Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Palace of the Fon of Babungo

The father of the current Fon of Babungo created one of the great traditional wooden mask collections in the area. Babungo is about 12 km outside of Ndop down a red dirt road. You can get there for about 500 cfa. The town itself, situated around a very colorful market and the Congo Bar, is a lively little place and the palace is just a little outside of town. When you arrive, one of the Fon's wives will greet you and offer you a tour of the place for 2000 cfa. You might be able to bargain her down. The price is high, but once you get in, you'll probably feel okay about having paid it. It is an amazing collection of masks. Room after room. They even have an African version of Lord Shiva. The current Fon's father made a trip to India was fascinated by the many armed god and had his carvers make an African version. The wife who met us is a very very very hard bargainer. But keep trying and you can get some good bargains.
The current Fon, pictured here, HRH Fon Ndofoa Zofoa III, was a very nice man. We met him in Ndop and he invited us to a ceremony marking the death of an important traditional healer. The ceremony was great and we were very honored to be there as his guest.
This is one of the videos we took.

The Fon of Bambalang HRH, Fon Fosi Yakum-Ntaw, RIP.

This is the Fon of Bambalang, a poor but very beautiful village about 15 kilometers off the paved Bamenda-Ndop Road. You can get a moto to take you there for about 1000 cfa. The Fon was a great man who helped us a lot in our charitable work while we were there. He made his driver available to us and fed us local food in elaborately set dinners on several occassions. He arranged a cultural show for us at his palace and never asked for anything. He was a well educated man and was very interested in our work and our lives. About a month after these photos were taken, he died. We're not sure what the cause was. But we thought it appropriate that our first post be a tribute to him.

For more photos, you can see this gallery.

Or this one