From growing up in the ghetto stony-hilly Bassa neighbourhood in Douala to embracing womanhood in Yaoundé, I was practically raised by my older sisters – each had her turn. For 29 years on earth, I have not spent a complete month with my biological parents talk less of experiencing the village life. And so most of the stories I know about my culture, family, village, tradition were transmitted to me by my older brothers who spent much time with our parents and witnessed almost every scene that produced itself in Manyu Division.
Whenever I had the chance, I would not trade a moment with my parents for anything. My father would cease every opportunity to tell me about his youth, his experiences as a standard five teacher, his encounters with ghosts, community life, farming seasons and the practice of tradition and witchcraft.
During one of my trips to my village – Njeke, a village in Eyomujok Subdivision, I learnt from my brothers that Njeke was founded by Atta Ndi who came from a village along Kumba road called Baboo. When he arrived Njeke, settled in a forest called Nchangandi which was named after him (the forest of Ndi). Atta Ndi and wife brought forth 6 children: 5 boys and 1 girl. The girl was named Manjoka who later was married to a man in Ewelle, a village next to Njeke where she gave birth to and founded a whole clan. The evolution of the boys is a whole different story.
From Mamfe town, we passed through several other villages before arriving Njeke. On our way, I noticed a crumbling mud house (like mud that’s falling but never touching the ground) raged by a thick bush almost forming a forest. That was the only visible house in that place. Years later, talking with one of my brothers, I discovered that, the abandoned bushy house is actually a village – Moh Ndchang, a village that had been deserted by its inhabitants owing to the curse of a grieved mother (story for another day)
I am sharing this to say, our stories matter, they shouldn’t be buried with the coming of civilisation. Where we come from, who we are, what defines us, what we are made of and what happened to us can only be known if we tell our stories.
In the following days, I will share with us some reasons we must continually tell our stories. Our story is our voice, we must use that voice to influence and shape generations.