By Christopher Ambe
|Prince Fike Monono talking to the press in Buea|
The All-Fako Cultural Festival, which went in to comatose many years ago due to disagreements among the chiefs ,will be revived in grand style come December 17 ,with Fako-America( an association of Fako elements living and working in the USA) being the main sponsor ,it was decided on January 16 at the Great Soppo Chief’s Palace in Buea.
The brain behind the revival of the cultural jamboree,which will take place in the Division, is Fako-America, which has opted to sponsor the event that is intended to showcase the rich cultural aspects of the ethic groups of Fako Division of the Southwest region of Cameroon. The Ethnic groups of Fako include the Bakweri, the Mungos and the Balongs
The decision to revive mbando was reached during a brief but important meeting at the Palace of the Chief of Great Soppo organized by Fako chiefs to welcome the President of Fako America Prince Edwin Fike Monono and his delegation.
To show their seriousness, some seven committees with designated chairpersons and members have already been put in place and empowered to swing in to action ASAP.
|Fako Chiefs in family picture with Fako-US Delegation|
The committees include: Coordination, Finance, Culture, Logistics, Publicity, Protocol and Entertainment. The Chair of the Coordination Committee is Chief Ekum Epupa, who is President of Fako Chiefs’ Conference.
Welcoming his guests, host and Chief of Great Soppo,Etina Monono,expressed happiness that Fako-America has opted to help revive mbando,which he said started in 1996 with Chief Ephraim Inoni ,former Prime Minister((now imprisoned) as one of the founding fathers.“We hope the situation would improve and Chief Inoni will be with us soon”, Chief Eitina observed. He would later explain to inquisitive reporters that his hope for Chief Inoni, who was sentenced to 20 years for embezzlement of state funds, is rooted in the fact that the ex-premier had filed an appeal against the judgment at the Supreme Court, convinced that justice will be done and he will be discharged and acquitted.Speaking at the ceremony, Prince Fike Edwin Monono, president of Fako-America and ardent promoter of cultural values, disclosed that Fako-America decided to sponsor the revival of mbando and thought it necessary to dispatch a delegation to Cameroon to seek the approval of the chiefs, who are custodians of culture and tradition.
|Ngania ,Bakweri cultural dance, displays at the ceremony|
He regretted that mbando, a festival that promoted the cultural richness of the Fako people had gone to sleep for many years after it was launched in 1996. He called for unity among Fako chiefs and elite, noting that unity is a booster to meaningful development and that culture is a people’s identity.
Another condemnation of unity among Fako people especially Bakweri chiefs came from, Mola Sammy Ndive of Fako -America, an oncology research scientist who has lived in the USA for over 40 years.
“Let people not take out leniency for weakness”, he warned, adding that the Bakweri people are very welcoming but would fight against detractors. He recalled the bravery of the Bakweri who, he said, were the first to fight and defeat the German colonialists.
Speaking on behalf of the Fako Chief’s Conference was its secretary-General Chief John Njie Mokossa.He commended the initiative of Fako-America and promised the full support of the chiefs to ensure that coming festival will be a landmark event.
“I want to say that there’s something in the horizon. A bird is singing and things will be fine soon”, Chief Mokossa quipped.
|Musician Tata Kinge sings to the dancing pleasure of chiefs|
The reception was graced by the presence of the Paramount Chief of Buea,SML Endeley who recently celebrated his 90th birth day. Chief SML Endeley,it was announced, is the Honorary President of the mbando.
Traditional dance(ngania) ,choral singing as well as musical displays (by two prominent Bakweri musicians Tata Kinge and Andy Manyaka),gave a foretaste of what the mbando,which is similar of the ngondo festival celebrated by Douala chiefs, will look like.