Htp to all of the family. Thank you for those who have joined the group and have expressed interest in Medumba and the Bamiléké languages. It is an honor to have the opportunity to present information about who we are, where we come from and our relationship to other Afrikan peoples.
The following reference is from the renown historian and anthropologist John Feyou de Hapi. He has written extensively about the many connections between the Bamiléké and Kemet/Kush.
Historically Bana’s citizens called themselves Pae’Noh (inhabitants of “holly” Noh), later transliterated Bana. The notion of Noh as a holly place has a deep history that finds its origin in the long exodus that brought Bamileke’s in the Grasslands of Western Cameroon between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. Law in classic Bamileke was passed on orally through royal academies. Pupils were trained by teachers named Tchindas. Though their primary role was to teach princes, they also carried leadership positions in various societies. According to the people of Nho, The Law was known by all and widely observed because it was culture. The people of Nho were called Bamileke’s by French colonial administrators. Anecdotally, a translator told them” “Pah-me-la-ke!” This translates: “People of Kah (Ke, Ka)!” where bame as it was transliterated, stood for “country”, la’Ke meant: country of Ke/Kah. Bamileke language being monosyllabic one word sometime has many meanings. Thus La-ke could also translate as “Soul/Survival/crab/alliance/Wisdom”). Ba-me-la-ke=Bamileke.
The correct transcription should have been Pameleke since Ba was really: Pa, when the translator spoke Nufi. Bamileke language was transcribed in Latin character and linguistic structure. It could have been instead and perhaps more accurately transcribed in Chinese character. Fact is just like Mandarin, Bamileke is mono syllabic. This matters because Latin’s rooted structure takes something away from Bamileke’s languages structure, clouding the meaning of certain words. Thus Ba-mi-le-ke, where each consonance has a particular meaning (Ba=people, mi or me=from, le or la=land and ke or ka=country side, mountain or valley, etc). Latinized it gives one word which is: Bamileke. When it comes to title and given name a wrong transcription can totally distort the meaning. Take for example the first king of Bamileke, HH Kalakeu (see picture at the end of this book). His name is really Ka-la-ke (three consonances) , where Ka stands for soul/wisdom, etc and La as well as Ke instead of Keu, verified the description given earlier. This transcription by itself gives its full credit to the king: the Soul of the countries of Ka/Ke (in other words La Ke; same roots found as suffix in Bamileke) whereas the Latin transcription gives room for confusion, since the name becomes one word: Kalakeu. To someone who has no notion of ancient Bamileke language it is impossible to seize the three words hidden in Kalakeu. This is particularly true for those generations of Bamileke’s or scholars that did not have a firsthand experience of Bamileke history to assist them in the understanding of the lost civilization. Kalakeu sobriquet in ancient Bamileke was “The Panther of LaKe”. Panther’s being the soul par excellence of kings, the notion of Ka as soul is hereby verified. We may note also that in ancient Egypt, Ka had a similar meaning.
The Dukedom of Bana (former Nho) got his name from an ancient place known as “Nho, No or Noh”. The term Noh, in Bamileke nufi means “royal dwelling or Holly place”. Noh is also the ancient name of Thebes in ancient Egypt. Bromiley in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia speaks of: “No-Amon, the Egyptian capital of Thebes…” (p.478-Bromiley, 1986). Various transcriptions of the name are found in the Bible and in other scholar’s works. In pre-colonial era the king was addressed as “Amoh!” Noh is still known as royal dwelling to this day. The name Bana finds its etymology in: “Ba” (from) and “Nho” [Nho, No, Noh] as aforementioned. Transliterated Na. Otherwise: Nho=Na. This gives: Bana; today district of Bana in the department of Haut-Kam, Western Cameroon.
Bromiley, George. “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.” 4 Vol. Set (1995–02-01), William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Revised, 4 Volume edition (1995–02-01), 1986, p. 478.
Feyou De Happy, Joseph. “Essence of Law: The legal system in XIXth c. Africa”, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 1999-01-01.
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