What Is Some Information About the African Bamileke Tribe?


Quick Answer

Some information about the Bamileke tribe includes that it is the dominant ethnic group in Cameroon's West and Northwest regions, and the tribe was originally known as the Mbam. Other information includes that the Bamileke are primarily farmers, and women play a large role in the production of agriculture.

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Full Answer

The Bamileke's villages follow a well-organized and structured pattern. As of 2105, the population consists of about 8 million people who dwell in 123 Bamileke villages in Northwest Cameroon and less than 10 villages in the Southwest. The Bamileke tribe is governed by a village chief. The chief, in turn, is advised by a council of elders.

In agricultural affairs, women are responsible for planting and harvesting due to the belief that women make the soil more fruitful for the major crops: yams, peanuts and maize. Men are primarily tasked with clearing the land and hunting. The group subscribes to patrilineal ancestry, defining inheritance and succession through the male line.

In pre-colonial times, the Bamileke practiced a shamanistic and animistic religion. After the French and British colonized their area of Africa, many Bamileke adopted Christianity; a few present-day natives practice Islam.

The group used to adorn themselves with elaborate costumes and staged inter-tribal ceremonies to display a particular tribe's wealth. The costumes included elaborate masks and feathered headdresses.

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