Foumban: A warrior responsible of the security of the Sultan King shoots into the air during the start of the inauguration ceremony of the new Bamoun Kings Museum.—AFP
Foumban: A warrior responsible of the security of the Sultan King shoots into the air during the start of the inauguration ceremony of the new Bamoun Kings Museum.—AFP

FOUMBAN: To enter the Museum of the Bamoun Kings in western Cameroon, you have to pass under the fangs of a gigantic two-headed snake — the highlight of an imposing coat of arms of one of the oldest kingdoms in sub-Saharan Africa.

Thousands of Cameroonians gathered in the royal palace square in Foumban on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the Museum of the Bamoun Kings.

Sultan King Mouhammad Nabil Mforifoum Mbombo Njoya welcomed 2,000 guests to the opening of the museum located in Foumban — the historic capital of the Bamoun Kings.

The royal family, descendants of a monarchy that dates back six centuries, attended the event dressed in traditional ceremonial attire with colourful boubous and matching fezes.

Griot narrators in multicoloured boubous played drums and long traditional flutes while palace riflemen fired shots to punctuate the arrival of distinguished guests which included ministers and diplomats. Then, princes and princesses from the Bamoun chieftaincies performed the ritual Ndjah dance in yellow robes and animal masks.

For Cameroon, such a museum dedicated to the history of a kingdom is “unique in its scope”, Armand Kpoumie Nchare, author of a book about the Bamoun kingdom, said. “This is one of the rare kingdoms to have managed to exist and remain authentic, despite the presence of missionaries, merchants and colonial administrators,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2024

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