Monday, 8 April 2013

CAMEROON'S TIKAR PEOPLE SHOW THE NEED FOR A RETHINK ON OUR ETHNOHISTORY

The history books declare that Bantus left Cameroon 2000 to 1500 years ago and settled the continent via the Congo Forest. All bantu speakers came from Cameroon-period! There was little if any migrations from the North or East at any time.Therefore ethnic classifications can be conveniently set in stone as the language map shows. A glance at the Tikar people's history of NW Cameroon shows the fallacy of such a viewpoint.
Officially they're classified as Bantu speakers. These 50,000 or so Cameroonians live in the northwest along the Nigerian border. The truth is they migrated from Ethiopia,Tigre to be exact roughly a millenia ago. Their original home however was Saudi Arabia-they left when Mohamed brought Islam which ushered in a generation of conflict. From there they sojourned as a group to Egypt then Sudan and finally Tigre where they stayed at least 2 centuries.



Apart from a number of famous  black Americans having discovered Tikar ancestry among them Quincy Jones they are of interest due to the practice of a unique form of divination involving the Giant Spider,the Black ngam.








The diviner,duly licensed by the government,first finds a likely burrow of the Red Baboon Spider ,Hysterocrates gigas or a tarantula. These nightmare creatures can inflict a painful bite  and symbolize truth and the spirit world.
The person with the issue,be it witchcraft/business/sickness or women consults the diviner who places specially made  plum tree cards seen here in an upside down 2 foot container atop the burrow. The spider emerges and is 'questioned.' Its rearrangement of the cards is then 'interpreted.'
This form of divination has been practiced since they settled in their present location of N.Cameroon some 900 years ago. The French colonialists accepted the practice and licenced the diviners while the present government continues to do so.
Returning to the point-its long past time for us as a people to write our own history. Until today educated African adults still repeat the story of the Bantu Migration like a religious mantra. We've allowed others with their own agenda to write about our past with obvious results. We've been pigeonholed into fake boxes for long enough and must know tell our own stories.

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