a place that enjoys a popularity similar to European tea rooms98. One of the reasons why palm wine is so popular is the importance of its properties.

It is a drink not only special for the flavor that distinguishes it but also for the benefits it brings to the body and its properties. From the point of view of mineral salts, this drink is rich in iron and potassium, two micronutrients for good health. Because of its nutritional profile, it seems to be able to improve eye health, so much so that in the villages where it is usually consumed, the elderly are said to have an incredibly accurate view. The presence of mineral salts is useful for the proper functioning of certain cells of our body, while maintaining a healthy heart, and is able to control high blood pressure.

In many areas where palm wine is commonly consumed, it is considered a very powerful aphrodisiac, but its benefits could go further : a recent study has shown that palm wine can protect people suffering from erectile dysfunction and impotence due to type 2 diabetes. But we wanted to go further by asking ourselves about the symbolism of palm wine.

Concerning the symbolism of palm wine, we have focused on the celebration of the dead that requires this precious beverage. In Congo Brazzaville, for example, the keeper of the house goes to look for the tsamba, the palm wine, serves a cup and goes to the tomb to exchange with them, and pour them some wine.

Then he comes back and starts pouring small lampées at different places in the house where the ancestors used to sit. On the terrace, on the doorstep, in the kitchen, next to the fire, at the foot of some rooms, but not all, because he knows in which rooms they are used to meet99.

- Celebrating the Feast of the Dead in Guinea Bissau

To better illustrate this phenomenon, we first mentioned the celebration of the feast of the dead in Guinea Bissau. For the « Manjaku », people from Guinea Bissau, « Kakaaw » is the feast of ancestors and is prepared all year round. Every six days100, all the fathers of the village bring a bottle of palm wine101 to the shrine of the greatest god of the village102 for a libation. This is done for several weeks. After that, they will decide the day when everyone will bring a rooster for a sacrifice. At the end of this collective sacrifice, the day of the feast of the dead will be fixed and the weekly libations will be stopped. The feast is usually celebrated in May on the pious ancestors, the shrine dedicated to them. In the morning, the women prepare the offering103 of the « kanukan », a dish composed of rice and dried fish. After cooking, sprinkle the rice with palm oil.

Before tasting the dish, you must first offer it to the ancestors. It is to the father of the family104 that he returns as an officer as a priest on the stakes of the ancestors. Surrounded by the whole family, he makes a libation and addresses the spirits to ask for their protection for the whole family.

Then, he takes a handful of the rice from the offering and places it next to the stakes, gesture by which he gives food to the ancestors. Then follow the festivities. We eat the rice of the offering and share the wine of the libation. These celebrations are held in each family, because in each family there is a shrine dedicated to the dead where each stake represents an ancestor105.

Later, we studied the cult of ancestors among the « Tege Alima » of Togo who pay tribute to their dead through many offerings including palm wine.

- The cult of ancestors among the Tege Alima of Togo

Worship is the set of ceremonies by which the faithful of a particular religion pay homage to God and possibly to the Saints.

Here in « Tege » country, the homage to the ancestors is characterized by the offerings intended for them. It ensures permanent communion with the ancestral spirits and allows to master, to strengthen the ties of the clan in the lignager system. This tribute to the ancestors is paid in several areas of the life of the « Tege Alima ».

It is returned by the living to the deceased ancestors by appropriate rites and sometimes by sacrifices : libation, deposit of wine, clothes behind the houses or on the graves.

In this regard, R. LUNEAU writes : “Almost everywhere in the African bush, you never drink palm wine or millet beer without pouring a few drops on the ground for the deceased, you avoid throwing hot water on the floor of the hut so as not to burn the souls of the favorable deceased106.”

It should be pointed out that some rites performed as libations are symbols of solidarity, communion, remembrance, respect for the forefathers, but also a means of obtaining a fortune from them. The forgetting of ancestors can have harmful consequences in the ordinary life of the « Tege ». Misfortune, bad luck, infertility, failure in business can affect the forgetful. Each family or clan traditionally has people to perform these rites. Ancestors may, at times, through a village ‘seer’ require the living for what they need.

Failure to comply with such a request or offer such a sacrifice can have negative consequences. And we can witness cases of envy, sterility or great epidemics that fall on the country. Some authors have seen in this cult analogies with the devotion to the saints. This is how ancestors are considered the “Saints of our families”.

Pope Benedict XVI also compared this cult of ancestors to the cult of Saints107: The Catholic Church, stresses Pope Benedict XVI, has much in common with traditional African religions. Let us say that the worship of ancestors finds its answer in the communion of saints, in purgatory. The saints are not only canonized, they are all our dead108.”

Unfortunately, a general observation leads us to say with conviction that with evangelization, some elements of traditional religion have disappeared and gradually disappear in favour of the new Catholic religion. On this, Jean-Michel ELELAGHE writes : Christianity presents itself as an implacable machine for the destruction of traditional religion and the philosophical foundations of society (…).

In schools, young people are taught to despise the savage practices of their parents and ancestors. The administration and the mission combine their efforts for the destruction of the politico-military organizations and the cult of the ancestors, the missionaries on their ground attack the latter more specifically109.” In this regard, an African theologian, NKONGOL WA MBIYE, says : Jesus Christ is therefore above all spirits. He is our spirit (ancestor) to us because we are (…) the great spirit (ancestor) always remains Christ, the child of God who died and rose again. He is the first born of the dead110.”

Moreover, the « nganga » or fetishists of the traditional religion are less and less frequent, they have lost, so to speak, their clienteles. The new Christian addresses Jesus and finds in him the graces he needs. He frequents the church and by necessity entrusts himself to the priest.

In this perspective, some traditional rites such as libations, the sacrifice of such and such animals to the benefit of the elders are still carried out by a small non-Christian minority, but less and less111.

King NJOYA, as an innovator and visionary, did not intend to act in a gullible manner with regard to the habits of the missionaries. That’s why we wondered about the fact that he wanted to include palm wine with holy water.

Why this claim on his part ?

- Why did King Njoya want to add palm wine to holy water ?

In Africa, palm wine consumption is almost always collective. They may be family members ; family in the broad sense112. Thus, in all cultures, “eating the same food is tantamount to producing the same flesh and blood, thus making us more like commensals and bringing us closer to each other (…). If eating food changes us a bit, then sharing the same food will make us more like each other.”

This leads to a moment of brotherhood, of union113. According to the “History and Customs of the Bamoun,” Article 109, “When the mother of a rù shi woman (special form of dowry) dies, her son-in-law must go to lamentations with a live goat, he must prepare the pen, cook another goat, then kill a chicken, we prepare « pen », this is for « Nkut Nyi », and a wine gourd for « Nkum Shi » and a rooster for « Mùntgu ».

Then the son-in-law, wearing « nkùete » and wearing a « njo », arrives in the courtyard quickly. If he falls, the goat escapes, the earth stains his face, the plume turns towards his back and his stick breaks, he pretends to be ashamed and people laugh a lot ».

If the king’s mother-in-law dies, a big goat is cooked, a pen is prepared, a live goat, a rooster and a wine gourd are brought in. « Taafon » arrives with « Mùnjemndù pùte » ; the princes blow in their hors, the royal women dance. We give a cock to « Taafon » and a bottle of wine ; then we give a cock and a goat for the princes who play and a bottle of wine for the royal women »114. Palm wine is indispensable in the celebration of funerals in Bamoun country and testifies to its « nobility » at all times and in all places.

In addition, the consumption of palm wine also turns out for the tourist a reunion with an environment that has not yet been significantly transformed by man. It is important to remember that “In the tourist’s perceptions, the link is established between food cultures and places : eating local to the symbolic consumption of a land, a region, a province, its climate, its landscape…”115. Seen in this sense, the tourist thus seeks to enter into communion with this nature, that is to say, these trees, rocks, grasses, animals, etc. which it is difficult to see in its usual urban environment.

So close to nature, the tourist uses his trip to re-establish the link with the supernatural, thus with his ancestors, the geniuses, the intangible forces of which, in African context, we know that they also have an influence in everyday life.

It is therefore a moment when the tourist makes them understand, as he makes the living understand, that he has not forgotten his origins, that he remembers them and that thus they must not forget him and give him blessings116. Moreover, it is also a precious offering during ceremonies of homage to the dead, but is also considered as the symbol of eternal union between the spouses. It is therefore from this observation that we can say that palm wine also has a saving function in the same way as holy water. And to better illustrate this fact, we wanted to recall the meaning of holy water.

- Meaning of Holy Water

Holy water comes from the Roman religion, where it was used by the pontiffs117. It is also considered to be water that has been blessed by a priest, bishop or deacon for the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism or to bless objects, among other pious customs. In the past, water was also blessed on various occasions in honour of certain saints. These waters were supposed to provide some protection.

For example, it was blessed at the same time as bread, wine, and fruit for the feast of Saint Blaise, to protect against sore throats ; in honor of Saint Hubert, it was blessed with water, salt, and bread to guard against canine rage118. Holy water is a sacramental, that is, a sacred sign, which the Catholic Church makes available to the faithful for their sanctification and protection, as well as for the objects and places they use. Like crucifixes, medals, pious images, rosaries, ashes and branches, it finds its place in the daily life of Christians to the point that it appears as one of the most used sacramentals119.

However, it must be remembered that holy water is not a magic potion because its effectiveness comes to it from the passion and resurrection of Christ and depends on the good dispositions of the user : faith, humility, hope and charity, which put in direct relation with God.

On the other hand, the use of holy water has nothing to do with the abusive use of water by some who lend it magical powers and use it mainly to “fight” demons, diseases, harmful influences… Nor does it have anything to do with the practice of "stoup addicts," who cook or shower in holy water, to avoid being poisoned, to combat disease or temptation, or to purify themselves after a bad encounter.

Moreover, by the virtue of the Church’s prayers, the holy water attracts, on every occasion, the help of the Holy Spirit, for the good of the soul and of our body. It blots out venial sins, not by its own effectiveness120, but by the sentiments of sincere contrition which, fertilized and sanctified by the blessing of the priest, it helps to bring into being in our souls. In this case, moreover, the use of holy water does not dispense from recourse to the sacrament of reconciliation. As SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES explains, When we say that the blessing of the bishop and the holy water erase venial sins, it is not by virtue of the act of humility that we do by receiving him, and by virtue of the return that we make of our spirit to God.

In other words, the use of holy water must always be accompanied by a sincere faith in an act of total and trusting and total abandonment in God, a prayer and a right intention to be effective121.

- Correlation between palm wine and holy water

From this we can establish a correlation between palm wine and holy water, since these two « waters » are at the service of the supernatural, a kind of creation between the divine and the human. Just as holy water is a natural water consecrated to the divine service by a rite of blessing122, palm wine is an offering made to the ancestors.

One could speak in this case of a true civilization of the palm tree, as this tree remains one of the main sources of income, provides materials for architecture and crafts, intervenes123 in every solemn or sacred manifestation of social life as in the banal manifestations of friendship and cooperation.

The palm tree is a “male” tree and, in a sense, a “noble” tree - a leader’s tree that orders and governs the natural palm groves held by ancestors. The task of shooting palm wine, « musogi » does not only require a kind of learning, it also requires the confidence of the chief who controls it ; it is still the latter who holds the « box »124 where are accumulated the proceeds of the sales of wine, and who regulates each year the division of these sums125 among the married men of his lineage126.

On the Bamoun Royal War Bell, which serves to call the population to combat and probably on other occasions, is represented a Bamoun warrior ; this one holds the horn with which the king127 offers palm wine to his people. Called « mimbo », the palm wine was very appreciated by King NJOYA and since Islam did not allow him to consume it, he had the idea of creating a syncretic religion, « Nuet-Kwete », which allowed him to consume this alcoholic elixir, the practice of polygamy and the worship given to ancestors through libations made from palm wine and/or raffia128.

And from this point of view, we can say that King NJOYA shows that Africans are also capable of blessing, sanctifying, making sacred a place, a thing, a person. But above all that they continue to establish a link with the supernatural, the geniuses and other intangible forces of nature. It is a way of not forgetting his origins, that he remembers his ancestors and that thus, they need their blessings. He counterbalances this Western belief that white man is the only one who is in contact with God and that he is the only one who is.

Moreover, the use of palm wine is preserved in the rites of « Nuot Kwote » because this drink has always been used in ancestral worship. In addition, raffia wine was also used in the service of allegiance to the ceremony of enthronement of the new king. Here, the wine was poured into the hands of his family members and all the chiefs who must drink it. Islam, now the religion of the majority of the population, forbidding the consumption of wine, King Seidou NJIMOLUH NJOYA innovated by shaking the hand of all those who came to recognize him129.

It was not until 1917-18 that the monarch definitively returned to the Muslim religion and began to bring his subjects there because he had understood that the French colonial authorities had decided to encourage the development of Christianity in the kingdom. As for the rest of our work, the relations between King NJOYA and the missionary GÖRING were most paradoxical and we examined the points of discord between the two men.

PARAGRAPH II : AMBIVALENT RELATIONS BETWEEN KING NJOYA AND MISSIONARY GÖRING

In 1907, a missionary magazine published in Basel spread the news that a young king, NJOYA, sovereign of a small mountain kingdom of Cameroon whose inhabitants are called the Bamum, invented a writing. The state is located in the mountainous massif that ends west of the Adamawa Ridge. It is one of the many kingdoms that occupy the covered plateaus of the forested savannahs that the Germans call the country of the meadow... For years this kingdom has had an almost mythical existence in the minds of the Germans130.”

The ease with which Christianity entered the Bamoun country was a disconcerting experience, even for the envoys of the Basel Mission. Despite the anteriority of his relations with Islam, whose ambassadors were fairly well introduced to the court at the time of the arrival of the Basel emissaries, it was with great kindness that King NJOYA accepted the introduction of Christianity into his kingdom.

With his agreement, the Swiss missionary Martin GÖRING and his wife moved to Foumban on April 10, 1906, on the vast site of Njissé graciously offered by the king and on which he renounced all his rights and claims131.

Thus, we will study the friendship between King NJOYA and missionary GÖRING (A-) which will gradually deteriorate because of the many disagreements regarding the practice of the Christian faith and the consideration of traditional Bamoun culture (B-).

A. FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN KING NJOYA AND MISSIONARY GÖRING

From the beginning, and throughout his stay in the Bamoun country, a great friendship developed between the Swiss missionary and the native king. A relationship made of cordiality and mutual respect, of which the king’s subjects kept a good memory.

Thus, Jean NJIMONYA, Bamoun Christian of the first hour testifies : “Mr GÖRING (…) helped in the construction of the first house of the Sultan. He was a great friend of the Sultan. He protected him with the administration and instructed him(sai)t concerning the word of God. If the king (…) ends up dying in his old age, (it is) thanks to this great pioneer of the Gospel”132.

Nevertheless, the Basel missionary never succeeded in obtaining the king’s expected conversion. Indeed, the attachment and respect that NJOYA had for GÖRING, as sincere as they were, never convinced him to defy the prescriptions of tradition that required him, as head of the Bamoun, to take many wives. The renunciation of the throne of his ancestors that would have cost him the adoption of the monogamous matrimonial regime prescribed by Christianity, too heavy to bear, always dissuaded him from it133.

From there, we will draw up a portrait sketch of the missionary GÖRING (1-), while highlighting the favorable reception of King NJOYA of the mission of Basel in Bamoun country (2-).

1. The portrait of missionary Göring : a pastor at the service of the Basel mission

The Basel Mission, or Basel Mission, with its full name Evangelical Society of Basel Missions134, is a Protestant missionary society founded in 1815, which has experienced a very important development in several parts of the world, notably in Russia, Gold Coast135, India, China, Cameroon, Borneo, Nigeria, Latin America, Sudan.

In Cameroon, in 1885, the Basel Mission took over the work of the English Baptist missionaries. On this occasion, some Baptist parishes separated from the work to form the indigenous Baptist Church136. And Pastor GÖRING was one of his greatest disciples.

Following the description of Alexandra LOUMPET-GALITZINE137, the missionary Henri Martin GÖRING was everything : teacher, preacher, farmer, breeder, builder. He came from the Basel mission, which was one of the classical Protestant missions founded around 1800 to spread Christianity in Africa, Latin America and Asia. He began school in 1906 with 60 boys ; another missionary named Mathias HOHNER was sent. He also received 60 boys ; then a young lady was sent under the name of Lydie LINK who also received 60 girls.

We then see a missionary station full of animation. We choose young students for boarding. Each of the missionaries had a horse. And Mr. Göring, the chief missionary, had two or three. The pastor does not neglect any means to gain the confidence of the king and the people, befriends Sultan NJOYA who, strongly influenced by his preaching, “renounces the Muslim religion adopted at the end of the civil war which opposed it to its Prime Minister GBENTKOM NDOMBOUO between 1894 and 1897138 ”. Not only did the monarch encourage schooling in the country, but he followed the preaching and even attended religious services. Fragments of the Bible were translated into the Bamoun language, using the scripture developed by the king. GÖRING also made known the Bamoun writing in Europe139. According to Pastor GÖRING, NJOYA believed as an intelligent man that there could be other means than force and cruelty to impose his authority.

And although in his heart he did not desire the Germans to take possession of his country, he approached them to become familiar with their methods and to take a little of their power, their knowledge, their wealth140. Her role was certainly decisive but remains poorly known, as Alexandra LOUMPET- GALITZINE testifies in one of her articles on the Bamoun kingdom141.

2. Basel Mission in Bamoun Country : King Njoya’s Welcome

King NJOYA enthusiastically offered the missionaries a large plot of land in the Njissé district to build the school. He instructed his notables to send their children to European school, as did the Great Royal of Diallobés in the novel by SHEIKH HAMIDOU KANE, « The Ambiguous Adventure ».

Aware of the future stakes of the school, NJOYA urges its subjects to be the first to surprise the whites, for fear that a slave will lead the princes to command them one day : Listen to what I want to say, and I ask you to execute. Good news has emerged in our country. You will be a stranger in the matter, but I who am everywhere having a deep understanding, I declare to you that : Send your own children into the thing brought by the whites. It says : It’s the school…. The proof is that I want to send my own children there. Follow my example and execute142. The goal of the German missionaries is the conversion of the pagans through school and naturally the proclamation of the Gospel. Pastor GÖRING says, “Our method is based on school, charity and home visits143.”

GÖRING gave an impressive account of the first pupils entrusted to him by King NJOYA in 1906. King NJOYA sent him sixty nice boys, then followed by girls. GÖRING said : The construction of a building opened the country’s first school on June 25, with 60 students. It was to Madame Göring that the King entrusted the education of four daughters to whom later seven of his own daughters joined. He has a total of 87 children ! Some time later, she told him that she would like to open a girls' school : the King approved immediately.

On October 30, she started with 51 young girls144.” The king had his own daughters, and maids such as YOUNÉNOU Marie, MVU Marthe, KOUCHA MENGWENE, NJAPDUNKE Rachel, WUKO Rebecca, NJINE FOEBE145.

This photograph below taken in Mandou Yenou on page 199 shows the class of girls with Anna WURHMANN, their teacher.

Figure 2 : Photo taken circa 1912 – Anna WUHRMANN sitting among her students at the Foumban Girls’ School.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source : CAMEROON RETRO – PHOTOS OF THE PAST, “Anna Rein WUHRMANN (1881- 1971)”. Published on January 10, 2020 at www.facebook.com and accessed on May 03, 2021.

Figure 3 : Photo taken around 1907 of King NJOYA and Missionary GÖRING, with his son sitting side by side146.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Source : J. NJELE, “Sultan NJOYA and Missionary GÖRING,” I&M Bulletin 33, Images and Memoirs, 14. (Available online at www.imagesetmemoires.com ).

One of the points of divergence between the two men concerned the practice of the Christian religion which forbade polygamy among other things and hence, the divergences between the two men will emerge (B-).

B. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO MEN REGARDING THE PRACTICE OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION

The First World War abruptly ended the period of expansion of the Basel Mission. The war quickly spread to the colonies, which greatly handicapped missionary work. Then the German personnel were either interned by the French or British authorities or mobilized by Germany. To this was added a marked impoverishment of Europe which made the search for funds more difficult. The war years reduced activity in the mission fields to virtually nothing.

Between the two wars, the policy of expansion of European nations in the colonies had not changed much. The return to work in the missions was therefore difficult. However, the Basel Mission managed to return to almost all its mission areas except in French Cameroon, and to achieve an astonishing recovery of missionary activity. But because of the almost total absence of missionaries during the war, local communities became increasingly aware of their strength and capacity for autonomy. Local churches had been formed, which incorporated the missionaries' contribution upon their return. As a result, the missionaries found both new native churches and missionary posts on their return147.

Contrary to Christianity, in fact, conversion to Islam, while retaining the enjoyment of matrimonial privileges attached to its traditional religious functions, gave it the title of spiritual leader – sultan ! – a token of certain symbolic influence over his subjects. The attempt by NJOYA to regain its symbolic hegemony over Christians took on, at the time of the departure of the Basel missionaries, the features of a champagne of seduction. The king opened schools and businesses where he employed converts, thus giving pledges of his ability, if not to replace himself, at least to compensate for the void created by the forced defection of the missionaries.

However, this regime of favor was tempered by physical sanctions and moral torture against the Gha Pkù tu (word for word « the hard-headed ones », in other words « the stubborn ones »), as were designated the Christians, considered particularly recalcitrant and subversive, due to a guilty collaboration with the whites.

Figure 4 : Photos taken by the missionary GÖRING around 1906-1912 that contrast the first Christian church and the school of King NJOYA with Foumban

This image has been removed for copyright reasons.

Source : Online Catalogue Bibliothèque du Defap. Photo : CM. P. FGB-FB172 is part of Fonds photographique Bamoun/ Daniel Broussous (1910/1960). Circa 1906-1912 - Clichés M. Göring. The Basel Mission.

The Sultan-King, the official organizer of the discourse on his kingdom, discovers with astonishment and anger the content of the revelations made to the missionaries by his subjects of Christian obedience on the customs of the country148.

It is this situation that will be the logical continuation of a series of tensions between King NJOYA and the missionary Basel GÖRING in Bamoun territory, and which crystallizes the duel between Christian tradition and Bamoun tradition. Thus, King NJOYA, as guardian of traditions (1-), belief in God in Bamoun country long before the arrival of the Whites and the creation of a syncretic religion combining animism, Islam and Christianity (2-).

Figure 5 : Table and Pulpit of the Church of Foumban (1940/1960)

This image has been removed for copyright reasons.

Source : Online Catalogue Bibliothèque du Defap. Photo : CM. P. FGB-FB172 is part of Fonds photographique Bamoun/ Daniel Broussous (1910/1960).

The first 02 (two) photos reflect the antagonism between Christianity and traditional customs in Bamoun country. We feel the will of each side to impose its doctrine on the inhabitants of the country.

Each camp has a temple and this one by King NJOYA seems more imposing. This reflects his commitment to remain the « master of the country ». The 3rd photo testifies to the cohabitation between the Bamoun culture and the Christian culture especially with the presence of the cross and the church pulpit as well as the Bamoun art objects present in the same place.

3. King Njoya, guardian of traditions

All social strata, women and men are concerned because this language was intended to replace the language « shu pa mben », borrowed by the Bamoun from the Mben, the defeated people. Religion will play a facilitating role in the acquisition of writing. However, NJOYA had not renounced to impose the religion of Allah on its people. He sometimes used persuasion, sometimes strength to overcome resistance. To the young men, he promised to give daughters of Nji or princesses as much as they would if they obeyed his orders. He also organized great celebrations for the people. One day Lydia MANGWELOUNE149 was taken up by her old passion, dancing the impure « pandambo » with other women. However, Lydia MANGWELOUNE was ashamed of it. Taxes, chores, imprisonments were to discourage recalcitrants. The faithful were going through very dark times. Not all had the strength to resist the tempting offers of the Mfon or to endure persecution. There were abandonments. Denying their faith, men embraced Islam, fell back into polygamy. Women submitted to their husbands for peace150.

These two women have worked to spread Christianity in the Bamoun country and are pioneers in taking into account the rights of women, children and the most vulnerable in the Bamoun society, which was highly unequal and governed by the law of the fittest, especially through the practice of the death penalty. Christianity has allowed each individual to find a place in their own right and has conveyed the values of forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance of the other, not only for the locals, but also between whites and blacks.

That is why the task became increasingly difficult, because NJOYA had composed a new doctrine that began with these words : « Here is the book of King Njoya who chose some words of God in the White Book and the Book of Maloums, put them together to inspire the true fear of God... ».

The missionary GÖRING gave the name NJOYA to his second son. The name given to his son shows the degree of friendship he had with the sultan of the Bamoun kingdom. Where he had stayed before his arrival in Foumban in 1906. Indeed, the attachment and respect that NJOYA had for GÖRING, as sincere as they were, never convinced him to defy the prescriptions of tradition that required him, as head of the Bamoun, to take many wives151. The renunciation of the throne of his ancestors which would have cost him the adoption of the monogamous matrimonial regime prescribed by Christianity, too heavy to bear, always dissuaded him from it. Also, when the SMEP came to take over the field of the German mission in the French part of the Cameroonian territory, King NJOYA already displayed his preference for the Muslim religion.

It is because between the arrival of the French and the departure of the sympathetic Basles, the First World War had occurred and with it, according to Church Elder Jean-Carrière NJI : « The spectacle of the Christian nations tearing in the eyes of the dazzled indigenous savages »152.

According to NJI, the King’s conclusion would have been that a religion whose flock did not hesitate to come to blows was not a model of value to be presented to its subjects153.

According to the religious doctrine of NJOYA : The religion revealed by the Whites and that revealed by the Malum are the same. Whether a man believes in the religion of whites and abides by all his laws or believes in the religion revealed by the Malum and abides by all his laws, it is the same thing.

God is able to listen to the prayer of all human races in their respective languages without the need to speak the language of the past, for it is he who created all men and endowed them with the power to invent their languages !

God listens in their respective languages to all those who have mouths, for he himself has given them these tongues »154. King NJOYA seemed aware of the political hold of the Christian religion that he had felt eluded him over the penetration of Christian doctrine.

Contrary to Christianity, in fact, conversion to Islam, while retaining the enjoyment of matrimonial privileges attached to its traditional regalian functions, gave it the title of spiritual leader – sultan ! – a symbol of certain influence over his subjects. NJOYA reigned from 1894 to 1933.

He succeeded his father NSANGOU in 1886 because he was still too young at the death of his father. His mother NJAPDOUNKÉ ensured the regency. Due to internal crises due to succession, NJOYA turned to the Foulbé. With their help, he defeated his rivals and became the undisputed ruler of the Bamoun.

In gratitude to the Foulbé, NJOYA accepted Islam. He welcomed the Germans in 1902. In 1906, he allowed the Basel Mission to build a church in Njissé. He used the Germans to strengthen his position, eliminate his rivals from the royal lineage and court.

He also relied on the Germans to avenge the assassination of King NSANGOU by the Nsoh and to remove Nsangou’s skull from that country. He collaborated closely with the Germans, which enabled him to visit the coast in 1908 where he was received by Governor Theodore SEITZ in Buéa. When the Germans were defeated in Cameroon in 1916, NJOYA called them “men of darkness… liars who continually disturb populations.” He favoured an annexation of the Bamoun region by the English in 1916, but this portion of the territory later became French. As a young sovereign, with the means of its policy, NJOYA had early felt the need for a form of communication and sustainability of its action. It came to him the creation of writing before the advent of the West in the Bamoun space. This writing was to know its evolution and give birth to a language, the « Shu-mom », just as prodigious as writing.

In contact with the West, in this case the Germans, the curious and inventive spirit of NJOYA, being interested in the hut of the German administrator in Buéa, led him to engage his people, under his direction, according to his plan, to realize a palace in honor of his people and by Bamoun trained in the vocational schools created by him NJOYA and not the schools of architecture of Europe.

NJOYA wanted to take advantage of its encounter with the West, not to be content to consume the products of Westerners whom it appreciated, but to challenge itself to do the same, and even to compete positively with the Other155, and to protect himself and his people from alienation, from the loss of his freedom156.

The strength of the Other coming from its ability to produce meaning, to make available the products of its manufacture, material goods and spiritual values, NJOYA believed in the genius of its people and its own genius to give itself the power to be a producer of meaning. His approach to the Other, his vision of his environment and his idea of the greatness of his people, of his own freedom, all of this prompted him to play the patron of men whom he taught to his genius and who in turn became genius builders, blacksmiths, weavers, masons, scribes... Under NJOYA, the Bamoun Square became the spacious rectangular house more convenient to the expression of life. And the quality of life went hand in hand with many artistic innovations : the enrichment of the Bamoun music of several compositions in the language « Shumom », the introduction of « the algaita » of Sahelian origin.

The emergence of a class of scribes, the development of various professions allowing a literate and professionalized fringe of the population to live from his works, encouraged the Bamoun people to expect a remarkable level of civilization.

The multisectoral reforms will revolutionise the political sphere, agriculture and economy, the art of living, as well as the transformation and/or urbanization of the city of Foumban..., these are all civilizational aspects to add to the assets of NJOYA, inventor of a corn mill, geographer, geopoliticist who made a map of his kingdom. He excelled in patronage and encouragement through awards of excellence for craftsmen.

He transformed medicine and pharmacopoeia for the sake of improving the health of his people, and in doing so he introduced a profound reform of mentality, a revolution in the cosmic and cosmological conception of the Bamoun.

As guardian of traditions, King NJOYA had to limit the influence of Christianity and continue to assert his authority over his people.

4. King Njoya or the existence of God in the Bamoun culture

This new vision of the world was to reach its climax with the encounter of other conceptions, the Christian and Muslim. NJOYA was able to manage this meeting of religions in his kingdom by the creation of a third way, the syncretic way of « Nwet-Nkwète », in fact a real metaphysical foundation whose corollary is the adoption of a critical attitude without any wonder other than epistemological curiosity for a choice dictated by the concern to safeguard its freedom and the autonomy of its people157.

Under his magisterium, he had to deal with six moments-mutations that occurred in his kingdom :

1) the entry of Islam (1894-1896),
2) the entry of the first Europeans (6/7/1902),
3) the entry of Reformed Christianity (before 1906),
4) the German colonial administration (1903-1915),
5) the British administration (1915-1916), and
6) the French administration (from 1916).

And we will even note the belief in God in Bamoun country that will lead to the creation of a syncretic religion by King NJOYA158. In this regard, NJOYA will find that among Christians and Hausa there is such a duality of worlds. The creator God of Christians and Muslims also exists among the Bamoun. It is the Nyinyi or the one who is everywhere, the omnipresent. But this Nyinyi does not prevent belief in spirits and other forces of nature : In the world of Bamoun, there is a supreme being, creator of all that exists : Nyinyi or the one who is everywhere. It is to this God that every person in difficulty with others puts the care of his vengeance. The frog and the lizard, for example, are heralds of good fortune who announce the birth in the concession. Some snakes or insects foretell sad days. Stronger is the belief of spirits.

The persistence of evil for servants elements such as lightning that destroys the huts and terrace men, the violent tornado, the fire that sometimes envelops the village in death, the panther that carried away the cattle and men, the fast river or the lake with calm but treacherous waters159.”

This view of the world certainly contrasts with the world of the Pa-rwm, whose singular-neutral is nzwm, and the substantivation is the rwm : set of elements and beings generally at the service of evil. To this end, Some men unconsciously hold this power of evil and then harm the other members of the tribe. A generic term designates all these elements and beings at the service of evil : Pa-rwm whose singular-neutral is nzwm. The rwm, the spirit of evil that dwells in them, resides in the womb of the woman who transmits it hereditarily to her offspring. A man can be nzwm without transmitting it. Pa-rwm are the causes of almost all diseases and all misfortunes. There are, however, two kinds of Pa-rwm. The former only cause pain when you break the rules, the custom or when you are in discord with someone”160 161.

Before his exile in Yaoundé, King NJOYA tried to put into practice a new religion he called Nwot-Kwete which means « Continue to reach ». NJOYA, as an enlightened king, began writing the precepts and foundations of a religious doctrine called “Continue to Reach” in 1916.

It is, as Claude TARDITS points out, “a religion of salvation, mainly inspired by the preaching of marabouts, which has sometimes been called “Islam Bamoun”. Continue to reach was read in the mosque that the king had built as early as 1916 and, importantly, its dissemination was done in the language of the country »162.

His decision to propagate this religion in the Bamoun language was part of NJOYA’s concern to bring the divine discourse within the reach of the ordinary Bamoun believer. It was, it will be said, a form of inculturation. This is what NJOYA says about it : All human races pray to God in the language of their country and not in the language of ancient times. God hears because he is the one who created all men, he gave them this language. All those to whom God has given a mouth and God understands them because God has given them this language »163.

Here, one could have several wives, make sacrifices to the skulls of ancestors and consume the products of offerings. This allowed us to continue living as in the past but with new clothes… We often see shows where Christians coming out of temples go to the homes of marabouts for cabalistic consultations to find out what the future holds for them. Polygamy is also hypocritically practised by some who have homes where they house their mistresses - wives.

Alcohol is consumed under the bushel by some Mohammedan and we still find ourselves today in the process of giving reason to NJOYA who very early had understood that we need an African Islam just like an African Christianity164. Other not superfluous details : no European plant was introduced and adopted by the Bamoun in their diet ; is this not a « derivation » in the sense of Pareto WILFREDO, that is to say an irrationality that strengthens the identity and authenticity of the group !

Finally, in relation to his retreats at Mantoum and his definitive exile in Yaoundé which inspired the thesis of capitulation, we oppose a « praise to the flight » : to revolt in the conditions derived above is to run to his ruin. This will lead King NJOYA to establish a Bamoun religion that brought together animist customs, Islam and Christianity. And this situation will reflect the powerlessness of the envoy of the Protestant Mission in Basel to impose the Gospel in Bamoun country.

CONCLUSION

In the fact, the missionaries could not convert NJOYA, which had several hundred wives who were not to be sent back. Moreover, it goes without saying that traditional practices were no more abandoned during the ten (10) years of the Mission’s presence than they were at the end of the 19th century, after the first diffusion of Islam. One can therefore deduce that despite all the efforts of pastor Martin GÖRING, Christianity could not take precedence over the animist culture and Islam implanted in Bamoun territory.

It should also be remembered that the syncretic religion of King NJOYA was a powerful catalyst for this situation. In December 1915, the Germans and the Protestant Mission of Basel, present in the country since the beginning of the century, left the kingdom. The English troops settled in Foumban. The departure of the Mission then changed the complicated religious situation, which had been developing in the kingdom for nearly twenty years. Indeed, between 1896 and 1898, a way of conversion to Islam had intervened. This happened following an intervention of the Peuls of Banyo requested by the young NJOYA, who had just ascended the throne, and was in the midst of a civil war. The « victory of the horse » led the king to ask the Islamized Peuls to send marabouts.

She still encouraged him to write, which was done some time later. The Hausa marabouts introduced to the royal court the practice of Muslim prayers and even that of the young. The Bamoun did not abandon their own rites.

In 1916, the marabouts had not yet regained their influence and the Christians had left. King NJOYA took advantage of this circumstance to elaborate the precepts of a religion by writing a small work entitled in French « Poursuis pour atteindre ». There were there, gathered in about thirty chapters, elements of what one might call a national religion inspired by Islam. Several passages repeat, without modifications, the text of the Risala.

The theological principles of royal doctrine are as follows :

1) The oneness of God is affirmed : God is unthinkable, omniscient, ubiquitous and he created the world to which he gave his laws.
2) The condition of man is sanctioned during his earthly existence, and he can be punished by the misfortunes and plagues sent by God ; it is still sanctioned after his death : the world knows an end, then a resurrection intervenes, following which man is doomed, always according to his conduct, to an eternity of suffering in the fire or endless bliss.
3) The precepts to be respected in order to avoid misfortunes on this earth and to enjoy eternal happiness are the laws of society, willed, as we have said, by God (The rules listed by NJOYA are quite simply those of the traditional Bamoun morality). Man must still practice what the monarch calls the “acts loved by God”, that is, the rites whose description fills two-thirds of his work.

The « acts loved by God » concern here the prayers that must be done five times a day, that of Friday being done collectively in the mosque ; the young people who correspond to those required in Islam, the sacrifice of the sheep on the 10th day of the last month of the year and finally alms. At the time, NJOYA had a mosque rebuilt where royal doctrine was taught. The enterprise lasted little : it certainly covered part or all of 1916165.

The impact of this anathema was so great that when Elie ALLEGRET, military chaplain sent with three other teammates by the Société des Missions Évangéliques de Paris in 1917 to study the conditions of the resumption of the mission field of Cameroon, arrived in Bamoun country, the flourishing Christian community built by the Basel people was reduced to a handful of faithful out of a group of more than 200 members in 1914. Among these rare faithful were Mosé YÉYAP, cousin and first opponent of King NJOYA, and Josué MOUICHE, first pastor of the Bamoun Church166.

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[...]


1 Sultan I. NJOYA, “History and Customs of the Bamun, Memoirs of the IFAN, series : Population No. 5, 1952, p. 43.

2 Called “administration indirect” in French.

3 Njimom, Mayap, Nkundul, Nkussam, Nkutaba and Nkutie.

4 J.B.M. 1914, p. 156. In J. Van Slageren, op. cit., 1972, pp. 106–7.

5 “Die ersten Hochzeiten in Bamum,” in H.B., 1912, p. 28. 3 Anna WUHRMANN, “Frauenlos in Bamum,” in E.M.M., 1916, p. 364 f. In J. VAN SLAGEREN, op. cit. , pp. 106-107.

6 J. VAN SLAGEREN, The Origins of the Evangelical Church in Cameroon : European Missions and Indigenous Christianity, Leiden. E. J. Brill. 1972, pp. 106-107.

7 J. KI-ZERBO, History of Black Africa, Paris, Hatier, 1978, p. 293.

8 C. JUOMPAN-YAKAM, “Cameroon – African Queens : meeting the queens of traditional chiefdoms.” Article published on 31 August 2016 on the website of the magazine www.jeuneafrique.org and consulted on 19 May 2021.

9 “Polygamy (situation in which an individual has several spouses at the same time) (n.d.)”. Published on www.wikipedia.fr and accessed August 07, 2021.

10 E. CHAUMONT, “Polygamy”, in Dictionnaire du Coran, M. A. AMIR-MOEZZI (eds), ed. Robert Laffont, 2007, p. 679. “Polygamy (a situation in which an individual has several spouses at the same time)”. Published on www.wikipedia.fr and accessed August 07, 2021.

11 Distinction made in Circular no. 2008/14 of 25 February 2008 of Caisse nationale d'assurance vieillesse française – Bigamie et polygamie. See E. CHAUMONT, “Polygamy”, in Dictionnaire du Coran, M. A. AMIR-MOEZZI (eds), ed. Robert Laffont, 2007, p. 679. See Polygamy (situation in which an individual has several spouses at the same time) (n.d.). Wikipedia. Published on www.wikipedia.fr and accessed August 07, 2021.

12 BLOG “LEPETITJOURNAL ISTANBUL”, “ONE WOMAN ALLOWED – Deadlock for polygamous owners in Turkey”. Article published on 11 December 2013 on. Article updated on 08 February 2018 on the website https://.lepetitjournalistanbul.fr and consulted on 06 September 2021.

13 Polygamy (situation in which an individual has several spouses at the same time) (n.d.). Wikipedia. Published on www.wikipedia.fr and accessed August 07, 2021.

14 G. BALANDIER, Contemporary Sociology of Black Africa. Social Dynamics in Central Africa, 1955, p. 121. In C. BOUNANG MFOUNGUE, Le mariage africain, entre tradition et modernité. Étude socio-anthropologique du couple et du mariage dans la culture gabonaise, Thèse de Doctorat en Sociologie de l'Université Paul-Valéry – Montpellier III, May 2012, École Doctorale n°60, “Territoires, Temps, Sociétés et Développement”, pp. 134-136.

15 E. BOSERUP, Évolution agraire et pression démographique, Paris, Flammarion, 1970, 218 pages. In C. BOUNANG MFOUNGUE, Le mariage africain, entre tradition et modernité. Socio-anthropological Study of Couple and Marriage in Gabonese Culture, op. cit., pp.134–6.

16 C. MEILLASSOUX, Femmes, greniers et capitaux, Paris, Maspero, 1979, 251 pages. In E. BOSERUP, op. cit., pp. 134-136.

17 A. DIOP BARA, La famille Wolof : tradition et changement, Paris, Karthala, 1985, 262 pages. In E. BOSERUP, op. cit., pp.134–6.

18 S. FAINZANG & O. JOURNET, My husband’s wife. Anthropology of polygamic marriage in Africa and France, Paris, L'Harmattan, 1988, 172 pages. In E. Boserup, op. cit., pp. 134–136.

19 R. MAYER, Histoire de la famille gabonaise, Libreville, Editions du Luto, 2002, 269 pages. In E. BOSERUP, op.cit. , p. 1

20 “Bamouns – people of Central Africa west of Cameroon”. Published on www.wikipedia.fr and accessed September 06, 2021. See J. KERCHACHE, J.-L. PAUDRAT, L. STEPHAN & F. STOULLIG-MARIN, “Cameroon : Bamiléké, Bamum, Tikar”, in L’Art africain, Citadelles & Mazenod, Paris, 2008, (Review and Augmented), p. 534.

21 F. DOUANLA, “Le NOUN : un peuple islamisé,” 7. Article published on https://lireenligne.net and consulted on 23 January 2021.

22 Testimonies on the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

23 Dr. Al AJAMI (Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Arabic Literature and Language, Koranilogist, Theologian, Specialist of Exegesis of the Koran), What does the Koran really say ? Thinking and living one’s Islam in the light of the Koran ». Article published on January 26, 2018 on https://www.alajami.fr and accessed on June 17, 2021.

24 BLOG LARMORCATELL 22, “Polygamy in Islam.” Article published on November 28, 2012 at https://larmorcatell22.fr and accessed on June 17, 2021.

25 C. GOLLIEAU, “What the Koran says : polygamy.” Article published on https://www.LePoint.fr and accessed June 17, 2021.

26 L. P. NGANGA, “Les croyances traditionnels des Tege Alima et le christianisme (1880-1960)”, Université Marien Ngouabi de Brazzaville, Mémoire de Maîtrise, 2013.

27 H. NICOD, Mangweloune. King Njoya’s dancer, pp. 130–131.

28 Ditto.

29 S. D. JOHNSON, The Formation of a Local Church in Cameroon : The Case of Baptist Communities in Cameroon (1841-1949), Paris, Editions KARTHALA, 2012.

30 Ibid, p. 13 sec.

31 BMA, E-C. 28, “Quartalbericht der Missionare 1908,” by missionary STAHL. See also BMA, E-2. 30, no. 53, pp. 6-10. In P. PURTSCHERT, op. cit. , 2000.

32 P. PURTSCHERT, Looking for Traces of Hybridity : Basel Mission Reports and Queen Mother. Philosophical remarks on the interpretation of a political deed. Paper, University of Basel, 2000.

33 Postcolonial studies.

34 Testimonies, Journal founded by Dr. R. VERGÈS, “Tribune libre – Homi K. Bhabha, les postcolonial studies et la notion de l’hybridité.” Article published on 18 June 2011 and accessed on 06 September 2021.

35 H. K. BHABHA, The Location of Culture, London-New York : Routledge, 1994.

36 M. CUILLERAI, « L’irréconcilié : histoire critique aux marges de l’amnestie », In A Political History of Amnesty, Presses Universitaires de France, 2007.

37 Testimonies, Journal founded by Dr. R. VERGÈS ? “Tribune libre – Homi K. Bhabha, les postcolonial studies et la notion de l’hybridité”. Article published on 18 June 2011 and accessed on 06 September 2021.

38 P. A. i SEGARRA, « L’hybridité identitaire dans une littérature émergente : l'écriture du « moi » hybride dans l'œuvre autobiographique des écrivains catalans d'origine maghrébine », Babel (Online), 33/2016. Article published on 01 July 2016 at http://journals.openedition.org/babel/4540 and consulted on 06 September 2021.

39 A. DE TORO, “La pensée hybride, culture des diasporas et culture planétaire. Le Maghreb (Abdelkebir Khatibi – Assia Djébar),” 73. In P. A. I SEGARRA, « L’hybridité identitaire dans une littérature émergente : l'écriture du « moi » hybride dans l'œuvre autobiographique des écrivains catalans d'origine maghrébine », Babel (Online), 33/2016. Article published on 01 July 2016 and accessed on 06 September 2021 at http://journals.openedition.org/babel/4540.

40 P. A. I SEGARRA, “L'hybridité identitaire dans une littérature émergente : l'écriture du « moi » hybride dans l'œuvre autobiographique des écrivains catalans d'origine maghrébine,” 2016, p. 33. Article published on 01 July 2016 at http://journals.openedition.org/babel/4540 and consulted on 06 September 2021.

41 The Christian cross.

42 Cf. T. NSIESIE, “Notes sur les Christs et statues de l’Ancien Congo”, in Brousse, no. 3, 1939. Especially M. MAQUET, Contribution à l'étude des crucifix anciens indigènes du Bas-Congo, in Arts et métiers indigènes dans la province de Léopoldville, n°6, March 1938. In G. BALANDIER, Current sociology of Black Africa. Social dynamics in Central Africa. Quadrige/Presses Universitaires de France, 1955, p. 50.

43 G. BALANDIER, Sociologie actuel de l'Afrique noire. Dynamique sociale en Afrique centrale. Quadrige/Presses Universitaires de France, 1955, p. 50.

44 Cf. T. NSIESIE, op. cit., p. 34. In G. BALANDIER, op. cit., pp. 51-52.

45 Cf. O. DE BOUVEIGNES, Saint Antoine & la pièce de vingt reis, in Brousse, 3-4, 1947, pp. 17-22 with photographs of St. Antoine statues in copper, lead and ivory. In G. BALANDIER, op. cit., pp. 51–52.

46 Cf. A. CAVAZZI, Istorica descrizzione degli tre regni Congo, Angola e Matamba, Bologna, 1687, (French translation De J.-B. LABAT “augmented by several Portuguese relations”), Paris, 1732. In G. BALANDIER, op. cit., pp. 51–52.

47 Don Sébastien.

48 Cf. A. CAVAZZI, op. cit. , p. 113. In 1705, however, a young Congolese woman (Dona Béatrice) identified with Saint Antoine and was at the origin of the first known Congolese syncretism (cf. Relations du Père Laurent DE LUCQUES, 1700-1710). In G. BALANDIER, Current sociology of Black Africa. Social dynamics in Central Africa. Quadrige/Presses Universitaires de France, 1955, pp. 51–52.

49 Photograph taken in 1902 by Walker GOTTLOB available at www.archivfuehrer-kolonialzeit.de and accessed on 06 April 2021. This photograph is also in the Archives of the Basel Mission in Germany.

50 Cf. S. PASSARGE, “Aus siebenzig Jahren. Eine Selbsbiographie,” 1947, p. 197. Article (unpublished) available at the University of Hamburg Library and accessed on June 15, 2021.

51 See next note.

52 The report of the Bonaku Missionary Conference of 1900 unfortunately contains no details on this question. All other issues discussed are reported in detail. We may therefore think that the missionaries did not want to express their personal opinions on this question, a position which was contrary to that of the Committee.

53 The magazine Mulee Ngea reports on the general conference held in Buéa from 28 to 29 March 1936. According to the resolutions, communities could baptize sick polygamists who promised to repudiate their wives and actively participated in the life of the community (cf. Ndongamen'a m'boko mundene Buea 28-29 March 1936, in Mulee Ngea, Grade 8, May 1936, p. 23).

54 BMA, E-2.21, “Annual Report of Johannes DEIBOL,” 1906 (in Duala, no. 107, German translation, no. 106), pp. 328-330.

55 Concerning the rites of separation, first of all, the child is separated from the group of women. Raised so far by his mother, it is often taken from him in the form of a violent abduction. Mothers lament, as if their child had died. It is in fact a symbolic death : the initiated future is supposed to have been swallowed by a monster, who will then disgorge it, or killed by it. The cave where it is led is the monster’s mouth ; the hut where it will be initiated into the bush to the appearance of the mythical monster (New Guinea). This operation also takes the form of a purification : baths, destruction of old clothes, change of name. In the end, the child will be reborn. Among the African Kikuyu, the new birth is marked by the positioning of the child between the legs of his mother to whom he is tied by a sheep’s gut, symbolizing the umbilical cord. To a certain extent, bodily mutilation (circumcision, tearing of certain teeth, scarification, tattooing of tribal signs) are the apparent marks of this uprooting from the world of women to that of men.

56 According to the rites of aggregation, initiation has created a new being, who must be reintegrated into society, but this time with his permanent status as an adult, likely to marry. Exit rituals basically include two sequences of re-learning from everyday life. The initiate is supposed to have forgotten everything, he no longer knows how to walk, talk, laugh. He returns to the curved village, as if he could only move on all fours. He no longer recognizes his parents, his home. So we have to give him the use of what he lost again. But this return to his family, with a higher status, is also a feast for him and for those who welcome him, and this feast is marked by songs, dances, and solemn processions.

57 The side rites involve the learning of a liturgical language, songs, dances, myths of the god or genius who called the neophyte and from which the latter becomes the medium, taboos, food and sexual, as also a manipulation of the body to make it permeable to the incorporation of a god or a genius. This manipulation of the body is done by the ingestion of hallucinogenic drugs (such as that of the "iloga" in the "Bwiti" of Gabon, where the induced hallucinations allow initiates to go up into the world of ancestors and receive a message there), by young people provocateurs of visions (as among the Amerindians of California) by the baths of herbs bringing trances and followed, during these trances, by a bloodbath (as in West Africa).

58 A. SENE, Les structures anthropologiques de l'imaginaire en Afrique Noire traditionnelle ou vers une archétypologie des concepts de pratiques rituelles et de représentations sociales, PhD thesis, Université Pierre Mendès France, UFR Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société, Department of Sociology, Centre de Sociologie des Représentations et des Pratiques Culturelles, GDR Opus CNRS, 2004, pp. 147-148.

59 Ibid., pp. 234-235.

60 Ibid., pp. 136-137.

61 DIOCESE OF VERSAILLES, “At the origin of baptism”. Article published on the website https://www.catholique78.fr and consulted on 02 June 2021.

62 “Baptism – the Christian rite of admission to the various Christian churches in which water is used”. Published on www.wikipedia.fr and accessed June 02, 2021.

63 L.-M. CHAVET & J. DANIELOU, “Le symbolisme du baptism chrétien.” Article published on https://www.universalis.fr and accessed August 10, 2021. From the work of the author LACTANCE, Les institutions divines, Tome II, Les éditions du Cerf, 9 September 1987, 222 pages.

64 L.-M. CHAVET & J. DANIELOU, “Le symbolisme du baptism chrétien.” Article published on https://www.universalis.fr and accessed August 10, 2021. From the work of the author LACTANCE, Les institutions divines, Tome II, Les éditions du Cerf, 9 September 1987, 222 pages.

65 GENESE, I, 20.

66 On the Sacraments.

67 GENESE, II, 10.

68 EZEKIEL, XLVII, 2-11.

69 JOHN VII, 38.

70 JOHN, III, 5.

71 L.-M. CHAVET & J. DANIELOU, “Le symbolisme du baptism chrétien.” Article published on https://www.universalis.fr and accessed August 10, 2021. From the work of the author LACTANCE, Les institutions divines, Tome II, Les éditions du Cerf, 9 September 1987, 222 pages.

72 HISTOIRE D'AFRIQUE, « THE BAPTISM ». Article published on 30 April 2018 on the website https://m.facebook.com and consulted on 20 June 2021.

73 JOURNAL RFI ONLINE, “Palm Oil and Cola Nuts : The Attributes of Yoruba Baptism – Life Here.” Article published on 01 April 2019 at www.rfi.fr and consulted on 20 June 2021.

74 HISTOIRE D'AFRIQUE, « THE BAPTISM ». Article published on 30 April 2018 on the website https://m.facebook.com and consulted on 20 June 2021.

75 M. MONGBET LAMARE, La médecine Bamoun. Étude d'anthropologie, Yaoundé, Editions LAMARO, 1975, pp. 20–21.

76 Ibid., p. 136.

77 Mother of King NJOYA.

78 Ibid., pp. 137-138.

79 Ibid., pp. 134-135.

80 Marriage, dowry, birth.

81 D. E. YAO, “Local African Drinks…Overview”. Published on https://www.afrik.com on January 03, 2017 and accessed September 04, 2021.

82 LA VILLA MAASAI, « Our selection of the 10 best African cocktails and alcohols ». Article published on February 14, 2020 at www.villamaasai.fr and accessed on September 04, 2021.

83 T'adj.

84 C. CAZAUX GRANDPIERRE, “Les alcools africains”. Article published on 28 February 2017 on https://www.chloeandwines.fr and accessed on 04 September 2021.

85 Palm wine - alcoholic beverage. Wikipedia. Article published at www.wikipedia.fr and accessed on 03 March 2021.

86 Raphia vinifera.

87 Borassus aethiopium.

88 Arenga pinnata.

89 Nypa fructicans.

90 Raphia vinifera.

91 Cocos nucifera.

92 “Palm Wine - Alcoholic Beverage.” Article published at www.wikipedia.fr and accessed March 03, 2021.

93 S. PONE, “Society – Daily Life : The Mysteries of Raffia in the Bamileke Tradition”. Article published on www.wikipedia.fr and consulted on 08 September 2021.

94 Of vine or palm.

95 A. HUETZ DE LEMPS, “Le vin de palme en Guinée Conakry.” Article published on https://guineeverdure.mondoblog.org and accessed on 10 March 2021.

96 MONDO BLOG, « MondoChallenge in Guinea, palm wine between tradition and alcoholism ». Published on https://guineeverdure.mondoblog.org and accessed March 03, 2021.

97 DÉCOUVERTE CAMEROUN, “Palm wine”. Article published on http://decouverte.cameroun.free.fr and accessed on 03 March 2021.

98 M. BENAYOUN, “Vin de Palme.” Article published at http://www.196flavors.com/en/nigeria and accessed on 04 March 2021.

99 C. LACOSTE-DUJARDIN, “La Terre des Ancêtres”. Article published on July 7, 2020, updated on March 3, 2021 at https://panodyssey.com/en/article/enand accessed on March 03, 2021.

100 Kanem.

101 Ubolat.

102 Mboos.

103 “Paay”.

104 “Ajug kato”.

105 E. VOLANT, “Manjaku (The Land of) – The Cult of Ancestors” - Encyclopedia on Death. Death and voluntary death across countries and ages ; “The religion and beliefs of the Manjaku people.” Article published on http://agora.qc.ca/thematiques.fr and http://www.kandeer-manjaku.com/pages/croyances.htm. Articles viewed on 03 March 2021.

106 L. V. THOMAS & R. LUNEAU, La terre africaine et ses religions, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2004, p. 104.

107 BENEDICT XVI, “The Romano Observation of Thursday 19.3.2009”, Journey to Cameroon and Angola, p. 12.

108 Ditto.

109 Cf. Genesis 2 :24.

110 J. P. ELELAGHE, From “alienation” to “authenticity” ?... Missionary Problems and Cultural Clashes in Gabon : The Fang Example, PhD Thesis, Catholic Theology, Strasbourg, 1977. Quoted by Abbé BEAUDOIN.

111 L. P. NGANGA, “Les croyances traditionnels des Tege Alima (1880-1960)”, Marien Ngouabi University of Brazzaville – Master’s thesis, 2013.

112 Uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces, grandparents, friends and acquaintances.

113 P. U. OTYE ELOM, « La consommation du vin de palme au Cameroun. Anthropologie d’un prétexte touristique », Anthropology of food (Online), 13/2018. Article publié sur le site https://doi.org/10.4000/aof.8766 le 03 juillet 2018 et consulté le 04 Septembre 2021.

114 M. MONGBET LAMARE, La médecine Bamoun. Étude d’anthropologie, Yaoundé, Editions LAMARO, 1975, pp. 117-121.

115 J.-P. POULAIN (dir.) et Al., Dictionnaire des cultures alimentaires. Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1027-1039, 2012, p. 1341.

116 P. U. OTYE ELOM, « La consommation du vin de palme au Cameroun. Anthropologie d’un prétexte touristique », Anthropology of food (Online), 13/2018. Article publié sur le site : https://doi.org/10.4000/aof.8766; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/aof.8766 le 03 juillet 2018 et consulté le 04 Septembre 2021.

117 A. RICH, « Dictionnaire des antiquités romaines et grecques », 1883, 3ème éd. Article disponible sur le site www.mediterranees.net et consulté le 13 septembre 2020.

118 “Holy water – water that has been blessed by a priest, bishop or deacon for the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism or for the blessing of objects, among other pious customs.” Article published on the website www.wikipedia.fr and consulted on 06 March 2021.

119 THE CROSS AFRICA, “Holy Water : Definition, Uses and Where do We Find Them ?” Article published on the blog and www.africa-lacroix.com and accessed on 04 September 2021.

120 We insist.

121 Ditto.

122 “Holy water – water that has been blessed by a priest, bishop or deacon for the celebration of the sacrament of Baptism or for the blessing of objects, among other pious customs.” Article published on the website www.wikipedia.fr and consulted on 06 March 2021.

123 By the wine palm.

124 « Mogussa maba ».

125 Half of which is rightfully his.

126 This « caisse » is considered as a kind of bank receiving the proceeds of sales, but having the power to lend : in the occasion of expensive purchases, for example. In G. BALANDIER, Sociologie de l'Afrique actuel. Dynamique sociale en Afrique noire. Quadrige/Presses Universitaires de France, p. 351.

127 Mfon.

128 MUSEUM OF SUPERNATURAL HISTORY, “Articles, Stories and Tales,” available at www.logs.surnateum.com and accessed 08 April 2022. CAMERLEX, “FOUMBAN EN BREF,” published at www.camerlex.com on February 05, 2011 and accessed April 08, 2022.

129 P. ETONDE, « Les chefferies traditionnelles entre tradition et modernité : Le Cas du Royaume Bamoun », Mémoire de Maîtrise, 2014-2015, pp. 76-77.

130 Thus spoke C. TARDITS, Les Africains, Tome 9, p. 265.

131 N. L. NGO NLEND, “Christianity in Power Issues in the Bamoun Country, West of Cameroon, Yesterday and Today”, Protestant Institute of Theology, Theological and Religious Studies, 2013/1, Tome 88, pp. 73-87.

132 A. LOUMPET- GALITZINE, Njoya et le royaume bamoun : Les archives de la Société des Missions Évangéliques de Paris, 1917-1937, Paris : Karthala Editions, 2006, pp. 18-19, 610 pages.

133 N. L. NGO NLEND, “Christianity in Power Issues in the Bamoun Country, West of Cameroon, Yesterday and Today”, Protestant Institute of Theology, Theological and Religious Studies, 2013/1, Tome 88, pp. 73-87.

134 In German : Basler Mission or Evangelische Missionsgesellschaft in Basel.

135 The current Ghana.

136 Native Baptist Church. See Wikipedia, “Basel Mission – Missionary Society”, published at www.wikipedia.fr and accessed May 11, 2021.

137 A. LOUMPET- GALITZINE, Njoya et le royaume bamoun : Les archives de la Société des Missions Évangéliques de Paris, 1917-1937, Paris, Karthala Editions, 2006, p. 157, 610 pages.

138 J. NJELE, The beginnings of Christianity and its evolution in Bamoun countries in Cameroon : from the beginning of the 20th century to 1960, PhD thesis at the University of Paris Sorbonne, Paris, 2005, p. 82.

139 Missionary GÖRING, 1907.

140 See the introduction to History and customs of the Bamun, translated by Pastor Henri Martin, page 9. In I. PARE, “Les Allemands à Foumban”, article published on the website www.vestiges-journal.info, 22 pages.

141 A. LOUMPET-GALITZINE, “La cartographie du Roi NJOYA (Royaume Bamoun, Ouest Cameroun)”, CFC, No. 210 – December 2011, p. 187.

142 A. LOUMPET-GALITZINE, Njoya et le royaume bamoun : les archives de la Société des missions évangéliques de Paris (1917-1937), Paris : Karthala Editions, 2006, p. 140, 610 pages.

143 A. SCHMITT, “Die Bamum Schift”, in Evangelischer Heidenbote, LXXXème année, N° 11, Fumban, 1907, p. 84. S&M Bulletin n°3314. See J. NJELE, “Sultan Njoya and Missionary Göring,” I&M Bulletin 33, Images and Memoirs, 15. (Available online at www.imagesetmemoires.com).

144 C. GEARY & A. NDAM NJOYA, Mandou Yenou, Germany : Trickster Veralg, 1985, p. 198.

145 Ditto.

146 J. NJELE, “Sultan NJOYA and the Missionary GÖRING,” I&M Bulletin 33, Images and Memoirs, 14. (Available online at www.imagesetmemoires.com).

147 “Basel Mission – Missionary Society”, published on www.wikipedia.fr and accessed May 11, 2021.

148 N. L. NGO NLEND, “Christianity in Power Issues in the Bamoun Country, West of Cameroon, Yesterday and Today”, Protestant Institute of Theology, Theological and Religious Studies, 2013/1, Tome 88, pp. 73-87.

149 BLOG “REGARDS PROTESTANTS”, “Cameroun – Photos from the past. Foumban circa 1911 - The story of Lydia Mengwelune (1886 – 1966), the king’s dancer.” Published on October 12, 2019 at www.facebook.com and accessed on May 03, 2021.

150 H. NICOD, Mangweloune. King Njoya’s dancer, pp. 161–163.

151 Ditto.

152 Jean-Carrière NJI, born on May 27, 1927, member of the Evangelical Church of the Noun Synodal Region (Bamoun Country), interview of June 9, 2010 with the author, in Foumban.

153 N. NGO NLEND, “Christianity in Power Issues in Bamoun Countries, Western Cameroon, Yesterday and Today”, in Études Théologiques et Religieuses, 2013/1, Tome 88, pp. 73-87.

154 Quoted by C. TARDITS, “Njoya (C. 1875-1933) or the misfortunes of intelligence in a Bamoun sultan”, Les Africains, Tome IX, 1978, p. 286. Quoted by A. P. TEMGOUA, op.cit. , L'Harmattan Cameroun, p. 247.

155 The European…

156 International Symposium King Njoya, KING NJOYA. Creator of civilization and precursor of the African renaissance, L'Harmattan Cameroun, 2014, pp. 5-8.

157 Ibid., pp. 5-8.

158 The GÖRING moved to Foumban on April 10, 1906.

159 H. KOMIDOR NJIMOLUH, Political Functions of the School in Cameroon (1916 – 1976), p. 35.

160 Ibid., pp. 35-36.

161 Colloque international Roi Njoya, LE ROI NJOYA. Creator of civilization and precursor of the African renaissance, L'Harmattan, 2014, pp. 170-171.

162 Ibid., p. 241.

163 A. LOUMPET- GALITZINE, Njoya et le royaume bamoun : les archives de la Société des missions évangéliques de Paris, 1917-1937, Paris, Karthala Editions, 2006, p. 124, 610 pages.

164 Colloque international Roi Njoya, LE ROI NJOYA. Creator of civilization and precursor of the African renaissance, L'Harmattan, 2014, pp. 174-175.

165 C. TARDITS, “Reflections on Sacrifice in the Traditional Religion of the Bamoun (Cameroon)”, Systems of Thought in Black Africa (En Línea), 4/1979. Article published on 04 June 2013 at http://journals.openedition.org/span/435 and accessed 07 September 2021.

166 N. NGO NLEND, “Christianity in Power Issues in Bamoun Countries, Western Cameroon, Yesterday and Today”, in Études Théologiques et Religieuses, 2013/1, Tome 88, pp. 73-87. Indeed, converted to Christianity during the first wave of evangelization, Mosé Yéyap was educated in the school of the mission of which he later became the teacher. A brilliant student, Mosé was noticed by the French administration, which in 1916 made him its interpreter in the constituency of Foumban. Thanks to this prestigious position, Mosé Yéyap was able to rub shoulders with the colonial administrator in an almost intimate way, which made him a charismatic leader in the Bamoun Christian community… The reality and awareness of his emancipation from traditional power is evident in the determination with which he resisted King Njoya’s attempts to circumvent with threats, Christians who remained faithful to the mission despite the departure of the Basel people. In fact, when asked to renounce the Christian faith, Yeyap answered the sovereign bluntly : We can accept everything our king tells us, but to abandon Jesus Christ to become a Muslim, we could not, and what would we say to those to whom we have proclaimed the Gospel when they learn that we first rejected the Gospel ? We cannot abandon Jesus Christ” - (Ibrahim MOUICHE, “Islam, globalisation et crise identitaire dans le royaume bamoun, Cameroun”, Africa, 75 (3), 2005, accessed 1 December 2011 from : telematica.politicas.unam.mx/biblioteca/archives/040105085, p. 388). But in addition to being the opponent of the spiritual demands formulated by the Bamoun king, Mosé Yéyap stands out as the leader of a champagne of hostility led by Christians against the power of king Njoya. Hostility fuelled by a sense of humiliation experienced as a result of physical abuse allegedly inflicted on him on the king’s orders on the grounds of adultery (ibid., p. 395). Yeyap’s defiance was reflected in particular in his support for the creation of administrative chiefdoms in order to reduce the political hegemony of the Bamoun dynasty in the West Cameroon region. Faced with this attitude, seen as a compromise of evil with colonial authority, many of his Christian co-religionists suspected him of harboring unspoken political ambitions behind his opposition to Njoya. In response, they chose to support the power of Njoya’s legitimate successor, Sultan Njimoluh Seidou, against the actions of the administrative leaders who favoured Yeyap… The political character of the opposition led by Mosé Yéyap towards the Bamoun dynasty is moreover confirmed by the spectacular reversal observed in the attitude he displayed, the day after the deposition of Njoya, towards the chiefdoms created by colonization. While he had openly expressed his assent to the establishment of these administrative chiefdoms, Mosé Yéyap quickly turned into a protest against their practices on the grounds that, “not being constrained by any traditional superior power and manipulated by the administration to collect the tax and provide it with workers, (the leaders) introduced an equally totalitarian regime” (ibid.). Slageren also states that “it was Yeyap then, along with other advanced Christians, who supported the power of the new sultan, Seidou, son of Njoya” (Jaap Van SLAGEREN, op. cit., p. 162). It was in this same spirit that Pastor Josué Muishe was to show his commitment to traditional authority by openly supporting this same sultan’s candidacy for the elections of the Constituent Assembly of Cameroon in March 1946.

54 of 54 pages

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Title
Adaptation of the German Colonial Administration to Traditional Bamoun Governance
Author
Year
2022
Pages
54
Catalog Number
V1280382
ISBN (Book)
9783346737748
Language
English
Keywords
adaptation, german, colonial, administration, traditional, bamoun, governance
Quote paper
Patricia Etonde (Author), 2022, Adaptation of the German Colonial Administration to Traditional Bamoun Governance, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1280382

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