Monday, 2 January 2017

Ngonso Cultural Week puts Nso in the spotlight

The Nso are a people of the Bamenda Grassfields in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. Their traditional language is Lamnso (language of Nso) and their capital is Kumbo. Both the people and area are sometimes referred to as Banso (people of Nso) - the addition of the 'Ba' prefix is attributed to the Fulani conquerors in the 17th century; the prefix resonates in the names of towns around the area.

In the 1950s, the people of Nso started an annual cultural week festival to celebrate the Nso hero, mother, warrior and founder of Nso land Yaya Ngonso. It is also known that Yaya Ngonso was the first Fon of Nso (A Fon is the
 head of the traditional government). The cultural Week has since been named the Ngonso Cultural Week and is celebrated annually (Mostly in December).  
Here is the photo of the first Cultural Week in Nso land

Despite the political tension in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, the 2016 Ngonso Cultural Week which started on December 26th and ended on January 2nd, registered a major success as hundreds of tourists in other parts of the world visited Nso to witness the colourful and exciting festival. 

The display of jujus is always a delight for most! A juju is a person disguised in a costume for traditional entertainment purposes. The Nso Palace is divided into two houses each of which is represented by a different juju. The Ngiri house is represented by Wanmabu and the Kwerong house is represented by the Nko.


These two houses are thought to be secret societies. Membership into any of the two houses is either by birth or by fulfilling the rites of initiation. 

They have two main rules, entertainment and assisting the Fon in special duties such as resolving of conflicts anonymously.

See photos from the 2016 Ngonso Cultural Week below...

Photo credits: Penjo Photography