Among the strongly segmentary Bakweri, chieftaincy was only weakly developed
(according to some there were no real chiefs prior to the colonial conquest). The
Duala had their 'kingues' whose position was highly dependent on their contacts
with European traders and who lacked the elaborate ideological reinforcement of
the fons in the west; after the colonial conquest, the Duala 'kingues' lost much of
The Bakossi, half-way between Duala and the Bamiléké in the interior, exhibit yet
another pattern. Mount Kupé, the magic mountain, is in their territory and ekong-
like ideas -- here called ekom -- are strongly developed among them. In their
conception, ekom is not necessarily evil. It seems rather to be considered as a piece of
good luck if someone succeeds in enriching himself with the help of ekom. This
seems related to the idea that the zombies who are slaving away on the invisible
plantations on Mount Kupé are mainly people from other groups (Bakweri,
Duala). Among the Bakossi, these beliefs seem to reflect a sort of ideal of absentee
landlordism which corresponds to the way Bakossi tried (and try) to profit from
strangers -- formerly slaves, now immigrants -- by making them work on their
ancestral lands (compare Balz 1984 and Ejedepang-Koge 1971).
Compare the quotation from Mamdani in the introduction above.
I realise, of course, that it takes some courage nowadays to resurrect these discus-
sions of the 1970s on modes of production and their articulation. It seems no
accident that these debates ended in a cul-de-sac due to the heavy jargon and the
obsession with definition and classification of modes of production. Probably these
debates focused too much on the notion of 'mode of production' (which proved to
be fairly cumbersome) and thereby neglected the more open and creative notion of
'articulation'. It seems therefore still worthwhile to pursue Rey's explorations
around this latter notion (compare also Laclau and
Mouffe 1985 and in general van Binsbergen
Appadurai A. 1986. "'Introduction: Commodities and the Politics of Value'", in
(ed.), The Social Life of Things. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ardener E. 1970. "'Witchcraft, Economics and the Continuity of Belief'", in
(ed.), Witchcraft Confessions and Accusations. London: Tavistock. pp. 141-60.
Austen R. A. 1977. "'Slavery among Coastal Middlemen: the Duala of Cameroon'", in
I. Kopytoff (eds.), Slavery in Africa. Madison: Wisconsin University
Balz H. 1984. Where the Faith has to Live. Studies in Bakossi Society and Religion. Basel: Basel Mission.
Binsbergen W. M. J. van, and
P. Geschiere (eds.), 1985. Old Modes Production and
Capitalist Encroachment: Anthropological Explorations in Africa. London: Kegan
Paul; Leiden: Afrika Studiecentrum.
Bloch M. 1989. "'The Symbolism of Money in Imerina'", in
J. Parry &
M. Bloch (eds.), op. cit., pp.165-191.
Bureau R. 1962. Ethno-sociologie religieuse des Douala et apparent. Yaoundé: Recherches et Etudes Camerounaises 7/8.
Dupré G. 1982. Un ordre et sa destruction, Paris: ORSTOM.
Dongmo J.-L. 1981. Le dynamisme bamiléké. Yaoundé.
Ejedepang-Koge S. N. 1971. The Tradition of a People. Bakossi. Yaouné.
Ejedepang-Koge S. N. 1975. Tradition and Change in Peasant Activities: A Study of the
Indigenous People's Search for Cash in the South West Province of Cameroun. Yaoundé.
Fisiy C. and
P. Geschiere, 1991. "'Sorcellerie et accumulation: Variations régionales'", Critique of Anthropology, 11 ( 3): pp. 251-77.