BANSO, Cameroon

BANSO, Cameroon


This is a group of people found in the Bamenda Grass fields in the Northwest Region of the republic of Cameroon Cameroon, particularly in Bui Division.

They speak their traditional language, ‘Lamnso’, translated as the language of Nso. The Capital is Kumbo, otherwise called Kimbo.

The people of Nso are ruled by the traditional ruler common to the people of the North West region, the Fon.

The Fon is the head of the traditional government and the chief religious authority. He is incharge of keeping the ancestors happy. He is supported in his duties by the seven notables (Vibais). Vibais are Shufais, whose positions are determined by intricate history. They are; Shufai Ndzendzev, Tahnkum, Doh, Ruun, Tsenlah, Lun and Yuwar. Over the past few years some Shufais have been appointed by the custodian of the tradition, the Fon for the fact that they get a seat at the lower ends of the seating ranks in the palace.

His power is kept in check by the regulatory group, the "Nwerong". The Fon is closely aided in its functions by the “Nwerong”. It is the security arm of the government and enforces decisions taken by the Fon. The Nwerong is also solely responsible for the enthronement of a new Fon. It is also responsible for replacing Fais and Shufais in case of death.

Members of the royal family are exempted from becoming members of the Nwerong. The "Ngiri" also exist in the Nso fondom, resembles the Nwerong, but it is for members of the royal family and especially princes (Wontho).

There exist other Fons in the Nso fondom that generally act as advisers to the Fon of Nso. The Fons signify an evolution in the history of the Nso people. Most of them were leaders of independent tribes that through warfare or peaceful negotiations, or through share events of history became subordinates to the Fon of Nso.

They are allowed to bring in their own seats (Kavahs) into the Nso Palace. They include the Fons of Oku, Mbiami, Nseh, Nkar, Gwan, Kiluun, Ngashong, Nshokov, Gwarkang, and Taabah.

The Nso fondom is divided into groups according to lineage and each lineage group is led by a "Fai". According to the tradition of the Nso people, the Fai is not supposed to shake hands with an ordinary man. They are recognized by their glass bead necklace and a fancy walking stick. Only the Fon has the authority to institute a Fai.closely following the Fai in level is the Shey.

Masquerades, called Jujus, masked spirits, are an important part of the Nso culture. Jujus come out only on important occasions. Nwerong and Ngiri each have seven jujus, which are often seen passing by on the way to the death celebration of one of the society members.

Another traditional society is the "Mfu", which is a warrior society with chapters in each village with its own meeting house where the group gathers every eighth day. It is a meeting place for men in the village to come to hear and disseminate the latest news or organize village work.

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