Ndieh Celebration

The Bakossi Thanksgiving

By Chief/Nhon George Enongene

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
— Marcus Garvey

1.  Introduction:

The Ndieh celebration is the Thanksgiving Ceremony in Bakossiland. The Bakossi believe that the dead are not exclusively dead; they play the mediator between the Living and God.  In the summer of every year, a particular day is designated for the people to commune with the ancestors. Each village decides their celebration date.  The chosen date is announced by no else but Sango Muankum, the cultural Policeman, the governor, the judge, the overseer, the landlord, the god of the land, to say the least. He will give tall orders to the entire community to have the whole road network cleaned, and sanctions all the women to stock food at home and reserve their best harvest for the august occasion.

The voice of Sango Muankum is louder than an amplifier and it is as petrifying as it is obligate and compelling and not without metastasis.  His speed is supersonic, and he can travel through the whole Bakossiland in a split second. As a kid, I used to imagine from his loud and vigorous voice how gigantic and frightful he can look. However, I was thrown at a loss, and kept wondering whether he is human or spirit, but I have reason to believe he is a spirit. His metallic rules are hardly breached, and his fines are hefty as well. He is arguably the most esoteric and mysterious of Bakossi jujus. When he is out there, all lighting’s (lamps and electricity) are abruptly shot down without contest because he works and walks better in darkness and light is said to impair his sight and vision and he levies very lofty fines to defaulters. He never comes out during full moon. If he does, he limits himself to the opaque and sinister shrine, the same holds if he decides to come out during the day, which however is rare except there’s something very ominous and emergent. You can only see him if you are initiated in his world, and the fee is no sinecure, and paying the fee is no guarantee that you will see him. If you are stubborn and head strong, you can hunt him for nine days and nights during initiation before you can behold his tail. Initiation into this judicial juju society is synonymous to a military academy. Whenever I think of him and his activities, not only does my heart skip some beats, but I also sweat profusely. This is one of the highest ingenuities in Bakossiland that I know of.




The Litany of the Ancestors is the highlight of this Feted Thanksgiving. This libation is a kind of cultural prayer channeled through the ancestors to the Almighty God. The Bakossi believe that the dead are not really dead. When we commute to commune, we palpate the ancestors, we feel their presence, and we table our turmoil, our pain, our cravings and all to them.


Ah hey Mbuog! Assembly Nyeah

Ah hey Ekoose! Assembly Nyeah

Nye hey’meh hane! Assembly sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Ampeh! Assembly sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully         

All the ancestors of Bakossiland

From North to South

All the roads have been cleaned and cleared


All the nine drums have been beating in cadence and tempo

And we start from Ngoe himself the founder of the land

And all his sons and their offspring

Bring along with you the Ngwem and Muesee

And fill these with all the blessings and good stuff


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Abongoe eh

Anongoe eh

Asumengoe eh

Etanengoe eh

Mbuongoe eh

Mekundamengoe eh

Menamengoe eh

Ngemengoe eh, neh

Nguelngoe eh

And all their descendants

From North to South


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Ancestors, you are the pacesetters of what we’re doing here today

Today’s deliberation is ours

It is known around the world and beyond

That America where we live today is an elephant


The Bakossi have not yet gotten a share of this elephant

That is why we’re pleading with you today

That every Nkoose in America

Should grow from strength to strength


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

In the past people showcased their might

By the strength of their fist

Winning wars and holding the enemy captive

And brandishing a Red Feather on their Hat

To betoken prowess and greatness


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Today’s prowess is exhibited in education

And talents

Assembly is it not true?  Yeahhhhhh


Wealth was measured by the number

Of domestic animals owned

Such as cows, goats, cocks, hens


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Today education is all and all

It brings enlightenment

As well as wealth and health


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

That is why we are pleading with you today

Those who have graduated from schools

Small as well as advanced degrees

Seeking employment and guidance


America is going through a financial turmoil

Unemployment is increasing in geometrical progression

Ancestor, make sure for ever y five people employed

There is one Nkoose amongst them

So that in future we can also

Get represented in the inner circle



Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Some of ours are still in schools

We are pleading with you, when they take their tests

Let them do it once and for all


We plead for our relatives in Cameroon

Who graduated from schools and are jobless

Some of whom are seeking visas to the West

A simple knock at the Embassy door

Tantamount to a visa


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Those who are already here in the West

Seeking employment papers

We pray that you loosen their knots

For the growth of Ekoose


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

The man who has a representation in the inner circles

 At home and abroad

As well as a regent at the home’s Nchib

He will always chew the cud from two fronts

Can he ever be a loser? Assembly noooooooooo!


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

We supplicate for Education, Employment, Wealth, and Health

Marriages, Births, Peace of mind, Enlightenment, and Growth

So that Ekoose can also grow. Assembly not so? YEAH


This generation of ours was molded by our parents

Who are toiling in cocoa and coffee farms at home

Though the value of these crops has been panel-beaten to nothingness

We are beckoning on you today, to bless their harvest

Let these plants bear fruits from their roots to the leaves


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Bless wine flow peacefully

Those who cultivate cocoyam, cassava, corn, plantains

And other subsistent crops

We implore that you bestow your ancestral blessings on these crops

So that orphans can survive


This is how a good community should look like!

Not so Assembly? Yeahhhhhhhhh


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Medicinal herbs used to play a significant role in Ekoose

We pay reverence to our then traditional doctors:


Elias Ebwelle’Ajuerh of Ekambeng

Ferdinand Nkumbe and Victor Ndialle of Muasum

Sango Nja’Mbulle of Paola

Abraham Kambe of Muabi

Fabian Saah of Muabi

Sango Etah’Elah of Muabi

Sango Long Boy of Muelong

Sango Ekukwe of Nyan

Nicholas Nsughli of Mbid’Elah

Sango Ndape Ebwelle of Muagwekan                                     

Sango Alunghe’Ekane of Njom

Sango Epie’Ndelle and Ngub’Ndalle of Muaku

Sango Ngolegambe of Epenebel

Sango Mbine of Nkach

Sango Epie’Megalle of Ebonemin

Prophet Adolf Ngolle of Nkach

Alias Ndongo Bedimu


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

We are beseeching you

All the good knowledge of herbs, foresight and intuition

That you were clad with

Kindly hand these down to us

So that when we dream

We see a particular herb that cures a particular disease

Assembly not so! Yeah


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

As you all know, the Bakossi man is very hospitable

The little we have we eat and share with the stranger

Do you associate a Bakossi man with greed?

Assemble!  Noooooooooooo!


Ancestors, the type of jobs we do here in America

Are over stretching us

And we have little or no time to visit our wives for continuity

This translates enjoyment into sorrow


When the white man deceive us with five dollars

He takes back four dollars in the name taxes and bills

The one dollar left we usually split it and send part home

For the vertical and horizontal growth of Ekoose

Assembly am I lying? Nooooooooo!


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

We are craving you for good jobs

So that we can have time to multiply

The Ekoose population

Assembly not so! Yeahhhhhh


We also have young men and women

Seeking marriage and prosperity

But our young men have opened the doors

For Akata boys to hold our daughters ransom

We plead for a reverse of this demeanor

Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

We thank you for the good things that happened to us last year

We are still asking for more

You are not unaware of the insatiate nature of man

You are our sole mediator to God the Almighty


We also had some mishaps last year

We entreat you to cleanse the Bakossiland

Of all bad omen

So that we can prosper

Assembly not so? Yeahhhhhh


One fowl with seven chickens

Three cocks and four hens

Two cocks slaughtered for stranger entertainment

The lone cock and the other four chickens

Will sustain production continuity


So that Ekoose should continue to grow

Cameroon should grow as well

Even America which has become our abode

Should continue to prosper

Assembly not so?  Yeahhhhhh


Anyone who says he does not love the Bakossi man

Or who wishes the Bakossi man ill luck

And sees a good thing going the Bakossi way

And looks on the Bakossi man as a chimpanzee in human dressing

That kind of person will never see sun light

Assembly not so? Yeahhhhhh


Nzom’peeobeeeeh! Blessed wine flow peacefully

Anyone who wishes to throw a Bakossi man

On thorns or burning grass

Will inadvertently throw us on lush grass

From which we will grow from strength to strength

Assembly not so? Yeahhhhhh



Epoll, Mbonghee, Nkolengo,

Ah hey yu!



For a downloadable version of this text please click on “Ndieh


Chief/Nhon George Enongene (Emeritus Cultural Chair of BACDA USA)


The Ndieh celebration holds an important slot in Bakossi folklore. In those days, when a given year was famine stricken, during the Ndieh, the ancestors were evoked, palpated besought, pleaded with and the following year there was abundance. Kids who could not pass exams, when they were given the Head Mimbo, the ensuing semester, they passed their exam in flying colors. Women who had child bearing problems, when they brought a blessed plantain from the Ndieh, kept it under the bed, roasted it after three days, ate it with palm oil and stepped into the bed with their husbands, miracles happened. Businessmen whose businesses were deteriorating, when they got ancestral blessing, business started booming. Bad omen, mishaps, misfortunes were washed away to the hinterlands and the evil pond (Ndip’eyuk).


At home every village decides when to hold the Ndieh; however, it is very often than not during the month of November or December for every village. Every village has a shrine which is contoured by special giant trees with three entrances, the significance of which are still obscure and wrangling to me. In the middle of the shrine is a specialty hut built of a thatch roof and fern sticks walls from the Muanenguba forest. The interior of the hut is clad with the bark of special trees laced with special grass and thatches. This hut also has three doors as well and the custodian of the hut enters the cabin going backwards. The reason for this demeanor is mysterious and I will not afford to bore you with the particulars.

In Washington DC, initially we matched our Ndieh calendar with the home calendar every November. However, November seems to be cold enough to be annoying especially for the kids at the heart of winter. So, we moved it to October for suitability and comfort reasons. We pleaded with the ancestors for this amendment.


The custom requires the grandees of the community to meet at the shrine in the evening following the Thanksgiving Day to perform specialty rituals. The best farm harvests, palm wine, kola nuts, the most delicious cuisine and special plantains are brought into the shrine for ancestral blessing. During this Ritual, a skillful cultural orator evokes the ancestors, pleads with them and presents our wants and cravings such as education, jobs, wealth, marriages, births, happiness, and peace. All these pleas are sighed in a series of odd numbers. This is graced with a concatenation of cultural poetic lyrics. We queue to and from the shrine singing praises to the gods of the land.  The rest of the evening is spent wining and dining, and discord has no room during this time of the year as this could derail the ancestors. The following day, all the community roads lead to the shrine.

6. After the libation, there is an interlude of cultural lyrics and Mbwen.  During this ritual of Mbwen, every participant recounts his appellations, retraces his achievements, setbacks and unusual occurrence in his life to grace the occasion. This is usually spontaneous and spur of the moment.




The kola nut talks in Ekoose.  When a man stands up to throw the kola nut, he needs to have not only a level head but also a clean mind and coherent talk. If you want to throw the kola nut without reconciling thought and physique, this imbalance throws you out of the loop. You have to put yourself together, to say the least.  The kola nut has four and sometimes five pieces. For it to say yes, one of the four or five pieces will face to a different direction and the other four or five will face towards the same direction which is either up or down. Do not take the kola nut cheaply in Ekoose, it is a mind reader. Those who throw the kola nut are chosen from each clan, village of quarter depending on the magnitude of the occasion and representation. If you speak incoherently before throwing the cola nut, the cola nut will be incoherent.




Head Mimbo is blessed wine on which libation was done; it is given to those who chose to drink it for ancestral blessing laced with a piece of kola nut that said yes to our ancestral request.  In the distant past, kids who failed exams, when they got the head mimbo, the ensuing semester, they just went right through. Women who had child bearing trouble, when they were given the head mimbo, and a plantain from the Ndieh, put this plantain under the bed for three days, roasted it and ate with palm oil. When they stepped into the bed with their husbands, miracles happened. Nsooooooooooo! Businessmen whose business were dwindling, when they were given the head mimbo, business started booming. Nsooooooooooo!


After the Head Mimbo ritual, everyone takes a blessed plantain home, keeps it under the bed and roasts it after three days and eat with palm oil for ancestral blessing.


There is some controversy that exists between some religious believers and traditionalists. Very often than not, believers look at Ndieh as demonic, profane and sacrilegious. However, before the arrival of the missionaries on the African coast, Africans believed in a Supreme Being, and they worshiped this Supreme Being in various ways depending on the milieu. The Bakossi worshiped God through the Ndieh before colonialism. America is a very religious and pious country, but they do have a memorial day. On this day they visit the tombs of their Dead Ones for whom they had too much love and evoke their souvenirs. The Memorial Day has a common bond with Ndieh, but the church is politely ignoring these fine details and erroneously gives culture a blasphemous and impious label.