Some practical reflections

Tatah Mbuy


These suggestions are made on the basis of 4 deeply significant African proverbs:

1. The South African Ubuntu proverb which has become the basis of Africn philosophy today states that “I am because we are; and because we are, therefore I am.” In most of Africa, the individual only gains his identity as part of the community. So one cannot expect in life to achieve anything as a lone-ranger. In Nso' our people rightly say that “the River Mayrin only meandered because it was alone” (mayrin i lo wun mo'on i te'em).

2. A lamnso' proverb which could translate as “Someone who has a knife cannot be cleaning his potatoes with a stick.” (wir yo' yi loo ker shwa' wu waa kom tu' i kichiki) The paramount Fon of Nso' has all that it takes to make a great tribe and people. In fact, most of the fons of the North West Region take the cue from him. The quality and quantity of sons and daughters that the Nso' Fondom can boast of, will find very little comparison anywhere else in Cameroon.

3. An Igbo proverb says that “A child who impresses people with his beautiful clothes while his father lives in a hut, is a disgrace to his ancestors.” I remember as college kids we used to laugh at boys from certain villages because they would come out of their squalors wearing very expensive suits and ties just to impress a few girls (chicks).

4. A Nso' man gave a very provocative name to his son. For every good plan that he made, there were always enemies that would destroy it. So, he decided to call his son – Rimdzirshuuy (Let the witch ask for what he wants during the day). Witches are often known to operate best in the dark. So,what this man meant, was that there will always be people ready to destroy whatever good plans you make, but if you already know who they are, you can easily wave the tide.

We offer the following three suggestions, based on the arguments that have been advanced in favour of our obligations as sons and daughters to ensure that we restore and preserve our patrimony. God forbid that the next generation would impute it against us that we caused the pride of Nso' to be trampled underfoot! May Soom and Mbuy, my ancestors in Taambii, never allow this to happen. Amen.

I. Restoration and presevation of Nso' Patrimony: A scheme for the restoration and preservation of Nso' patrimony which will probably take 3 phases.

a) Phase 1 will have to do with personnel management and that is why the issue of the sustenance of the throne MUST remain our ONLY PLAN until it is accomplished. Without a strong and neutral Fon, every other thing that we can accomplished will be compromised or given still birth. If everyone of whatever political or religious leaning can count on the Fon, trust will be built around the throne and consequently the tribe. So the situation of the Fon is primordial and should engage all our thinking.

b) Phase 2 can be our structural and infrastructural preoccupations, and that is when I think the issue of the Museum should be raised. At the moment it seems to distract us from the real issue. Notwithstanding the fact that a museum will also provide funds for the upkeep of the palace, those who know what it means to begin a museum will recognize immediately that a structure like this for Nso' is not an issue that is thought overnight and born the next day. It is a multi-million project which will CERTAINLY win much support from foreign and local funders. There are sufficient Wirfon who are involved in designing projects of this type and we can empower them when we are done with phase 1. So let us not be in a hurry and tackle too many things at a time. ONE PROJECT at a time and we see it through. The sustenance of the fon far overrides a museum at the moment, even if the two are not contradictory. Yes, we encourage the present efforts to begin collecting a few artifacts and putting them in a room for tourists to come and see. Excellent! But this is not to be considered yet as a museum for Nso'. A lot more is required; and we can all work towards that in phase 2.

c) Phase 3: Concentrate on the development of tributary fondoms and outreach. History helps us all to get to know where we came from and where we are moving to. In this way, the past can be used for the sake of mapping out the present and planning the future. Outside this, the past is as good as forgotten on several issues, otherwise people who want to live in the past, carry extra luggage for which they pay a heavy price. Life is lived in the present looking ahead, not backwards. And here one must caution against people who want to use history in a manner that lacks the full facts, analysis and correct interpretation. What one reads occasionally sometimes does not deserve the curtesy of a reaction, because there are parameters by which academics should examine issues.

Most of the history of African peoples today is a checkered account of migrations, subordinations, amalgamations and a result of long-standing accords. It would be difficult to find any tribe or ethnic group that can claim to be purely itself. The German Nazist leader, Adolf Hitler, was obssessed with such an idea of creating a “pure German race”. We all know what happened in the attempt and what the consequences have been ever since. So, any tribal history or activity that begins by wanting to disect the people will end up disecting even itself. That is why the concept of Wirfon, whoever brought it up, is in my mind the best appellation that we could have for ourselves. Wirfon come and can come from all stock and sundry.

2. Identification of Wirfon all over the world: If our 3-phased suggestions above are to work, we need to identify most Wirfon all over the globe. I am happy to see that any wirfon can arrive in practically any city of the world today, blow his whistle through Shundzev and others will come to his rescue. Shutav, this is one more red feather for you! The other day I was excited that our sister Victorine called me from Pontassieve in the northern Italian city of Florence (Firenze) to announce that they were starting a group of Wirfon Association. Great! That is the spirit and so it should continue all over the world.

I noticed that some people were developing cold feet because others were begining their village associations and groupings according to chiefdoms. In my opinion, more and more of such should happen because then it gives opportunity for Wirfon to come together and make a difficult case easier. So may more associations of Wirfon spring up everywhere!!! This when the role of NSODA becomes vital.The President of NSODA should make sure he is in touch with all these groups, go there and visit those that he can and discuss with them. At no time can we expect to ever have one umbrella association of all Wirfon. Ours is a unity in diversity; and so is the reality and beauty of the Nso' Fondom. The only sadness is when some of us begin to sow dissenting ideas into unsuspecting good people. These are the real enemies of unity and progress. But we all need to know that today, no human being or group can afford to work ALONE.

In Spain for example, the Catalans of Barcelona, have often thought that they were not real Spanish, but in practice there is no way they can pretend to act independently of the Spanish Monarchy. In the same way, the Welsh can claim independence, as they have done, but when it comes to talking about the United Kingdom, there is only ONE. Mutatis mutandis, the Bamoum or the Nditam cannot think that simply by going their way, they can REWRITE history and take away their links with Nso'. It is impossible, no matter how many learned scholars they set apart for this.

I say all this because I notice a very dangerous under-current among some of us who have had the chance to be formally educated in universities and higher schools of learning. True education is meant to make people more human, more united and more loving. In the scientific cum technological world that we are living in, every reasonable scientific analysis may begin with divergent views of experts but the strength of the hypothesis or principle which they propose, lies in their convergence. I am aware that there is a NATURAL human tendency to want to be known and seen; but there is no gain in dividing people because I want to be extricate myself from others who would otherwise shadow me! It does not help anyone either to promote meaningless groupings for the sake of starting a counter current to progress which stands to benefit everyone.

Only greedy people think first about what they stand to benefit from whatever is being done! Selfless souls always end up gaining more! So, whether we are Duiy, Nwerong, Nso' Mtar; whether we come from Mbiame, Nser, Nkar, Ndzerem, Oku or wherever, NO ONE ASKED TO BE BORN there, and there is no crime in being born where one comes from. There is no question here of who is right and who is wrong. What is important today is how we can pull together our resources to gain the COMMON GOOD. The role of NSODA, in my mind, is that of coordination and bringing together various groups. For this, we need people who have the natural tact for diplomacy and public relationship. Therefore, let us continue identifying all the Wirfon all over the globe, and let no Wirfon ever feel a stranger ANYWHERE. This leads to my third suggestion.

3. How to receive resources for the restoration and preservation of our patrimony: There are many ways which we already articulated in our last inputs. We would only want to add these three more urgent approaches which we hope can be tried out in the coming months. They touch on title holders in the diaspora; businessmen in Nso' and the Administration.

a) Title holders in the diaspora: We have heard of proud rulers like Woo Scandi, Woo Black Forest, Woo Toronto, Woo Edmonton etc. The Fon has also legitimately given titles to others abroad. This is pay-back time (man no run!!). Each of these title holders should within 3 months maximum identify all Wirfon in his country or state and be in touch with each personally. A 50Euro or 50Dollar or 50Pounds, or 50Yen per month, from each would be a reasonable mimimum. These monies are to be acknowledged over Shundzev and sent to Shutav for the moment. Shutav can immediately open an account for that!

b) Business men in Nso'land: From Wainama to Kuvlu'; from Ntur to Mbokam, we have responsible businessmen and women. For each village, the Secretary/President of NSODA should make personal contact with businessmen and women of goodwill in these places and a 100 frs per month will not be a bad start. These monies should be forwarded to Treasurer of NSODA who should acknowledge on Shundzev. Action can begin already from end of April 2012.

c) Administration in Nso': There is no way that any administrator in Nso' can be successful if things that concern the Fon are not also his preoccupation. The Nso' people are very peace-loving and good people, as long as you do not tresspass your limits and start fooling around with the Fon. At that moment, you are up against Bagdad Commandos! But this is an area that must be tackled with the greatest skill, for which I find Mayor Njong Donatus as the best qualified. He can make personal contacts and appeals to his colleagues of the administration of various parties and functions. If he does this on a monthly basis, quite some amounts will flow in. Again monies to be acknowledged over Shundzev and deposited into the same account of Shutav or NSODA.

I suggest that NO OTHER project be brought forward until we have settled this issue of the Fon. I call on 4 self-declared “shouters” to yell out if anyone would dare want to derail our coordinated plans. These, as you would expect are the fearless WOO TUNIR, the statistical BAA KEN (Sam Lamlen), the alert WOO SCANDI, and the mighty hawk, SHUU BIKI. You people should spare no one!!!! Anathema to whoever speaks the contrary.

Let us give ourselves, a few weeks of grace and launch into business at the end of APRIL 2012. No more talking.... All the Bongbatis, Mfuh, Manjong, every group that brings together Wirfon outside out of Bui Division, must declare what they have collected by end of April 2012. And from then on, every end of month, our exercise is carried out. If by April ending we have collected nothing, all title holders in the diaspora are stripped! Nyaa mo eh!!
Nyuy sevi Wirfon adzem on the entire globe
Tatah Mbuy

Nothing would be done at all, if a man waited until he could do it so well
that NO ONE would find fault with it. Bl. John Henry Newman, dixit Bernard Nso'kika Fonlon

Home Address
Tatah Humphrey Mbuy SD
Collegio Apostolico Leoniano 21,
Via Pompeo Magno 21,
00192, ROMA, Italia.
Tel. (0039) 06 32.80.21
Cell Phone: (0039)3312877620

University Address
Università Pontificia Salesiana
Facoltà di Scienze della Comunicazione Sociale,
Piazza dell' Ateneo Salesiana 1
00139, ROMA, Italia.

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