Introducing Francis Nyamnjoh


  • nyamjoh-2bsepia Francis B. Nyamnjoh is Professor of anthropology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa

    Department of Social Anthropology University of Cape Town
    5.23 Arts Building
    Private Bag X3
    Rondebosch 7701
    Cape Town
    South Africa
    Tel: +27 21 650 3681
    Fax: +27 21 650 2307
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Comments

Mike Joko

Dear Prof,

One issue. In this excercise, under the subhead " the Tikar problem", I did not see in the exploration and establishment of identities the use of traditional songs in this case war songs or songs in time of conflict.

This seems to be one aspect or part of Tikar identity that has stayed intact; the manjong song or war song of the Nso, Oku and a host of other tribes in the region have stayed intact in the Foumban language. A "foreign language".

In a visit to Oku in 2001 an elder there pointed this out to me. He explained that this had arisen out of the military conflict between the Foumbans and the Nso and other tribes in the region. Proof of which was the war booty taken back to Foumban and impostion of some of Foumbanese customs on some neighbouring tribes.

I would think an account of what went on in terms of military conflict between tribes, war songs, booty taken during conflict and such will throw light on some of the issues being discussed. Except that for some reseachers, especially from this region, this is too sensitive an issue and most will not want to delve into it.

Should we be looking in this direction?

Regards,

Michael


Arthuralex

Thank you for your research! I'm curious as to why so many African-Americans and people from the Caribbean are turning up with Tikar ancestry yet relatively little has been written about the Tikar. Have you arrived at any sense of what portion of African-Americans have a high percentage of Tikar genetic ancestry? I'm also curious about whether the use of DNA tracing has been applied to the question of who is truly Tikar in Cameroon. However, as you suggest in your article, even if ancestral mapping was done it is unlikely anyone would change their current affiliations and self identification to align with DNA mapping.

Arthuralex

Thank you for your research! I'm curious as to why so many African-Americans and people from the Caribbean are turning up with Tikar ancestry yet relatively little has been written about the Tikar. Have you arrived at any sense of what portion of African-Americans have a high percentage of Tikar genetic ancestry? I'm also curious about whether the use of DNA tracing has been applied to the question of who is truly Tikar in Cameroon. However, as you suggest in your article, even if ancestral mapping was done it is unlikely anyone would change their current affiliations and self identification to align with DNA mapping.

nyamnjoh

Hi Michael and Arthur Alex,
Thanks for your comments.

Michael, there are many Tikar institutions, richly documented as well, included in some of the references in this article. The primary purpose of this piece was however to provide some historical background to Tikar groupings mainly, and to say that today many of their institutions are shared with the wider grassfields.

Arthur Alex
It is curious that little has been published on the Tikar as groups, but a lot exists on the Tikar as parts of the grassfields. It is quite understandable, given the flow of slaves from these areas, why there would be many Tikars among African-Americans. What I however highlight is the fact that identity is normally negotiated and hardly pure, and therefore the idea should not be to trace origin back to a pure Tikar community in Cameroon, but rather to embrace Tikar belonging as a dynamic reality that has been enriched by different encounters over time.

I hope this helps

Shemuelah

I have traced my DNA to the Tikar people in Cameroon.
I visited Nigeria in 1980. I felt like I was "home", when I got off the plane.
I met my in-laws and had a real "Roots" welcome.
I will visit Cameroon, this November. I don't expect to feel any differently.
I won't have the personal connection. My Ancestors will hopefully find peace at last kowing that I traveled back to their "homeland"
Nigeria and Cameroon change areas on their border. Maybe I was really "home", the first time I stepped off the plane in the Motherland.
( I will also visit my in-laws in Nigeria in November. They are planning a big "welcome Home" again!)

K. J.

Thank you for this information. I've been trying to find info on my people.

cara

Hi Professor,

I am Cora of the Tikar tribe, traced through DNA. I am very curious about the slave records there. Ar there any artifacts or records on the slave trade.

Nicholas Ifill

Hi my name is Nicholas,
I too traced my dna which went back to the Tikar of Cameroon 100%. Is there any movies depicting Tikar history and can someone give me some information on the culture of the people??

Kharypestaina

I recently traced my maternal DNA to the TIKAR as well and have a "theory" regarding why so much Tikar shows up in the Americas whereas the history and culture is relatively lost in Cameroon...

#1) The Tikar were outsiders to that region, from the Nile Valley in the Sudan.

#2) The Tikar dominated the area with their foreign Nile Valley culture- Iron & Horseback riding

#3) Apparently other native West African groups who had been subordinated with the arrival of the Tikar fully resented this foriegn influence

#4) This resentment led European traders to find willing partners with these subordinate groups

#5) These formerly subordinate groups then used their technological and weapons advances to "punish" the Tikar...

#6) Most western Tikar DNA is matrilineal, meaning that mostly Tikar women were brought to the West.

#7) The higher standard of living the Tikar enjoyed may have led to them disproportionately surviving the Middle Passage

#8) the lack of Male Tikar DNA in the West may signal the total decimation of the warrior class of Tikar that would have suffered with the introduction of European weapons.

Anyway, these are jsut speculative theories I plan to investigate more thoroughly given the time...

Eb

I also traced my DNA to the Tikar tribe. In short I read that yes they were outsider, resented, setup by nearby tribes where the women warriors could no longer sustain against slave traders. The men were farmers and the women were the fighters. The men drowned themselves to avoid slavery. There were only women on the boat and were brought west to Caribbean and VA border. They were musical, so is my family. Ate stewed tomatoes with rice, so does my family and has slanted eyes-so do we. Its amazing to me. My grandmother died attributing her heritage to Native Americans. While we are proud people regardless, i just wish that could know more about our history. Btw there is a trip to the Coast in Dec hosted by affiliates of Africa Ancestry.

Ntumkpu Jude Thaddeus Adzeyuf

My name is Adzeyuf Ntumkpu Jude.I a Cameroonian of Tikar origine and i am based in the UK.Actually i come from the Nso clan which was founded by Ngonso the princes of the great Tikar tribe who left with her followers after the death of their father the King and settled in the north west part of Cameroon.It gave me great joy when i learnt all the 4 main Tikar clans now come together every year to celebrate a sense of belonging in a display of culture and tradition relating to their roots.To all our Tikar brothers and sisters in the Americas and the carebean,it is an opportunity to come down to Cameroon and discover what i call home and a sense of belonging.God bless Tikar and all her great fons of Foumben,Nso,Mbam etc.

Ntumkpu Jude Thaddeus Adzeyuf

There are other Tikar groups scaterred all over the north west region of cameroon such as the Kom.Nkambe,Ndop,Balli etc

Wynona Barbee

I am so grateful for all the above comments, I am of Mafa/Tikar origine.I have lived in Senegal and Ghana over the years and feel some spiritual connection with Senegal that I feel deep in my soul, however DNA traced my ancestry to the Mafa and Tikar of Cameroon. I plan a trip to Cameroon before the year is out however I desire to know more about my people. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Wynona Barbee

I feel strongly that the Tikar migrated in to Cameroon. If anyone knows their migratory route, I'd like to know. Also where in the Caribbean were most of the Tikar taken? What I have learned about the Mafa and Tikar fits me and my family to a tee. Once when I was in Senegal a spiritual man told me that my people were forest people and our totem was water, now I understand.

Althea Cromer

I had taken the DNA Test from the Ancestry.Com a few years ago and got the results back. I found that my mother's line was Tikar. I would like to find more information on the trip to cameroon from Washington D.C. group.

Emmanuel

i want to learn tikar language, where can i get help, books, cd, tapes or tutor?

sexe

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approcherais

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tayan

my mother is tikar. this,s her story family .her family came from a power tikar kingdom bleydouim around bahda an village. during the fulani adamawa invasion . other neigburg village use to find refuge in bleydouim because my grand grand ancestral who was the king was so powerfull mistycaly .but one someone by mistake broke a python egges where it was not allowed according to their tradition rules beacause python was the symbol power and protection of the village against ennemy and since that day the kingdom broke down they ennemy got into and make they people slave . but my ancestral the king and his 2 brother hang themself the choice death because a king canotnever become a slave . they took the father of my grandfather . they story is to long to explain. but l must tell to my kids an my kids also to their kids some we will not forget who we are and were we came .to go to bleiduim from bankim you can get the bus or bankim via sonkolong from songkolong to go blieduim it easy. from bameda take bus to sabongari. my mun is a princess from that village . even sonkolong it a part of my family kingdom

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