MBENGWI, North West Region of Cameroon
by Tangwing Pius
Government School Children in Mbengwi, North West Region of Cameroon
Mbengwi is the head quarters of one of the divisions in the North West Region of Cameroon, the Momo division.
The name "Mbengwi" means "a land of wild animals" in the Meta language. It used to be a hunting ground in the precolonial days and was later settled before it became upgraded to an administrative head quarters of Momo Division.
The indigenes are the Meta people, but a few settlers from neighboring tribes like Ngie and Oshie and other tribes from the whole republic and even beyond have been added.
Today, the town’s growth has stagnated because of the youths rural exodus due to lack of income generating activities.
Interesting sites in Mbengwi are the Abi waterfalls in the heart of the town and the Catholic monastery. Attractions include wildlife watching (birds) and fishing in the Abi and Mezam Rivers.
The 30 or so Fon's palaces in the division are an artistic wealth that is the envy of any Museum on African Art with artifacts dating back more than 300 years.
The Meta Elites Cultural and Development Association (MECUDA), organize cultural dance competition each year which serve as a traditional jamboree to showcase their culture of more than 50 traditional dances.
Running through the division is the famous river Momo, crossing the Mamfe-Bamenda road at mile 71, from where the division derived its name.
The town of Mbengwi has a lot of lay-private and public schools one of which is the famous Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Mbengwi. This school is rivalled by only
7 other Government high schools in the whole of Cameroon in terms of infrastructure.
There is also the Government Technical High School (GTHS), Government Teachers' Training College (GTTC), Government Technical Teachers' Training College (GTTTC), Presbyterian Teachers' Training College (PTTC), Full Gospel Mission Teacher Training College (FGTTC) and the St. Joseph’s Catholic Comprehensive College (SJCCC).
Most of these Schools have boarding facilities where students live in the schools during the school year.
Mbengwi has produced many state’s men, one of which is late Honorable Tandneg Solomom (S.T) Muna, one time house speaker of Cameroon’s National assembly and one of the architects of Cameroon’s history.
The people of this region are farmers and produce one of the best quality palm oil in the entire North West Region. They also produce a few coffee, cocoa and kola nuts. Most of their farm outputs are locally consumed food crops, some of which are sold on the famous weekly “Tad” Market.
Mbengwi is a net importer of food, because a lot of cultivable land lies in waste because of rural exodus and annual grass burning which is also very damaging to wildlife. Fulani cattle rearers inhabit the distant hills and sometimes make forays into the towns for some green grass for their animals.
The Abi falls has a huge hydroelectricity potential and several projects to generate electricity which needs to be exploited. Attempts to begin this project have witnessed failures as evident by the uncompleted dam that runs along the Bamenda-Mbengwi Road at the fording point on the Abi River.
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