Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
Country of the Recording of the Story for the Database
Full Date of the Recording of the Story for the Databasey
More Details of the Recording of the Story for the Database
Crossover (young adults + adults)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julius Mboh Angwah, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Musi Seth Pie (Storyteller)
Age of narrator: 30 (in 2018)
Social status: Notable
Language of narration: English
Bio prepared by Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaounde, firstname.lastname@example.org and Julius Mboh Angwah, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Background*: Bafanji is one of the thirteen villages that make up the Ngo-Ketunjia Division of the North West Region of Cameroon. Their forefathers are believed to have migrated about 450 years ago, from the Ndobo Tikar group in the Adamaoua and settled at their site. The village was formed by Vhenji, one of the daughters of Mangeh, the first ancestor of the Ngo-Ketunjia. The king is the administrative ruler and the spiritual leader of the land. However he shares his authority with the council of elders. Membership to these offices is hereditary. The people’s main occupation is food crop cultivation. They worship their ancestors in shrines, though many of them have embraced Christianity.
* Source: bafanji.org (accessed: January 16, 2019).
Many years ago, the entire community of Bafanji used to fetch potable water from Ndawi*. One day, a child was drowned in Ndawi and the river was desecrated. The Gods of Ndawi were not happy. All those who went there to fetch water after the tragedy died mysteriously around the banks of the river. It was a pregnant woman who went to Ndawi naked and in tears, begging the Gods of Ndawi to have mercy on them. The Gods were weakened by the spirit of the unborn child in the woman’s womb, and requested, through Nongu the python, for a sacrifice of fowls and goats which was offered. From that event onwards, the villagers realized that whenever there was an issue at Ndawi, pregnant women would be allowed to go there first to calm the spirits before the chief priest could go there and perform the necessary rituals.
Not long after this occurrence, Nongu made constant visits to Ndawi from the land of the dead. Whenever Nongu was at the river, a rainbow would spread across the land to indicate to the people that there was a message for them from the Gods, and the message, for the most part, was that of peace. The rainbow assured the community that the ancestors were in harmony with the clan, and were still protecting the land. At such a moment, a pregnant woman would be identified and fortified by the traditional priest to visit Ndawi and get the message from the land of the ancestors. Pregnant women were chosen to do this because they carried in them the unborn, who were a source of consolation to the Gods.
Though Nongu lived in the land of the dead, he communed with the Gods of Ndawi once in a while. Indeed, it is often a wonderful feeling of excitement whenever the villagers see a rainbow in the sky. They feel confident that some good fortunes are coming to the clan. This has guided the people’s perception of Nongu and has since left them with the belief that whenever the rainbow comes out, it is the reflection of the special python.
* Ndawi is small river in Bafanji, believed to have been given to the people by the Gods.
The rainbow has been an important element in most world mythologies. It is considered by Virve Sarapik as “a source of positive emotions and an appearance gladdening the heart, a symbol of beauty and singularity” (Sarapik, 1998). More importantly, it is seen to represent a message from God or the gods. This significance of the rainbow, as documented by Sarapik, is clearly demonstrated in the relationship between Nongu and the community.
Lee, Raymond L. and Alistair B. Fraser, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth, and Science, Penn State Press, 2001.
Sarapik, Virve, “Rainbow, Colours and Science Mythology”, Folklore. Electronic Journal of Folklore 6/1998, folklore.ee, available at academia.edu (accessed: November 25, 2018).
Researcher: Didymus Tsangue Douanla
Research Assistant: Julius Angwah
Editor: Eleanor A. Dasi
Method of data collection: Tape recording