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Endangered Indigenous Archives in Mbum Land of Cameroon: Which Way Forward?

Endangered Indigenous Archives in Mbum Land of Cameroon: Which Way Forward?

Posted on 2021-11-21 08:07:38 / by Richard Tanto Talla Ignatius Womai Song


In traditional African societies where there was no formal way of documentation, history was stored in human brains and transmitted by word of mouths or learned from their material cultural remains and features. The material cultural remains were preserved in indigenous archives, such as, shrines, palace museums, cultural sites or reserves which today exist in a very poor state. This study, therefore, sets out to examine the reasons behind the deplorable condition of these local archives in most local communities in Cameroon with a focus on the Mbum ethnic group of Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region. The study revealed that, over the years, a good number of factors such as rural-urban migration, absentee community leaders, Christianity, population increase etc, have negatively affected the maintenance of these shrines by the local community thereby, causing a lot of damages to its material culture content. This situation has also left the young ones of the society with no option, but to grow up with no good knowledge of their material culture history, which mirrors the achievements of their ancestors and by extension, the culture history of the community. This study, therefore, makes a point for the restoration of these local archives and suggest various ways through which it could do. It concludes by observing that this would go a long way to ameliorate the poor state of these indigenous archives as well as revive the dying Mbum culture, which identifies them as a specific entity in Cameroon, a country with more than 120 ethnic groups.

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Africa Online & Publications Library
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