Category Archives: Projects

Shey Tatah visits refugees from Southern Cameroons in Nkiri 1&2 Taraba state Nigeria

Scandy media keeps reaching out to our refugees in Nigeria, thanks to the support from its followers, network and sympathizers:

https://youtu.be/PMBfM-8M3Ok
Southern Cameroons has more than 100,000 Refugees in Nigeria, registered and not . The UN and other Organizations have been to some parts and states, yet the case of Taraba state remains still very wanting due to the distance and bad roads as well and the lack of volunteers to get to the borders and fish out some those dying in forests and bushes daily. Shey Tatah Sevidzem of Scandy Media Platform has been to some of these abandoned places with the support and assistance of his followers and network to create more awareness.

We went to one of the most dreaded places Nkiri 1& 2, inacessible with strong hired bikes thanks to support from Caroline M Ayuk, Nkeu Ndum Angafor Wo UK, we also had support from NFU-Bongbati of Denmark, Scandy media followers and fans : a message from Ambazonia front line leaders and IG : These are women in a valley hard to access known as Nkiri 1&2: The distribution took place after training on how the women can take care of themselves: About 95% of these women are from Lus,an outskirt of Nkambe in Donga Mantung County. We are grateful to all who contributed to this event : We intend visiting them again, getting kids to school and please do not hesitate to chip in something to reach out to those we could not: Shey Tatah from Scandy Media platform

NFU-Bongbati DK reached out to Southern Cameroons Refugees in Nigeria

Gembu- Sardauna LGA Taraba State Nigeria : More than 250 South Cameroonian women refugees assisted in the North of Nigeria by Nso Family Union NFU- Bongbati Denmark

On 24-26 May 2019, NSO Family Union (NFU) Bongbati, diaspora organisation member of ADEPT based in Denmark, provided first hand reusable kits to 250+ refugee women from Southern Cameroons settled in Gembu -Sarduana LGA Taraba state in Nigeria. Implemented in partnership with the ‘Days of Girls’ Nigeria organisation and the ‘Scandy Media’ platform, the action aimed at both, providing refugee women with sanitary pads and reusable kits while training them on how to take care of themselves. Partners used this opportunity to train the Scandy media local team on providing humanitarian response, thus enabling them to extend the action and help more refugees in need in other communities and villages.

More than 100.000 refugees headed to the neighboring Nigeria in search of protection, shelter and security, trying to flee armed conflict and political crisis in Cameroun. Some of them lost their lives in this difficult journey because of hunger, lack of shelter and poor health. Women and children are the most affected by the situation and need special care. The Southern Cameroonian refugees are mainly settled in Taraba state, one of the most remote and insecure regions of the North Nigeria. It is also one of the less assisted and difficult to access locations where Southern Cameroonian refugees suffer from hunger, poor living conditions and lack of access to health services. NFU Bongbati will continue providing humanitarian response to refugee women and call all the diaspora development associations and humanitarian organisations to join the action.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

http://www.adept-platform.org/2019/06/05/more-than-250-south-cameroonian-women-refugee-assisted-in-the-north-nigeria/

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Titles and Cult Membership in Nso (Final :Part 10)

If you missed part 1 to 3 you can get them part 1 here , part 2 here, part 3 here , part 4 here , part 5 here , part 6 here , part 7 here , part 8 here and part 9 here: This part ends with the references/bibliography of the whole paper.

VI-4. MANDATORY CULT MEMBERSHIP TRAINING
In the days of old it took many years for a newly inducted member to learn the rules and regulations of the cult. The training on the handling of the cult medicines and fetishes took decades. It took serious training to rise from one rank to the next within the cult house. It took decades before one could become a “samba wir”. This training and tutelage should be re-instated in all cults. If a cult member is unwilling to go through the training they should not be allowed to rise in rank or come out as an escort for the cult masquerade (their financial wherewithal not withstanding). How can such a member who has not learned to manipulate the cult’s occultist spirits and medicines, stroke the totem in the cult masquerade in any public arena?
If the new members were to go through the mandatory training they may also come to realize that if they advance to certain ranks in some cults their diet may be restricted at certain times during some rituals. For examples some cults may restrict their members to weeks of only eating “vikuou, mbaar, shinyaa and ntee – cocoyams, cocoyam leaf soup, eggplant soup and groundnut soup”, no meat products or any starchy foods. Any member who is ready to endure this for the rest of their lives may then want to advance to the ranks of “samba wir”.
When some of these potential senior cult members learn through their training that if they rise to given ranks or assume certain totem stroking functions in either the Yeŋwéròŋ or Yeŋgírì cults for example, they may be forbidden from being buried in a coffin (even a bamboo one) because their spirits could no longer be allowed to be imprisoned (in a coffin), they will consult their families and their other gods before seeking senior ranks in either Yeŋwéròŋ or Yeŋgírì cults.
What is happening today is tantamount to someone coming to a University, registering for classes, paying all their tuition and fees, and refusing to attend classes, but insisting that they should be given the Masters Degree or PhD anyway because they just do not have the time to study and/or attend classes and that by-the-way they have already paid all their tuition. Any University worthy of their name will throw such a person out.
The University model should be adopted at the level of the cults. Anyone who is unwilling to go throw the mandatory training should be thrown out of the cult. This will make sure that new comers will take the time to learn to become worthy members as was the case in the old days. With such a requirement, if the Fòn proposes a title to a visitor who is unwilling or unable to spend the time to learn the roots of Nso’ culture, that visitor can refuse the title and the Fòn will be sympathetic to their decision.
VI-5. MANDATORY CULT MEMBERSHIP OBLIGATIONS FOR LIFE
In the old days cult membership and titles came with lifetime obligations. In 1970 a Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋwéròŋ or Sheèy wo Ngang Ŋgírì contributed an average of 200 FCFA (Two Hundred Francs CFA) on a monthly basis for the upkeep of the cults and other Palace institutions when all their donations throughout the year were averaged. If this amount is compounded as above, it comes to about 2,150 FCFA (Two Thousands One Hundred and Fifty Francs CFA) today. If the system required a Sheèy to contribute 2,000FCFA, every Faáy to contribute 3,000FCFA and every Shúufaáy to contribute 5,000FCFA on a monthly basis, enough would be generated for the upkeep of all cults, all Palace institutions and all lineage, clan and sub-clan compounds.
Again all heriditary Title Holders who need the help would be assisted by their families to meet this obligation, especially given that their compound would also be helped by this contribution.
Many would think deeply when a Titled cult membership is proposed to them and examine whether they can meet this monthly lifetime obligation before accepting. Those who can not keep this obligation will not accept the Titled cult membership.
We also posit that if current Title Holders were given the choice of keeping their titles and meeting up to the monthly obligations or giving up the titles, some will give up their Titles and allow themselves to be “washed” voluntarily. Those who choose to keep the titles and refuse to keep up with the monthly obligtions should be involuntarily “washed”.
VI-6. CREATION OF AN EX-OFFICIO PALACE ADVISORY BOARD
We have proposed the re-introduction of various streams of income that used to get to the Palace in cash and in kind from various Men of Title. To manage these funds we propose the creation of an Ex-Officio Palace Advisory Board whose only role shall be financial oversight and related financial management. This Board will be responsible for setting up a Palace Office with a salaried Manager, Assistants and Secretaries to manage the streams of income enumerated herein and insure that they are disbursed and used efficiently.
The second role of the Advisory Board shall be to work with the Fòn, Vibay, Atárnto’, Ŋwéròŋ and Ŋgírì, to set up permanent income generating streams to make sure that for the next 500 years, the Nso’ Palace institutions are as autonomous as those of successful Kingdoms like those of the United Kingdom and other European Kingdoms.
Such an Advisory Board should be elected from among current and committed Titled cult members (ladies included) and should be given a mandate to complete their task within a specified period of time.

VII. CONCLUSION
It is our hope that this detailed analysis has provided a good insight into the inner working of the Nso’ Paramount Kingdom Palace and its institutions, the most important of which are male-dominated cults.
Hopefully our suggestions for the future will be followed so Nso’ culture can be modernized responsibly in a way that will ensure its survival for the next 500 years.
As time marches on, Nso’ culture will evolve. We pray that the Nso’ people should remain conservative and glued to their traditional norms as they advance and modernize their culture to suit the evolving times as their forefathers did for 600 years under circumstances that were more trying and more turbulent than the present.

VIII. REFERENCES

VIII-1. “An introduction to Nso’ Culture”, Vol. I, by Faáy Woo Lii Wong (Joseph Lafon), 2001 VIII-2.”Introduction to Nso’ History”, by William Banboye, 2001
VIII-3. “The Ndzәәndzәv Dispute: From its beginning to its ending”, by Faáy Woo Lii Wong (Joseph Lafon), 1999
VIII-4. “Nso’ Historical Timeline: An Illustrated and Annotated History of the Paramount Tikar Kingdom (Fòndom) of Bui in Northwestern Cameroons”, by Sheèy Shiyghan Stephen Shemlon, PhD, (to be published).
VIII-5. “The Core Culture of Nso’”, by Paul N. Mzeka, 1980.
VIII-6. “Sov! Sov! Our Glorious Heritage”, by Rev. Fondzefee Charles Tangwa, 2008.
VIII-7. “Dr. Bernard Nsokika Fonlon: An Intellectual In Politics”, by Prof. Daniel Noni Lantum, 1992.
VIII-8. “Fon Nso’ Sehm Ataar (1947 – 1972): Father of Nso’ Development”, by Prof. Daniel Noni Lantum, 2000.
VIII-9. “Royal Succession In The African Kingdom Of Nso’: A Study In Oral Historiography”, by Bongfen Chem-Langhëë and Verkijika G. Fanso, 2008.
VIII-10. “A History Of The Church In Kumbo Diocese (1912-1988)”, by Joseph Lafon (Faáy Lii Wong), 1988. VIII-11. ” Ŋgonnso’ Cultural Festival 2010 Magazine”, by NSODA, 2010.

Press Hour: What Can be done to get schools resume?

The hotted debate on Press hour this sunday started with the women’s day celebration that took place last Wednesday 8th March under the topic, what are they up to? The second part dealt entirely on the Anglophone crisis; The PM’s visit to the North West and resumption of schools. Invited as panelists, we have The Journalist Matute Menyelo, Tehwi Lambiv of CRTV, Hon. Naamukong Fusi MP Bafut and The Chairman of the GCE board Prof Peter Alange Abety.

The moderator Joe K started by saying that the women’s day is gradually taking up like a national holiday which is rather an International Day as the speakers could be heard challenging women to use this day more for education than celebration; that creating awareness on the plight of the women and fight for their rights was more important than parading the streets , drinking and partying till dawn. Prof Abety saw nothing wrong in celebrating citing that a lot of progress has been done. A compromise was arrived at giving the female (girl child) maximum education. some were of the thought that celebrations come with achievements and one could not see what the Cameroon women had achieved for the past 30 years and therefore more could be done to elevate the their plight. This debate took place without a lady taking part and talking on their behalf. Joe did acknowledge his attempts to get some in vain.

The second part of the debate was hitted and more on the Anglophone crisis taking cognissance with the visit of the Prime Minister Yang Philemon in the North West region for a 5 day session in 7 Divisions.

Joe started by stating that it was worrysome talking agin about schools resuming or effectively started agin despite that this had come up as many times as God alone can count yet a stumling block and big wall despite the PM’s visit.

Prof Abety took the floor stating that parents and teachers in the first place never wanted to keep the children at home from schools as he felts lots of concerns had been addressed and the trade union leaders had called off the strike. He went ahead to reiterate that as the GCE Board chair, he would go ahead to Organize the Exams despite the registration has witnessed more than 100,000 participants as compared to last.

His reason as he advanced was that not only students register for the GCE and that civil servants, and other groups of people do register for the exams to improve upon their grades or want to get promotion through those exams and that last year witnessed about 21,000 external candidates and such candidates could go ahead to sue them for not Organizing the Exams.

Hon. Fusi accused the Government for having the solution and yet refusing to provide and bring the crisis down to rest. He said we could not live in a country where people will cry for bread but yet be attacked, beaten, killed and arrested to unknown destinations. He said he could provide for evidences anytime and anyday and that children are living in the fear that they can not even go out to buy bread, how more can they go to school with such insecurity.

Tehwi Lambiv disagreed with the point raised by Prof. Abety to keep the chidlren out of the crisis to study while other issues are looked into. He said Education could not be isolated and that since Education is a basic human right, a secured and condusive atmosphere need to be provided for such and that this is not the case yet. He added that Goverment pushed people to exhaution with the hope that they will get tired and retire to nomalcy and give up. “You do not let people go into a coma before you begin treatment, preventive measures have to be taken.”Lambiv said.

Hon. Fusi when asked on the way forward questioned how many lives have been replaced, he insisted that people should be released, internet released, stop the arrests, withdraw the Military and most importantly that the government should read the documents from the Bishops and clergy and see what can be done. Last but not the least he requested for a 3rd party be it the Canadian Ambassador, British etc into a forum for dialogue and that once these people are brought together, good reflections will take place for principles and deadlines respected.

Lambiv said no teacher with a conscience will come to class when his or her colleague is in jail. Buea students and other university students will need the internet to do their research and students arrested will make others studying uncomfortable.

Matute cooncluded by requesting the father of the Nation President Biya to intervene and bring a solution himself. They stated that if the family has a problem, he can not let the first son to handle it, He can delegate powers of course but when they fail as is the case, he has the sole right to do something. “If the PM can spend 5 days in the North west and we still doubt the solution, then only the Big man can solve it himself”.

Shey Tatah Sevidzem

Titles and Cult Membership in Nso (Part 3)

 

If you missed part 1 & 2 you can get them here and here:

Nso culture

III-1. FUNCTIONS OF THE CULTS
Over the last 600 years cults have enjoyed a lot of power and assumed numerous functions in the administrative, political, social and cultural life of the Paramount Kingdom of Nso’. With the advent of colonialism, independence and the birth of the new nation state of the Cameroons, the role of these cults have evolved. In this section we examine the roles, responsibilities and functions of these cults as they existed then and as they obtain now.

The main functions of the Taa-Mbàn cult are:
 Royal mortuary services
 Cleansing of lineage heads/compounds
 Inquisitions of suspected witchcraft
 Exorcism of evil spirits and other abominations
 Conduct of expiatory (atonement) sacrifices
The Taa-Mbàn cult members are often assisted in their duties by lower court servants (Vimbaa and Vitan ve Ŋwéròŋ).
The Shishwaa cult performs mainly the following functions:
 Protecting Nso’ institutions from destruction
 Acting as State peace envoys and ambassadors
 Conducting appeasement sacrifices to keep famine at bay
 Preparing the State for periods of drought, infestations and low harvest
 Interceding with the Gods to keep devastating natural disasters at bay.
In addition to the seven Atárnto’ who were automatic members of the Shishwaa cult, other prominent Ŋwéròŋ Lords like Faáy Kuykishwang, Faáy Liiwong and others have been appointed into the Shishwaa cult and co-opted by Ŋwéròŋ as Atárnto’ of the second category.
The Ŋgírì cults group as a primarily fraternal cult has pretty limited responsibilities but performs the following roles:
 Junior traditional administrators (whenever assigned)
 Royal mortuary services (Vibay ve Dùy ve Kpù)
 Royal/member funeral services and celebrations
 Conduct of general state sacrifices (Vibay ve Dùy ve Ntaŋri)
 Blessing of hunting expeditions (Vibay ve Dùy ve Ntaŋri)
 Royal Hair care and manicure services (Vibay ve Dùy )
As we shall see below Ŋgírì has not always been happy with this limited role in State government and this has led to various clashes with Ŋwéròŋ.
Since its re-introduction into Nso’ society, the Ŋwéròŋ cults group has played a co-equal role with the Fòn in the administration of the state. As the saying goes “dze wong Fòn wun Ŋwéròŋ ” (the State belongs to the Fòn and Ŋwéròŋ).
The Ŋwéròŋ group has played principally the following roles:
 Executive arm of State government
 Senior Court Stewards and Priest (Atárnto’ ve Samba)
 Guardians of the Royal household (Atárnto’ ve Samba)
 Royal mortuary services (Atárnto’ ve Samba)
 State regulatory officers (hooded Ŋwéròŋ (Vilumsi) as impartial state police)
 Royal messengers, envoys and emissaries
 Custodians of royal property (raffia palm bushes, kola nut trees, goats, chicken, etc.)

 Royal/member funeral services and celebrations
 Conductors of State Commerce and Trade
 Peace keeping and crime prevention
 Fire fighting and prevention
 State judiciary officers (with Vibay – State Councilors)
 Execution of death and other sentences
 Law enforcement officers (hooded Ŋwéròŋ (Vilumsi) as impartial state police)
 State sanitary inspectors
 Palace house keeping
 Management of palace reconstruction and maintenance repairs
 Managers of public works (road, bridge, public hall and other construction projects)
Over the years Ŋwéròŋ has done its best to keep this stranglehold on power to Ŋgírì’s detriment and with sometimes devastating consequences.
III-2. CHECKING THE FÒN’S POWERS
To the naïve observer, the Paramount Fòn of Nso’ appears to be the almighty Monarch whose word is law and whose decisions are final. That is how the Nso’ people would like the world to see their King, because the King is Nso’ and Nso’ is the King and the Nso’ think of themselves as the most powerful Kingdom of the Savannah grass fields. The reality is however different. As a wise people the Nso’ are painfully aware that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. For this reason, the Nso’ people in the last 600 years have put some real checks and balances on the power of the King, through the cults. The Taa-Mbàn and Ŋwéròŋ cults have the power to discipline the King for negligence of duty, autocratic behavior, recalcitrance or any other behavior unbecoming of a King. They may even judge, condemn and execute the King for treason or other serious high crimes and misdemeanors like extrajudicial murders, full incapacitation or complete dereliction of duty.
Ŋwéròŋ disciplines the Fòn through a process called “kur Fòn”, which literally means “tying the King”, but which in reality amounts to putting the Fòn under “House Arrest”. The King is not allowed to leave the Palace, and no one is allowed to visit him. The Palace is put on lockdown and only select Ŋwéròŋ pages (Nchiyselav) are allowed to enter or leave the Palace. No music or noise making is tolerated in the Palace or in the city within a certain perimeter from the Palace. Only Ŋwéròŋ is allowed to play some funeral and mournful music continuously until the situation is remedied. This continues for as long as it takes for the Fòn to repent, pay the stated fine and promise to act like a King deserving of Nso’ people going forward.
In recent years Fòns have been subjected to milder versions of this punishment, when they are summoned to the Ŋwéròŋ compound, put against the Ŋwéròŋ inner court wall, and literally scolded as if they were children.
Fòn Ŋgà’ Bì’ Fòn II (1972-1983) is the only King in recent memory who was subjected to an actual “kur Fòn”, during the early part of his reign when he had serious disagreements with his senior wives. He humbled himself greatly after that punishment.
The Taa-Mbàn cult disciplines the Fòn through a protest called “sah kifu ke Mntaár” or “sah Mntaár” in short, which means “Mntaár leaf protest”. When the Mntaár landowners are dissatisfied with the way the state is being run or with some Palace edicts or with the Fòn’s negligence of certain atonement and appeasement rites, they show their protest by their leaders coming together and invading the Palace in the early hours of the morning armed with nothing but plant leaves (usually the kikeng leaf – dracaena peace plant) in their hands. They silently stand in the open Palace square (Maandzә Ngay) until the King
comes out and addresses their grievances to their satisfaction. The King’s reaction on such occasions is usually very swift because the Taa-Mbàn cult members are “owners of the earth” (Atar Nsai) who could easily invoke the spirits of the ancestors to smite the King. Fòn Mapri (1907-1910) and Fòn Ŋgà’ Bì’ Fòn I (1910-1947) are known to have endured this Mntaár protest during their reigns.
Cases where an actual King was judged, condemned and executed by Ŋwéròŋ and the Mntaár Lords are rare. Very often victims of such executions are ambitious princes who have attempted to usurp the throne. However in 1910 Fòn Mapri (1907-1910) was executed because he had ordered the extrajudicial killings of some princes who were his rivals for the throne and of Shúufaáy Taaŋkùm (Tsәmaloŋ) when he disagreed openly with him. Ŋwéròŋ and Mntaár ordered his execution and Fòn Mapri (1907-1910) was assassinated at Vikuùtsәn (near Sov) when he was on his way to pay royalties to the German colonial administration in Bamenda.

To be continued…

Shey Tatah Sevidzem (Wo Scandy)