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Society and Change in Bali Nyonga

Critical Perspectives

Jude Fokwang, Kehbuma Langmia

Publication Year: 2011

Contemporary Bali Nyonga is a rapidly growing town of over 80,000 in habitants, sixteen kilometres southwest of Bamenda, the capital of the North West region, Cameroon. If Cameroon has been aptly referred to in many circles as Africa in miniature, then Bali Nyonga, since its founding in the mid 19th century is emblematic of this so-called ìmulticulturalî region. This book is about change in Bali Nyonga, but it is also about change in a typical postcolonial African setting grappling with a challenging new world reality. It aims to provide cutting-edge analyses of cultural change in Bali as well as inspire a new kind of scholarship in the Cameroon Grasslands ñ championed by indigenous intellectuals. The contributors to this volume come from diverse academic backgrounds and as will be evident in the various chapters, their disciplinary perspectives have largely shaped their approaches to the topics under study. Hence, this book draws on anthropological, theological, literary and media studies perspective.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-ii

Table of Figures

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pp. iii

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pp. v-viii

The initiative for this volume began three years ago largely from informal discussions among scholars of Bali descent inspired by the need to build on the legacy of previous authors who have contributed considerably to our knowledge of Bali Nyonga. As editors, we formulated the main ideas and selected the final articles from over a dozen submitted...

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1. Introduction: Society and Culture in Early 21st Century Bali

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pp. 1-20

Contemporary Bali Nyonga is a rapidly growing town of over 80,000 inhabitants, sixteen kilometres southwest of Bamenda, the capital of the North West region, Cameroon. Bamenda is the most populated town in English-speaking Cameroon. Bali town doubles as the seat of traditional and local government in the subdivision, the latter...

Section One: Rites & Rituals

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2. Old Wine in New Wineskin? Social Change and Traditional Religion in Bali Nyonga

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pp. 23-35

Since the 1950s a wind of change has been blowing across Africa. There is an upsurge in the revival of cultural values, customs and traditions that were once frowned upon by colonial administrators and missionaries (Gibellini 1994:5-6). This seems to highlight or point to the rejection of colonial and missionary attempts to...

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3. Performance Aesthetics, Structure and Language of Bali Nyonga Divination Systems

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pp. 37-57

This research set out to study the performance aesthetics, structure, and language of Bali Nyonga divination systems. The primary objective of the research has been to demonstrate that the language used in Bali Nyonga divination sessions and the divination rituals themselves constitute an integral aspect of the people’s socio-cultural...

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4. Marriage and Widowhood Rites in Bali Nyonga

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pp. 59-80

This chapter is primarily a narrative of two important rites of passage that affect a majority of the womenfolk in Bali-Nyonga, namely, marriage & widowhood. The discourse presented in this chapter is underpinned by the geographical, historical and migratory context of the people of Bali Nyonga as outlined in the introduction of this...

Section Two: Bali Online

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5. Imagining Bali Nyonga Online: Online discussions ofthe Bali-Bawock Crisis on a Bali Electronic Forum

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pp. 84-108

Along with capital, ideologies, technologies, and media images, an increasingly prominent feature of globalization is the transnational movement of people (both free and forced). To meet various information needs, diasporic communities have besides interpersonal communication with relatives and friends in the homeland, operated...

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6. Language Use in a Multicultural Online Community

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pp. 110-130

A lot has been said about the Internet creating a global village, reducing space and time and maintaining a sense of community. Discussions abound on the Internet as a new means of global communication and its great impact on language use. The strong presence of online English has caused consternation among many...

Section Three: Oral Discourse & Politics

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7. Social Criticism through Oral Discourse in Bali Nyonga

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pp. 132-146

The power of the spoken word has consistently been the hallmark of African interpersonal, group and public communication. Discourse analysis of the spoken word within the context of Africa and Africans in the Diaspora has successfully utilized Afrocentricity (Asante 1987) as the theoretical framework to fashion out meaning. This theory...

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8. Chieftaincy at the Crossroads: Politics, Society and Customary Reform in Bali Nyonga

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pp. 148-165

On 28 January 2002, the Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) for Mezam Division visited the town of Bali Nyonga on an official tour of his jurisdiction. Judging by the massive turn out and the prestige enjoyed by Fon44 Ganyonga III during the occasion, one could be easily driven to guess that he was in sound harmony with his subjects. ...

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9. Conclusion

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pp. 166-168

This book has shown the worldview of the Bali Nyonga kingdom in the North West region of Cameroon. Through the various research topics examined, attempt has been made to show how social life is organized and lived out by Bali citizens around the world. The historical and comparative analysis of similar situations in the African...


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pp. 170-180

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 182-185

E-ISBN-13: 9789956579310
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956579396

Page Count: 196
Publication Year: 2011