Mbalmayo: A safe haven for Cameroon’s cultural diversity

Mbalmayo chief town of the Nyong and So’o Division, Centre region is home to over eighty thousand Cameroonians.

It is located at the banks of the Nyong River between Ebolowa and Yaounde.

Mbalmayo covers a 144km2 surface area with the Otoloa, Mvog Ndi, Inkwe, Mvog ethnic groups dominating. However the Bassas, Bamilekes and Hausas are also strongly implanted in Mbalmayo.

The Mbalmayo get its population complexity from the history of the area.

Due to the hospitality of the people, many Cameroonians quickly become interested in the agricultural potential of the area.

The people of Mbalmayo consequenly embraced the diversity especially in culture, of the thousands that flocked in over-time.

As if to completely assimilate other tribes in Mbalmayo, Mr Ibrahim Bouba a Hausa is 4th assistant Mayor at the Mbalmayo council since 2013.

Obeck: a neighbourhood of peaceful coexistence

Unlike other neighbourhoods, Obeck was named after a bakery owned by a French citizen who settled in Mbalmayo.

The residents are predominently Cameroonians of the English speaking regions, the bamilekes and others of Sudano Sahel ethnic groups.

These people of diverse ethnic groups, have been integrated into the decision making process of their community.

Akom Emmanuel, an internally displaced mechanic from the North West region, has made Obeck his new home.

“My family and I have been in Obeck in the past two years. Mbamayo is home away from home for us. Even if the crisis ends in the North West and South West regions, I may go home but having in mind that I have found family here too.’’

The 66 year old leader of the Hausa community Zackari Souley is one of the perfect examples of peaceful coexistence.

He is married to six women of different origins; one from Batouri, Akanolinga, Dzeng, Garoua and Obala.

He says he lives peacefully with all his wives and children.

 Mbalmayo: The arts and craft that attract many dealers

Those visiting Mbalmayo are welcomed by arts and crafts.

Craftsmen produce items such as drums, baskets, beds, wooden gongs and mortars.

The wood from the equatorial forest and animal skin from the northern regions provide raw materials.

Many youths from the West region, North West and the northern regions see Mbalmayo as the perfect place to be initiated in the trade.

Dealers in arts and craft nationwide come to purchase Mbalmayo’s arts and craft.

Mbalmayo stands as a perfect example of a national village.

 Bruno Ndonwie Funwie

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