Women are threshing guinea corn in Chikide (Gwoza Hills).


Northern Montagnards

This page aims to introduce the life, environment and material culture of the peoples of the northern Mandara mountains of N Cameroon and NE Nigeria



The peoples of the Mandara mountains are often referred to as kirdi, a rather derogatory term often translated as pagan. The epistomology of the word is instrinsically linked to the history of slavery to which montagnards were exposed for hundreds of years. In the past the mountains provided a safe haven against slave raids but they also had other environmental advantages such as higher rainfalls. The latter is still of great importance for the mountain farmers who cultivate their land under the harsh conditions of the Sudano-Sahelian zone.

The Northern Mandaras are, with between 100 and 250 inhabitants per sq/km, very densely populated. The intensive agricultural system is very labour intensive and farmers keep stall feeding domestic stock in order to fertilise the terrace fields.

Please visit Mandaras Publishing to find access to web presentations of field materials and to other electronic works for downloading as well as to print publications and CDs. The slide show below gives a brief insight into the complexeties of montarnards' ritual life. More images and ethnographic information (including the use of linguistic fonts) about the bull festival can be found at Mandaras Publishing.

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The Mafa bull festival

This slideshow is about the bull festival of Zlama in the year 2000. Zlama is a Mafa mountain village in Cameroon.



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