NGOKETUNJIA DIVISION, S. W. Region of Cameroon
by Tangwing Pius Monji
Ngoketunjia Division, North West Region of Cameroon
The name, Ngoketunjia refers to a mountain in Bamunka, Ndop. Ngoketunjia Division was named after this mountain. Ngoketunjia Division is therefore one of the division that make up Northwest Region of Cameroon.
Ngoketunjia is a division of over whelming beauty, and it is inhabited by the semi-bantu and fulani people. In this region the people are very much attached to their tradition and culture.
This division is made up of 13 villages. The most interesting thing about the 13 villages is that all their names begin with the letters "Ba".
History holds that it was derived from the times of the Germans who colonized the area and “Ba” denotes "people of". For example, Bamunka means people of Munka. Each of the 13 villages has its own unique language, tradition and traditional authority, so it is called a Fondom with its traditional ruler being, the Fon.
The following villages make up the Ngoketunjia division:
Baba I, Babungo, Balinganshin, Babessi, Bamunkumbit, Baligashu, Bamunka, Bamali, Bangolan
Balikumbat, Bamessing, Bambalang and Bafanji.
All the villages that make up the Ngoketunjia division are surrounded by hills with the Ngoketunjia plain elevated. Therefore the climatic conditions are more moderate here than in other regions in Cameroon.
The division is further divided into 3 subdivisions: Ndop central, Babessi and Balikumbat subdivisions. Each government authority is present there with representative delegations. Each of the subdivisions has a municipal council.
The administrative head quarter is found in the village of Bamunka.
The administrative hierarchy follows the order:
• The Senior Divisional Officer (SDO). He is responsible for the administration of the whole division.
• The Divisional Officer (DO) who is responsible for the sub division and
• The Mayor who is responsible for the villages that make up the division.
• Divisional and sub divisional delegates who are responsible for the representation of the various ministries in the divisions.
The government authorities work alongside the traditional authority. The traditional authorities consists of secret societies with the Fon as the head. The traditional administration is structured into the traditional council, Quarter heads and Sub-quarter heads. The Fon is the custodian of the culture and all the land in the village.
To get to this division one can get a car, bus or taxi from Nkwen Bamenda, through Bambili, the famous Sabga hill and then to the divisional head quarters where you drop and start getting either other cars or motor bikes to the various villages. The road also runs through some villages to other towns in other divisions like kumbo and Jakiri.
The division has a lot of touristic attractions:
The Babungo palace and museum: this beautiful and well organized museum gives the visitor the unique opportunity of viewing the traditional artifacts and understanding its importance in the history and culture of the fondom. Telephone +(237) 77 76 71 42.
The Presspot Handicraft centre (Bamessing) is a centre for artisans in claywork. The visitor can view the entire process from the extraction of clay from the ground, to the final moulding and backing in traditional ovens.
The Rice fields (Bamunka): the
division is famous within the country for the growth of rice. The plane contains a vast swamp that has been converted into rice fields. Here, rice is farmed traditionally.
The Palm wine and rafia wine: Palm wine and rafia wine is tapped from the palm tree. The people of Ngoketunjia use the palm tree not only for the wine, but also for oil, for making soap and household utensils.
The Ngoketunjia mountain is in the head quarters of the division and one can actually climb to the peak and view the entire division and beyond. In the traditional dialect Ngoketunjia means the "shape of the roof of a house".
The Bambalang Dam: visitors can hire a boat to travel around the serene environment of the man-made lake. It is said that the dam serves as a reservoir for the Edea hydro electric dam in the littoral region of the country.
Local artisans in Bamessing: woodwork & weaving (all using traditional methods)
In BaBa 1 there is the massive production of gari at the cassava production centre.
Local artisans in Babungo: apart from the museum in the palace woodwork & ironworks are done by the local population (all using traditional methods)
Each year each of the villages in the division organizes cultural festivals. It is a unique opportunity to see dancers, masquerades (jujus), gun firing, snake dancers and fire dancers. Entry is free of charge at all the festivals.
Local markets are central points in the villages and contain everything from food to clothes and household wares. The market occurs every 8th day and is a socially important event in the life of the people of both villagers in the division.
Daily food of the people include Maize, cocoyams, cassava, plantain, rice and groundnuts, corn fufu (pounded corn), water fufu (pounded cassava), achu (pounded coco yams), plantains. The food is usually accompanied by vegetables with meat or fish.
Few hotel around can attempt western foods, but the locals restaurants consist of food cooked at home and carried in containers to shops for sale to the local population.
The traditional drink of this area is Palm wine or Raffia Wine. It is a white milky-like alcoholic liquid collected from the palm or raffia tree. A favourite pastime accompanied by consuming the drink is sitting in a bar and drinking the palm wine. It is usually accompanied by kola nuts. If not, others who can afford can go to bars to drink well refined beer.
A few hotels exist in this division, mostly in the head quarters:
• Green Valley Resort (Bamunka)
• Atlanta Hotel (Bamunka) - Tel: +(237) 74 57 27 65
• Kings Heritage Hotel (Bamunka) - Tel: +(237) 79 68 95 90
• Babungo Palace (Babungo) - Tel: +(237) 77 76 71 42
Police posts and gendarme units are found in all the head quarters for security purposes. Checkpoints of the police and gendarmes is common along highways.
The people of the region are primarily Christians (Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Muslims, etc). Traditional ancestral beliefs are also widely common among the people.
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