ARTS AND CULTURES

FUNDOMS

If you love ethnics, in Cameroon there are more than 200 ethnic groups all over the country. There are Kings and Sultans who share the governance of their small territories with the official cameroonian authorities. These are archaic social structures that have not yet disappeared. They are mostly polygamous, animist and farmers.

THE KUM FUNDOM

 

A Brief History of the Kom Fondom

The Kom people also belong to the Tikari ethnic group having originated from the Tikari Ancestry around the river Noun in the Adamawa province of Cameroon. These people came out in a family of three which included the Kom, Nso and Bamum.The three families which are today separated, had one dialect/vernacular, one feeling and a common ambition.

While together, they decided to build a pyramid that could even reach the heavens-like the biblical story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9. The first one was put up but was shattered. The second attempt again shattered and the third attempt was subjected to the same fate. It then occurred to them as it did happen to the apostles on the descent of the holy spirit on them, the three families began to miraculously speak in different tongues. Hence “nambo” in Kom, ”njimba” in Nso and “momekah” in Bamum all meaning “I am saying that”.The miraculous speaking in completely different tongues compelled them to quit the region as none of them could neither hear nor understand each other’s language.

On leaving the area, they all took the same direction and had to sojourn at a place called Ndobo around Foumban. While here, they separated amicably. The Bamoums continued to their present site, the Nsos also migrated to their present site called Kimbo and the Kom people remained in Ndobo for some time.

While in Ndobo, the Kom people were being led by someone named Mini. The latter also came out with his sister called Nandong. She was nursing a baby girl called Bi. After a short stay in Ndobo, Mini and his people continued their migration to a yet unknown destination. From Ndobo, they stopped in Bamessi today known as Babessi-a small village along the Ndop plain in Ngoketunjia Division.

The Koms were accorded a befitting welcome by the Babessi traditional leader and provided them a piece of land on which to get settled .After sometime of cohabitation with the Babessi, the Babessi traditional leader noticed with dismay how the Kom people were becoming stronger, more popular and more prosperous than his subjects were. He jealously decided to device an appropriate means of eliminating the Kom strong men whom he saw as a source of potential threat to his throne. He therefore met the Kom leader Mini and cunningly suggested to him that both the Kom and Babessi strongmen be eliminated to avoid an eventual coup d’etat from these fellows. He further continued by proposing that two big halls be put up and all these strong men from both the Kom and Babessi families be selected, sent into the halls and have them burnt. Mini naively adhered to this treacherous suggestion. The two separate halls were accordingly put up and all the strong men from the two families were selected and sent in leaving behind only children and the women.

The Babessi leader, conscious of what he was about to do, had constructed the hall meant for the Babessi strong men with a secret outlet leading into the bushes. His people then entered through the front door and passed out of the hall through the back door.

In the meantime, the Kom leader wasn’t the least aware of the trick played on him by the Babessi leader in a bid to jealously eliminate his people .The two houses were set on fire as planned and all the Kom people were roasted like yams while all the Babessi notable supposed to have been burnt too were saved.

After the tragic massacre of the Kom strong men and intellectuals, their leader Mini paid a visit to his Babessi counterpart. While playing his harp, he was alarmed to see the supposedly burnt Babessi notables moving around freely but none of his Kom notables could be sighted. It then dawn on him that the Babessi leader had tricked him. In a sudden fit of anger, he stamped the harp on his trickster’s forehead, the chief of Babessi and left immediately for his house.

On arrival at his house, he revealed the story to his sister Nandong and informed her that he was going to commit suicide. When the sister on hearing this, began to weep, he told her that if he didn’t commit suicide it was going to be impossible for him to avenge the Babessi treacherous act over his subjects .He then cautioned his sister and the few remaining family members that when he commits suicide, he should be left hanging, that when his body decays, the water and flesh from his body will form a small lake on the spot and the maggots will develop from the decomposed corpse and will turn into fish in this lake. He charged them to keep the secret information perfectly secret. He further advised them never to join any Babessi group for an eventual catch when this lake and the fish would have been discovered. Finally, he advised his sister Nandong to constantly be on the watch out around the area of the suicide, that the day she sees a track of the python, she should gather the Kom family and follow and that they should have themselves settled whenever and wherever the track disappears. On the reappearance of the track, they should continue the journey. This movement should be continued until the track reaches its final resting place. He told them that they should be very conscious of the fact that he is the one leading them. He informed his people that with the catch from the lake, the Babessi will ever remain as a minority as compared to the Kom population.

After having committed the suicide, Mini’s information to his people actually came to pass .The lake was soon discovered by a Babessi hunter at the heart of the dry season. News of this wonderful discovery went round like wild fire in the hamattan. The Babessi people went out in their numbers for the catch. According to traditional norms, the royal catch had to be carried out first and thereafter ,all the Babessi family then went in for their individual catch. As soon as they were all in the lake, they got covered up. In fact, they perished like the Egyptians in the Red Sea after all the Israelites have crossed over confer Exodus 14:23-28.In this way, the Babessi people had their revenge from the Kom leader Mini.

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