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Lawyer Wants Bafanji Name Changed 

By Marceline Chick

CameroonPostline.com — Barrister S. N. Tonshie, Sub-Chief of one of the Bafanji villages in Ngoketunjia Division, Northwest, has said that Bafanji is a distorted name given to his tribe.

The lawyer was analysing these facts in his recently published book titled, "Fieh-Lunglue-

Mangie (Bafanji History)".

Tonshie said Bafanji´s original name was Fieh (Case), derived from the dynastic quarrels over the throne amongst the princes of Ndobo, from where they migrated.

He said this name existed until the 18th Century when Zintgraft visited their village with a Mungaaka vernacular interpreter who described Fieh-Lunglue-Mangie to the European explorer as Ba-faahje, meaning hungry people (in Bali Nyonga).

The author lamented that his people were so skeletal at the time because of hunger, which attracted the name.

He said the English colonial masters and, subsequently, the Government, adopted this name.

Tonshie cited the case of Victoria which was renamed Limbe by former President Amadou Ahidjo, to ward off the yoke of colonialism.

He said Bamessing, a Tikari group from Ndobo, went back to their ancestral name Nsei, to run away from the derogative meaning of Bamessing.

The lawyer told his kinsmen that posterity will hold them accountable if the name Bafanji is maintained.

Besides the change of name, Barrister Tonshie, in his book, paints a picture of the people’s growth and life expectancy of the Fieh-Lunglue- Mangie people, the traditional, religious societies and the historic background of the Fieh-Lunglue- Mangie.

He further describes Fieh people in early wars with her neighbours, and how they conquered the aborigines of Pehpoh, Mbedjie, Mbalue, Mbatuoh and others without much stress and confrontations.

The author also focused on the political orientation adopted, settlement and the developments that came after. He talks of the dynastic heritage of the Fieh chiefdom, origin and genealogy chart, and their achievements.

Tonshie disclosed that the objective of the 160-page book is to provide a reference document for the Fieh chiefdom and to expose their culture and identity to the outside world.

The author said some of the obstacles he faced while writing the book were financial constraints and the lack or scarcity of reference books on the subject.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01338

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