King Ibrahim Mbouombouo Njoya (1867-1933) of Bamum, Western Cameroon, had 600 wives and 177 children.

Out of fear that important historical facts of the Bamum could be erased or corrupted, he developed the Bamum alphabet of 70 symbols and a writing system to preserve his kingdom’s oral history which the French later destroyed.

Njoya, as part of ways to ensure the written language was widely adopted, established schools and directed that the Bamum language be used as a form of instruction along with the German language.

Njoya was a very brilliant king who also invented a hand-powered corn grinder.After World War I, France took over German territories and subsequently took control of Cameroon.

You may like to read: The Nso and the Bamum: Distant Relatives. And Frenemies?

The French who felt threatened by the achievements of King Njoya banned the use of his writing system and destroyed his printing press, libraries, and several books he had written.He was later sent into exile to Yaoundé in 1931, where he died in 1933.

He was 66.Whenever King Njoya coughed or cleared his throat, everyone present was required to clap hands.

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