Cameroon: Nso: Titles in the Paramount Fondom of Nso (part 4) Yah

If you missed part one to three on Nso Titles, do not worry, you can still read part 1 here; part 2 here; and part 3 here;

II-3. YAH

There are many categories of Yahs, almost all of whom derived directly from the palace in earlier years. Of late, beginning with Ngah Bifon I (1910-1947) Yahships have been awarded to certain important lineages without regard to direct derivation from the royal lineage.

Yah Yefons

The highest-ranking Yah is Yah Yefon (Fengay or Queen Mother). She is the third ranking personality in the land (after Shufai Ndzendzev and Shufai Taankum) by status, administrative and religious function.

Upon assuming the throne the Fon appoints a Yah Yefon from among his female  children or  his sisters if his birth mother is no longer alive. Yah Yefon is treated like a Fon in all aspects except in special greeting (“bun”). She represents Yee Nso (Ngon Nso), the founder of the Nso dynasty.

The present Yah Yefons that are still alive today are; (At the time this article was written)

Yah Yefon Sehm Mbinglo I

Yah Yefon Ngah Bifon III

Yah Yefon Ngah Bifon II (Yah Adela Nsaidzeka Meyeh)

Yah Yefon Sehm III (Yah Rose Wirnkar)

Yah Yefon Ngah Bifon I (Yah wo Faa)

Yah Yefon Mapri (Yah wo Nso La)

The next Yah in rank is the Yah Yeewong  (mother of Nso). She is the second representative of  Yee Nso (Ngon Nso), the founder of the Nso dynasty.

When Ngon Nso died around 1421, her son Leh who assumed the throne created the title of Yeewong and Yefon to be combinable and held by a single individual. The two titles were later on separated with Yefon holding the higher title (very silently) and Yah Yeewong the next (very publicly) with  a rank equal to Fai Taawong who is also appointed by the new Fon at the same time as Yeewong.

 A few Yah Yewongs that are still alive today are:

Yah Yeewong Sehm Mbinglo I (Yewong wo Ntoh Nso)

Yah Yeewong Ngah Bifon III

Yah Yeewong Ngah Bifon II

Yah Yeewong Ngah Bifon I (Yeewong wo Kim Kikaikom)

Yah Yeewong Sehm II (Yeewong wo Jem)

Most Yahs of status in Nso today are descendants (inherited) of former Yah Yefons and Yah Yeewongs.

A few notable examples of these reigning Yahs are:

Yah wo Kai Jakiri (Successor of Yeewong wo Nturkui)

Yah wo Abakwa Jakiri (Successor of Yeewong wo Kih Kiyan)

Yah wo Mile 3 Bamenda (Successor of Yeewong wo Roo-Kong)

The next rank of  Yahs is based within the palace household, Yah Nkonin and Yah Yeela (leaders of the Fon’s senior wives – Kfem se Fon). They act as managers of the Fon’s household. These two Yahs must be of Mtaar origin. They also organize the Fon’s farm work in collaboration with the Yeesums.

Every Shufaiship of high standing and with historical underpinnings can also have a Yah. A famous Yah in this category is Yah wo Taankum. It is still unclear why some of the big Shufaiships are allowed to create secondary Yahships but the lineages themselves do not have a Yah of the main lineage compound.

The last category of Yahs are those that are crowned by the Fon in collaboration with the Shufais or Fais. The process of naming and enthroning a Yah is very involved. The Fon cannot name a Yah without approval from the Yah’s lineage or extended family. The Yah needs to do the very public “kibunfon” and a grand “kitar yiy” for the family and the public at large to recognize her as a Yah of standing. Recent examples include the “kibunfon” carried out by Yah wo Shusum (Sov), and Yah wo Mbassy in Nso Palace.

Researched Shey Stephen Shemlon (PHD)

Complied and edited by Shey Tatah Sevidzem

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Cameroon: Nso: Titles in the Paramount Fondom of Nso (part 3) Fai

If you missed part one on Nso Titles, do not worry, you can still read part 1 here; and part 2 here;

II-2. FAI

The highest rank of Fai is the Atarntoh (all Nchelav), with the “Atarntoh ve Samba”, leading this group. These are family heads of some of the most influential lineages in Nso. In Fact some of them actually submitted themselves to Nso as Fons between 1450 and 1800, but it is unknown why they were made Nwerong leaders instead of Duy or Mtaar Vibai.

Unlike the Vibai who are councilors of the court, the primary role of the Atarntoh is that of Palace stewards, priests and guardians of the royal household. Atarntoh also sometimes act as advisers to the Fon.

In addition, the Atarntoh are members of the “Shishwaa” society whose principal duty is to keep Nso land free of famine. “Shishwaa” members are also responsible for protecting Nso institutions from any destruction and also act as the Fon’s peace envoys.

Here in order of seniority are the “Atarntoh ve Samba

1. Fai Maamo (Nchelav)

2. Fai Faanjang (Nchelav)

3. Fai Mbingiy (Nchelav/Mtaar)

4. Fai Kuyntoh Nchelav (Nchelav)

5. Fai Kuynseh (Nchelav)

6. Fai Tsenkay (Nchelav)

7. Fai Nseeni (Nchelav)

All “Atarntoh ve samba” are only lower in rank to the ten (10) ” Vibai ve tiy se taakibu”.

The next category of Fais is the “Won jemer se Fon” (the Fon’s sisters’ sons). Since most of these are Mtaar (aboriginal Nso), they have a separate quarter called TaaMban (next to Nwerong’s compound). Their principal duty is to carry out inquisitions, expiatory sacrifices and cleansing rituals.

Here in order of seniority are the Fai “Won jemer ve samba

1. Fai Nsame (Mtaar)

2. Fai Mbivtinmbang (Mtaar)

3. Fai Kii Mbala Nseeni (Mtaar)

4. Fai Jem Njavnyuy (Mtaar)

5. Fai Menjey Tooy (Mtaar)

6. Fai Jem Kinga (Mtaar)

7. Fai Kii Kiyan (Mtaar)

All “Won jemer se Fon” are higher in rank to ” Vibai ve duy ve kpu”.

The last category of Fais are lineage or sub-lineage heads. There are scores of Fais (too many to be listed) in this category and are drawn from all the segments of Nso society the commoners (Nchelav), the aboriginals (Mtaar) and the extended royal family (Duy). All Fais in this category are lower in rank to all Vibais, the Atarntohs and “Won jemer”

The process of en-stooling is elaborate, grande and very public, whether the Fai assumes the stool by inheritance, extension (“kisheer”), elevation (from Shey) or appointment by the Fon (fhum or buh).

Shey Stephen Shemlon (PHD)

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Cameroon: Anglophone Education: Deplorable situation in Universities and Secondary schools

The Regime through the Ministry of Secondary Education is trying so hard to graduate and promote students with little or no knowledge of education. This situation has been termed by many “deplorable”.

Our informant had a tour in both the Buea and Bamenda campuses who quickly concluded that  the number of military men deplored on these academic institutions surpasses that of the students. In UBa he found out that students lace around without attending  classes but for few French students who could be considered attending some lectures. Those he called lacing the campus only mark their names and disappear.

The situation is similar in Buea as our reporter spoke to some students who expressed regrets and dissatisfaction. He spoke to some students and the first was a female who stated that she did not want to write any exams because she has not been studying but that his Dad insisting she wrote. She went further to say, “I don’t know a thing, i have forgotten everything even my matriculation number”, Rose Mary said. Another student contributed; “I don’t feel like preparing for it.I don’t have notes, I will just go write my name and leave the hall. I didn’t write any CAs”, Pamela added.

When asked on the preparedness of other students and  attendance in the campus, Rose Mary said, “The exams are just a waste of time, students don’t know what they  are writing,it’s like a joke,no one is taking it serious”. She went ahead to refer the situation of attendance as “pathetic”, stating that “Many students are in Molyko but no one is daring to go school”.

The informant proceeded to ask why the Vice Chancellor Nalova Lyonga will express satisfaction with attendance yet she called it pathetic and deplorable. “The worst is that students writing don’t know what they doing, everyone is complaining, they just mark their names and leave the halls, even lecturers are advising students not to write because it is like offering them worthless results”, Pamela added.

Rose Mary went ahead to say she watched on TV that there was a march against ghost and when the correspondent confirmed the images on CRTV, Rose Mary smiled and commented in a light manner; “Don’t tell me u still following crtv…I saw in the news two weeks ago that there was a peaceful walk here against ghost town but after that the ghost town is effective”

“The vice chancellor is doing everything possible to bring back students, now she’s begging us who have not been attending classes to come write exams  I don’t have my time table yet. but i know that i am writing a paper tomorrow”.

Earlier this afternoon, our informant spoke to another student on the experience at the campus today and he said; “It was not an easy experience, today was my first paper, the security was tight and i felt tense. While in class Professional photographers come in from all directions taking pictures as we write…I just wonder what took me to school and i can assure you it was my last time with such an experience.” Jonas said. He went ahead to state if not of the military men, the campus was as a deserted as a ghost.

When one paints a picture of what these students narrate and represent, one questions the type of results students expect. How can the Vice Chancellor force students to take a first semester exam at the end of the year? Of what worth shall the results reflect without knowledge?

The case is same of the Minister’s tour to insist that public exams like the GCE should take place when schools have been closed for close to 7 months. CRTV reports that 54,000 students are to partake in public exams alone from the NWR starting from the 15th of May. No private school has been opened for 7 Months and the few Government schools that were opened did not have classes, yet the GCE board insists on organizing exams for the 2017 year. How do they come up with such statistics? Ghost students?

Are these moves aimed at proving a point or fighting not to lose a school year? What will it benefit an exam without students that can stand to defend their certificates? A Blank school year would be better than a worthless certificate.

There is therefore no doubt that the situation is deplorable from the experience expressed by the students, from the fact that even the Archbishop of Douala on his Mission admitted that schools have been grounded, and most especially that students shall be writing in a militarized mode. This, and more is unheard of in any modern society. The regime should swallow its pride, admit its weaknesses to handle the situation, and seek for fresh dialogue and solution, which is granting the demands of the Anglophones that are legitimate.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

 

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Bamenda: Positive outcome of Archbishop Kleda’s trip to SWR & NWR

Positive Outcome of Bishop Kleda’s Tour:
Archbishop Kleda’s trip might be a positive one:
For him to have admit that the radio and Tv has been spreading lies, and that he found the truth himself is enough reason for him to have made that trip. It might help him when writing the next letter.
The question is? How come, of all the & dioceses, Kumbo Diocese was left out, What did the people of Kumbo do this time around:
The Intervention of Mgr Lafon patrick and Hon. Jua were timely and fearless.
Another opportunity for the regime to start a fresh dialogue.
This and more on this article. Read, share and comment
http://sheytatah.dk/bamenda-positive-outcome-of-archbishop-kledas-trip-to-swr-nwr/

A lot of ink has been spit on the on-going tour made by the National Episcopal Council of Cameroon (NECC) president  Archbishop Kleda Samuel of the Douala archdiocese. The trip was a follow up to the letter he signed on behalf of the bishops to convince catholic bishops and other institutions get schools to resume in those regions and call off the strike. The meeting ended today with the Archbishop visiting 4 Dioceses out of 5 with Kumbo being the only one left out. Reason for this is still unknown.

The first visit in Buea on the 2nd on May as reported by Fr Niba Herbert couldn’t start until the arrival of the Governor who came with heads of all services (police, brigade, gendarme, procurer general, Mayor, GCE board registrar, & 3 of the people who took the Bishops to court. “Over 25 man entourage and the Governor finally became MC of the meeting, (appointing who to talk, ordering the drafting & signing of a communique.” He said.

At the end of the meeting it was reported that ” The Bishop of Buea Mgr Bushu Immanuel  was resolute about maintaining the status quo until a frank dialogue with the state was initiated and that The Bishop went further to say he and others had done their best by keeping their schools open but that the solution could be sought in the hands of Southern Cameroons Parents”

The case of Kumba and Mamfe needless to belabored as the Archbishop met with the same results and resistance as the parents did not only get angry in Kumba , Mamfe Bishop Called for calm and challenged the Mayor to be the first to bring his kids to schools as the Catholics schools never were closed.

Meanwhile that of Bamenda was the peak of the tour as Archbishop Kleda came face to face with reality not only in words but in the field as he convinced himself that not only Catholic schools did not resume but the Government schools as well.

Although nothing was mentioned about the reactions from the Archbishop of Bamenda yet, the main headlines and echoes were those of MGR Patrick Lafon of Nso Origin. He is the former Secretary General of the Bishop’s Conference of Cameroon, Mgr. Patrick Lafon, and present Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Catholic University of Cameroon, CATUC, Bamenda, He vehemently vomited out that the Bishops should be honest and state clearly what they need which is Federation and that asking for Federation was not a Taboo in Cameroon.

Then came the powerful intervention from Hon Jua Paulinus; ” We know the problems but because of greed we don’t want to accept.The Francophones don’t love their children as much as we love ours.If there is no genuine dialogue I can assure u your Grace that you will not have any solution. You are not more Cameroonian than us. If you care you bring all the armies from Yaounde here to Bamenda we will not send our children to school.”

The PTA president of St Paul’s college Nkwen thrilled the crowd as well as an orator, as he hammered on the aspect of fear they experience. He quoted that since he completed primary school in the early 60s up till date, he has never seen a situation where military has to be deplored for people to study. He said this is another reason many children do not want to go to school, as such, all military people should return to the barracks. His speech lasted 2min 25secs but was rich in substance.

It was only at this point that Archbishop and his delegation saw the whole picture painted in their brains. It is reported that “they were shocked that as opposed to what is read over radio and shown on TV, even the government schools in NW and SW  still remain closed.Hammering that lies telling should not be part of the media”

The worries are…Shall the delegation continue to an unannounced trip to Kumbo? Have they had enough information that going to Kumbo might be of less importance? Did someone advise them not to come to Kumbo? What did they say about the Kumbo people? The mystery behind this “forgotten” diocese in the Bishop’s tour shall soon be unveiled.

It is hoped that the facts gathered by the NECC President shall open was to fresh dialogue and that the Regime shall know the truth and accept the situation while seeking a lasting solution.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

 

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Reactions to Bishops letter (Very Mixed feelings from West Cameroonians)

The Bishops letter dated 29th April on the current Anglophone crisis has sparked mixed feelings as many believe they still do not understand the problem but playing the moral part on the crisis without understanding the situation. The Bishops are bent on promoting Decentralization and social Dialogue yet ignoring the release of those arrested and demilitarization of the regions yet calling for schools to resume. Many have read this letter and have the following to say:

The Bishops of Cameroon have spoken well, like the respected men of God that they are. They have provided a succinct diagnosis of the problem and rightly noted that it has evolved from a trade union issue to a political, administrative to constitutional issue. We all know that this escalation of the problem is due to the bad faith, excessive violence, murder, mayhem, and disdain of the government. The bishops offer a way out of the crisis that I think is reasonable: a dialogue that concerns the institutional form of the state, and reinforces the separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary, and the legislative. Biya needs to get that off the ground, They also want the state to “decide the destiny of the detainees according to appropriate judicial procedure.”

With all due respect to the men of God, I think they fail to understand the nature of the Biya regime. Biya is has only one way of communication and governance–rule by decree. In 35 years in power, he has not demonstrated a culture of dialogue or compromise. He engages only in monologues. The word dialogue does not exist in Biya’s vocabulary. How can the bishops expect Anglophone civilian political detainees who are charged with death penalty offenses to receive justice in a military tribunal? I fear that the bishops of Cameroon did not read the message the Holy Father, Pope Francis gave to President Biya when he visited the vatican last month. The Pope clearly told Biya to “respect human and minority rights” of Cameroonians! That is a clear reference to the atrocities perpetrated in the Northwest and Southwest regions. http://www.news.va/…/pope-francis-receives-president-of… The Bishops want dialogue between the parties. That is a good thing. There is just one small problem. Who is going to dialogue with the government when the Anglophone leaders are in jail? The Bishops need to tell Paul Biya one Latin phrase: habeas corpus! Release all the Anglophone political detainees. They have to remind him what the Pope told him, namely, that he has to respect human and minority rights in Cameroon. Left to itself, the Anglophone problem is slowly spinning out of control before our very eyes. The bishops of Cameroon mean well, but their message may be too little, too late to move Paul Biya. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Lyombe Eko Prof. at Texas Tech University but hails from Buea.

Aboh Anjah Martin questions if the Bishops have the legitimate write to call off the strike;

“Did this bishops organize any strike in Cameroon if no then why is it that they are those trying to call off the strike?”

Mark Bara laments on the letter stating that; “You must have read a certain Communique coming from the Bishops Episcopal conference signed by Bishop Samuel Kleda. They are calling for resumption of schools, end of ghost towns etc. In fact, the wordings of the Bishops sounded exactly like the CPDM government prepared text delivered to them in a holy masked because it failed the test woefully. In fact, we can grade it -5/20…I am by this short notice calling on Southern Cameroonians to reject the Bishops of Cameroon latest communique signed by Bishop Samuel Kleda. That Communique which fails to even call for the release of our people, it does not meet the aspirations of the Southern Cameroons people…The communique from Yaounde signed by Bishop Samuel Kleda is another form of tyranny and slavery. Enough.”

Ndzi Kibuh hammers that “Bishop kheda and his Episcopal council hate the TRUTH, the Bible says know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.

It is worrisome that Bishops with all respect will involve themselves in such dirty political game masterminded by the Biya regime. God is supreme no matter what.” Marie Sengue

“Bishops who do not realize the arrest of innocent citizens, Bishops who do not demand for fair treatment of all are culprits in disguise…” Lestrong WCam

“This is worth nothing… See who is talking about decentralization here? We don pass that stage…. Finally the francophone bishops are simply doing something else. They need to understand what SC needs” Don Papi

I expected u start by urging Biya to release those who can dialogue nonsense.if you want to use God’s name be honest and call a spade a spade” Gillian Lemma

Total nonsense.see Bishops playing politics. at what time are they calling parents to send their children to school.to go study what? At what time?Has the school year not ended or they are talking of next year?they are threatened by the case against them?sorry they are out of topic” Enesto Akanga

Rubbish!!! The bishop that value country stability and financial motivation as school subsidies need to be recalled by God because he has missed the line of his calling already. No single francophone support the freedom of anglophones even their clergy!!! If you are my church leader, you must act in line with Christian norms or we disown you. That we have already done for any one who still wish to enter into covenant with injustice!!!” Grace Siefrank

Its a pity for Cameroon. Bishops are too carried away from the path of the people. What humanity do they want to protect with that crap. Shame to those Bishops”  Illoh Ikenge

Since the crises sparked off 6 months ago, I have been to Church on many occasions and have listen to Mass Intention with captions like:
– For Peace to reign in our beloved country Cameroon
– Asking God to grant peace in Cameroon etc….
Bidding prayers or Prayers of the faithful have also taken same suit and coining. I have NOT heard any Prayer in church supplicating for retributive and equitable Justice. Does this pretext challenges Pope Pius X’s (he himself a Conservative Roman Catholic) assertion that “where there injustice there is no hope of peace because peace is the work of justice”? Cameroon’s painful troubles are embedded in the number of gross unjust and hidden agendas inflicted on Southern Cameroonians for 55 years. Let us do Justice then peace will reign!
” Tangka Eric

Mbilam Samson Jumbam thinks that the letter does not reflect that written by the Bishops of Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province reiterating that; “The current Letter proves nothing but complacency of Francophone Bishops. How long have they taken to react to the Anglophone crises? The message is teleguided. After all, petrol bonds will flow

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

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