Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Original Settlers of Victoria

The debate about the indigenes of Victoria is a very complicated one. We have seen this with the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. That is even the more reason why the issue becomes complex. The Palestinians who were born there before 1948 do not understand why Israel would say it is her land, but the Israelis who have kept close touch with their annals cannot believe that anyone would even debate about the ownership of the land. Many have tried to introduce a quasi-timeline that was not good enough to place the Bakweri and Bassas as the original settlers of Victoria, but they have failed. By the way; it does not mean that because Bassa before Konde and the Bakweris before Dr Mbua were not indigenes, does not mean Pro. Konde and Dr. Mbua cannot be indigenes considering that that is where they were born. That is the only place they know as the place of their forebears. Notwithstanding, this treatise is to support the historical narratives that the Bayangs were the original settlers of Victoria who later moved northwards in search of fertile farmlands since the people were initially all subsistent farmers.

"But according to Mola Richard Moki Monono:
The Coastal Bantus of the Cameroon as Dr Ardener stated constitute the northern most community of Bantus in Africa, the bulk of the Bantus are actually in Central, East and of course Southern Africa. I don't know if the Coastal Bantus migrated from Congo . However, we Bakwerians or Doulas do not find anything shameful about being related to Congolese."

Why would it be implausible for the Banyangs to be the first settlers of Victoria if they are Bantus? We are not talking about their origins, we are tracing the first settlers. Someone may still come from London and be the first resident in a given house before even those who live in that area. The Bayangs lived there first, so they should be given the privilege to rule the place.

Some people have argued that the distant is too far for them to have migrated. Take note that most of the coastal inhabitants are Bantus. Is it easier to migrate from Congo to the Maritime region rather than from the Maritime region to Mamfe? The argument about distance is unfounded because if the cattle rearers of the Far North Province could walk from Makari with their cows to the South West then the Bayangs can as well walk from Victoria to Manyu Wonderland.

Others have posited that if the the Banyangs lived there they should have left their footprints with names. They argue that the Banyangs did not leave any villages named after them, and that they did not leave people with their names everywhere. This argument too is far-fetched looking at certain modern day scenarios. Since the Asians have China town in California it means they were the first settlers there. After all almost everyone there has an Asian name. That argument is untenable. While a name may tell you where you come from, it does not tell who first settled in a place. We are not debating about origin; we are debating about the first settlers of Victoria. Names may reflect your origin and may indicate your passage via a place but then, the Banyangs were not involved with a lot of writing. Isn’t it today and nowadays that many of your villages have names? How many of our villages have signboards in their local languages? How many have street names or other major artifacts in their local languages. How did you expect them to write in those days if today when technology is almost present everywhere people are not writing?

Some people have contended that Alfred Saker never ever mentioned the Banyangs as the first settlers of Victoria. Their source is spurious as you know that the explorers revised a lot of historical data to justify their acts. Consequently, we cannot endorse the narratives of Alfred Saker over those of my great grand father.

The Bassas and Bakweris having failed to unveil lucidly and fluidly the migration and emigration timeline within the suburbs of Victoria, this author has decided to do so with anachronisms. It is difficult to pinpoint the migration and emigration of the Bassas and Bakweris (with written history since there was none)rather than tribal surmisal of clans that have existed in Victoria from so called clans men like Pa Ndoko and KOnde’s own orator. There has not been a clear timeline, archeological data, and cultural artifacts: customs and traditions, dances, food, dress and languages that would determine the first people who settled Victoria.

The Bakweris do not have a more authentic account than the Bassa. Both groups are land grabbers who have failed to recognize the original settlers-Banyangs. The Bassas and Bakweris have written the history with a different proclivity and an intended purpose to displace the Banyangs.

We have seen two people from the same village write two different accounts about the history of their tribe. If not there would not have been the fight for chieftaincy in BesongAbang between Late Chief Dr Enownchong and chief Tanyi-Tambe or the internal fights in Bachuo-Akabe and Bachuo-Ntai for that long.

The very first proof to show that the Bayangs first lived in Victoria is the remnant of language residuals. Many people in Victoria area spoke Kenyang and most even carried Manyu names. Kenyang has often been regarded as the superior language in the whole of South West. Though languages may evolve, it is easier to determine the language tree from which all other varieties emanated. The autochthones’ language is always looked upon as the mother language even when they are a conquered people. So it is still possible to determine the aborigines from the mother or dominant language.

Furthermore, after careful perusals and critical thinking of the Bassa and Bakweri languages and seeing the number of borrowed Kenyang words in these languages, one can conclude that Bayangs settled Victoria first. More so, the existence of Kenyang root words that have been transposed into the languages of the people around Victoria means that the Banyangs were the first there.

A second proof to determine original settlers will be a timeline. The Bassas and Bakweris begin in the median. Did you realize that the dotard of 101 years old who gave Dr Konde his interview could have been the fourth or fifth generation telling the story? Looking at the narratives of Pa Ndoko one would conclude that it is each of their lands because the narratives are what they met. However, my own orator who gave me the oral history was 125 years old. Therefore, he has more authenticity and proper information than the two old men who came after him. In those days they were stronger than the 90 years old “Agrics” that we have today. Pa Matthias in Bambui village was still walking close to two miles to and fro church at 125. Any Bambui person in the house?

Just by forwarding a theory that Victoria belongs to the Bayangs does not make me an evil person. The Bayangs were the original owners of the Victoria Land, but when the Bakweris came and were always taking their women, they decided to run and leave the place to save their love lives at least. How does that become a Bakweri land because the Banyangs ran and left the place?

A third proof to show that the Banyangs were the original settlers was the anachronistic Belle Sumbu. One of the major characteristics to show that a group passed somewhere will be anachronisms. The Bakweri traditional dance of man and woman holding each other and the Bassa Asiko like the Bottle Dance are all copycats of Belle Sumbu (Band Dance) when the Banyangs first lived there. That is an indisputable proof of assimilation and acculturation and a residue of a glaring artifact.

Some have argued that being a tenant means you are not the landlord. Thus the idea of paying rents becomes a very weak argument because in Douala and Bonaberi conurbation, apart from the suburbs like Bonadale, Bonadibong, and some other parts, most Daualas living there pay rents. Land tenure quickly changes hands where there is frequent and high migration. You have heard about Bayangs who owned and distributed land. The Bakweris and Bassas are merely the newcomers to Victoria.

Surprisingly you find that the change of land ownership is not interrelated between those in Victoria and Palestine. It does. It does in that there are places in the South West province that if someone told you that the first people who lived there were from North West province you would not deny it because they have been the ones living there from generation to generation since their original swamp dwellers have left for fear of intermingling with metics and outlanders.

Should we then conclude that the European migrants were the first to reach America? Did they meet anyone called the American Indian?. Does that mean that the European migrants were the original settlers of present day America? Who seems to be paying rents now? Does that mean that Columbus discovered the place? Perhaps since the American Indians are paying rents now, they are the last settlers.

Just because the Bayangs have now become the tenants does not mean they were not the original settlers. Those of us who are in the line of chief will support written history over oral tradition because by virtue of the historical documents that exist, there is a timeline that can be traced. If we make oral history to afloat written history then everything we have that will link us directly to the throne becomes redundant. We should avert relying on deficient and thus impotent narratives from proselytized bystanders who are now like the canons of the oral history of Victoria.

Therefore, now that regional leadership is dependent on the original settlers, the Banyangs should stake a claim on Victoria and how to rule it.

Until then, the Bassa and Bakweri should both vacate Victoria for the rightful owners- the Bayangs.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk).Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk).Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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