By FC Ndi
Initiation into the supreme authority fraternity (Ngumba) of the Babungo people took place on March 14, 2015 at the palace esplanade. The initiation exercise which marks the beginning of a planting season ended up with the famous Nikai dance. The Nikai dance is performed around the palace court yard in two distinct circles. The drummers are found in the middle of the two circles. The first group is made up of youths while the second group is made up of mature men who are accompanied by the royal mascot and other masquerades. The most thrilling this year was the presence of two whitemen who were also initiated into the fraternity. By implications, they have automatically become notables of the Babungo fondom. They have the right to sit and shake hands with notables.
The ceremony that was massively attended by over 5000 people also recorded the presence of over 40 traditional rulers. Amongst them were friendly traditional rulers from the West Region, North West, South West, South, Centre and Littoral. The Babungo Fondom in the North West Region of Cameroon is a long-established, highly centralized and elaborated fondom with strong tradition that has passed from one generation to another. The Nikai Dance is one of those traditional institutions that make the culture of the people very distinct. It is performed by young boys and men who have undergone initiation into the supreme fraternity (Ngumba). It is a dance that symbolizes unity, fertility and is always performed at the beginning of the planting season. Besides, the people of Babungo commonly known as the Vengo are experts in plastic arts that developed innovative metallurgical process which enabled it to reach an extraordinary level of iron production. Even with globalization, the people have continuously kept their culture and tradition intact.
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