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Author of the Entry:
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emmanuel Ambe Ndonwi, email@example.com
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Age of narrator: 84 (in 2019)
Social status: patriarch
Language of narration: Fali-Kaang
Bio prepared by Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Fali-Kangu is a name that identifies one of the ethnic groups in the North of Cameroon. They are in Garoua and some parts of Ngaoundere. The name Fali is also used to identify the language spoken by these people. The majority of the Fali are Muslims and practice Islam. As such, they strongly believe in prayers and fasting. They believe in one God, Allah. However, non-Muslim Fali people practice animism and ancestral worship for protection, guidance and blessings. When a Fali dies, after a month, a ceremony (festival of the dead) is organized to help the reincarnation of the person’s soul. They believe in a creator god, Faw.
Encyclopedia.com (accessed: September 24, 2019).
Long ago, humans and animals all lived in unity under the earth with Kaang, their supreme god and creator. None of them lacked anything. After some time, Kaang began to plan a world on the surface of the earth where he would move all his creatures. He started by creating a beautiful huge tree whose branches spread across the land. After that, he created other beautiful things and all was ready. Then he made a tunnel into the earth right down to where the humans and animals were. He first took a man by the hand and led him through the tunnel up to the world he just created. They sat near the entrance to the tunnel and waited. Shortly afterwards, a woman came up and together with the man, they began to enjoy the wonders and treasures Kaang had created for them. The couple then beckoned on their companions beneath the earth and they started filling up with the curious giraffe taking the lead. They were all amazed at the beauty and wonders they saw. While the birds flew high up the tree branches, chirping in delight, other animals jumped from branch to branch marveling at the beauty of this new world.
When the great god Kaang saw this, he was satisfied. He then called all the humans and animals together and said: “I will tell you the laws of this new world. “You are to live together in peace and listen to each other.” And then to the humans, he commanded, “under no circumstances must you make fire; to do such a thing would be to bring great disharmony in this beautiful world.” With enormous gratitude, the creatures pledged loyalty to Kaang, promising to always acknowledge and respect his orders. Kaang then left them to enjoy their new place but secretly observed them from a hiding.
Everything was fine until the sun began sliding out of view. In absolute amazement, all the creatures assembled and pondered on this abrupt manifestation. The sun eventually vanished leaving the creatures in a terrifying darkness and biting cold. To overcome this distressing situation, they snuggled and shared their anxieties. “What is happening? Will the sun ever return?” they pondered. As the darkness and cold intensified, the creatures wept for fear of dying in the frosty darkness.
Then, one human suggested they start a fire, and the rest of the people agreed, forgetting their commitment to Kaang. They were all carried away by the warmth and the light of the fire that they did not notice when the animals all fled into the wilderness. “Come back, there is nothing to fear!” the humans called out to them but the animals could not understand the language of the humans anymore. All they heard were yells, which scared them even more. It was at this point that the humans remembered the loyalty they promised Kaang, which they have broken, and with it, the harmony with animals. And this was eternal.
Like many other people in the world, the Fali-Kaang people also have a story of how the world came to be. The myth does not only attempt an explanation to how living things came to be on earth.
The myth highlights the results of breaking a covenant with a supreme being, which results in humans being alienated from their creator. The people of Fali-Kaang could not keep to their promise of obeying Kaang and so he decided to go away from them forever.
The myth goes further to explain the mystery why animals live away from humans despite the fact that they were created together.
Sprout, Barbara, Primal Myths: Creation around the World, San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1979.
Von Franz, Marie-Louise, Creation Myths, Boston: Shambhala, 1995.
Place of performance: Tcholaram
Target audience: young teenagers
Researcher: Eleanor A. Dasi
Assistant researcher: Boubakary Tecna
Method of data collection: listening and transcription