Focusing mainly on the development of rural areas, KELLAFRIQUE joined the global community to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. For this reason, the KELLAFRIQUE teams deported on August 02, 2019 to His Majesty Zoua Michel, traditional chief of the EFOULAN village.
1) Are you aware of the legal standards governing the protection of indigenous peoples?
Quite frankly, I don’t know the legal norms of indigenous peoples, but I have an idea of their protection, they are a minority.
2) With regard to the level of public authorities, do you feel that there is protection for indigenous peoples?
At the public level, I am not aware of it, there must be recognition of the legal norm in relation to indigenous peoples. Can non-indigenous peoples uproot the lands of indigenous peoples? Ripping is too much to say; that is, since we welcome them we welcome everyone unless they buy but they can’t rip them off.
3) Are there any Aboriginal peoples in your riding?
In Efoulan there is only one indigenous people, the Ewondo, i.e. the large ATEMENGUE TSOUNG-MBALLA family.
4) what is the history of this people?
There I will be a little brief around the 17th century the great Ekang group, that is to say the people of the great equatorial forest. Around the 17th Century they fled Arab Islamization on the side of Upper Egypt. when they flee this Islamization they find themselves on the banks of the Sanaga River in Cameroon; mysteriously they cross this great river with the help of ngang medja which means a mythical big snake that crossed this people of the Sanaga after the crossing my people settles on the high plateau of Atemengue where we bear the name ie. on the side of Ngoa ekelle and its surroundings ie. Obili, Melen, Biyem assi and on the hill of Mvolye which includes Efoulan, Nsam, Nsimeyong and more of that great behind my people took the command stick to guide the people Ewondo, Etega, Banè and Mbita mban briefly that’s right
5) What about succession?
Uh in relation to the succession we have our ancestor from TSOUNG-MBALLA there was Charles Atangana who was the superior chief, Abel Belinga who was the superior chief and the death of Martin Abega good hein years after Mrs. Assiga. But at the third degree leadership there was Mr. Onana Abega Jean, Mr. Abe Onana Sébastien and I am the third.
6) So women in the Ewondo tradition, especially that of Efoulan, can be leaders?
This is a long story.
7) I dare to believe that after you it will be a woman?
No, how to take a woman when there are men, that’s why I’m telling you it’s a long story.
8) Your perception of women’s governance?
The woman is very badly placed, a woman can be block leader, there are women block leaders, third degree village leader but at the higher level it is a little tricky for the woman. It is more serious in the upper chiefdom for women.
9) The nature of relationships with non-indigenous people?
In my community, really with non-indigenous people we have peaceful relations. There are no problems.
10) Do you think they are a little annoying?
No, they don’t bother you if you’ve given someone a piece of land and they’re quiet in their corner (that’s it).
11) What do you think of the invasion of the culture of non-indigenous people?
In this sense it really can’t discriminate because when we welcome you everyone must respect their tradition so don’t try to harm others. There are many of them, they have their homes, they do their culture there and we too when we have our events we invite them. That’s the way it is.
12) What are you doing to promote your culture?
The town hall wanted to create a learning centre (well, the project I don’t know what it is) to enhance the Beti culture.
13) who are the people who accompany you in the performance of your duties?
I have a policy in my chiefdom, I have set up a policy of living together because in my chiefdom my direct collaborators I have chosen them among the whole population, all the layers are there. That is to say, among my block leaders you find a person from the East, West, North.
14) And in case of a problem, how does it work?
When there is a problem in a block, the block leader takes care of it and reports back.
15) What are you doing about development?
Every time there is an event I call on all my people to contribute in a moral, physical and sometimes financial way. I make a statement addressed to the block leaders in the form of a circular. I am in the process of setting up a vigilance committee involving all social strata.
16) What is your relationship with the leaders of Mfoundi?
We have very good relations because we have a meeting of all the leaders of Mfoundi and here Yaoundé III we have a meeting of the leaders of Yaoundé III? So we are in constant contact. Every time there is an event you call and when you have a little problem, a problem that bothers you a little bit you can take advice.
17) Does the guarantor of tradition have to be a politician?
Moi je ne suis pas politicien et je n’apprécie pas ce genre de comportement. Un chef doit accueillir tout le monde, en matière politique vous voyez nous avons combien de partis politiques au Cameroun si tu pars te cacher derrière un parti politique et les autres qu’est ce qu’ils feront, tu vois donc que tu ne sers pas toutes tes populations. Un chef doit recevoir tout le monde, voilà donc moi je ne fais pas la politique.
18) What would you do if you were invited to a political meeting?
I will, I will assist I have no position to take I just assist and then and if there is an envelope I take if there is nothing I go in.
19) What do you think of the dowry in relation to the new penal code?
This law but they write their laws there. Because dowry is actually something sacred and I also regret that some people exaggerate. When you can ask someone for a million francs for your daughter, how will you do tomorrow, your son-in-law will no longer come to your house? You won’t even have a problem anymore? For me I’m not against the dowry, but don’t exaggerate, that’s my point of view.
20) And if a suitor brings 100,000 CFA francs, what would you say?
No, I respect my tradition you stay with your laws there because out of 100,000 you will pay how many goats to give to the family because men have to eat their goats and women their pigs and brothers-in-law the goat. You need the whisky, you need the red wine and that’s their right there, so you have to respect the tradition but by respecting it you don’t have to exaggerate, because there are families you come I want the watch, I want a plasma screen, I want the pots and pans I want…I want…no the dowry is the food, that is to say we give the goat to the father, the goat to the brother-in-law and the pig to the women and the fish and the juice, but we must respect our traditions.
21) What if he’s a billionaire?
I make the normal list to him, because we have to satisfy the family at the traditional level, that’s what I’m telling you and I’m clear on that.
22) How is the marriage process going?
The dowry has two phases, the first phase you come “knock on the door” when you come to knock on the door you have to bring something to your in-laws, the in-laws receive you to cook and drink and you are given the list of the dowry so the day you come back to give the girl, there is a first phase, you ask for your hand after this phase you are made to sit and eat, drink. The second phase is then the dowry itself, you present what you have brought to all the assistance is in a courtyard. We give you the woman and if you want we sign the deed itself, if it is programmed.
23) Are there any natural resources that belong to you?
There we have not benefited from any resources since the dawn of time. No resources there you have to be sincere. They are non-existent.
24) What is your greatest wish?
My wish is that public authorities and souls of good will if they can help me with my people, contribute with my people so that we can live peacefully. That is my greatest wish.
25) And if you had to help to realize a project, which one would it be?
That’s why I was talking about these aids at all levels, already the young people have become lazy some are struggling to do something but some are the “tramol” and the Indian chamvre.
26) What is His Majesty’s favorite dish?
Uh, I eat everything. I don’t have a favorite food.
27) Is there a dish that the Atemengue particularly like?
Everyone tastes good, someone can tell you that I am the “nkoa Ntonè”, the other one will tell you that I like pork or sanga.
Does His Majesty have a Facebook account?
No, no, no, my phone is just calling to receive.
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