Frequently Asked Questions - KOM History

FAQs - KOM History

Questions answered about where KOM People came from, who they are and what they have done/achieved in over two centuries of recorded history.

During the 19th century migration in the Cameroons, most tribes moved south in search of better economic opportunities. The Kom people, who originated from upper Mbam in Tikari, moved in search of fertile soils. They first settled in Bamessing. While in Bamessing, their population began to grow rapidly. The Fon(or King) of Bamessing feared a possible attack from the Kom people. He then tricked the Fon of Kom (Jinabo I) into believing that the increase in their male population may some day lead to them being overthrown. The Fon of Kom believed this and subsequently accepted his proposal to burn all the healthy men in two separate rooms.

After the act was committed, the Fon of Kom realized that he had been tricked. The Bamessing Fon had built a secret door for his men to escape when the fire started. Unable to bear the loss and betrayal, the Fon of Kom committed suicide by hanging himself. He died without a son. Legend has it that a python appeared and led the people of Kom to their present settlement in Laikom.

Culled from Wikipedia

Kom Kingdom is made up of
46 villages:
1.    Aboh
2.    Abuh
3.    Acha-ah
4.    Acha-ajva
5.    Aduk
6.    Afua
7.    Akeh-Ajung
8.    Alim
9.    Ameng-LaiKom
10.    Anjang
11.    Anjin
12.    Anyajua
13.    Ashing
14.    Baichi
15.    Baingo
16.    Baiso
17.    Belo
18.    Bobong
19.    iBojhui
20.    Djichami
21.    Elemighong
22.    F+ngwanki
23.    Fuanantui
24.    Fujua
25.    Ful+
26.    Fundong
27.    Fungom
28.    Ibolem
29.    Ilung
30.    Jikwin
31.    K+chuh
32.    K+kfini
33.    LAIKOM
34.    Mbam
35.    Mbesa
36.    Mbingo
37.    Mboh
38.    Megheff
39.    Muloin
40.    Ngems+bo
41.     Njinik+jem
42.    Njinikom
43.    Sho
44.    Tin+foimbi
45.    Wombong
46.    Yang),

Ten Sub-Chiefdoms:
(Achain, Akeh, Atin, Baiso, Mbenghkas, Mbesinaku, Mbongkiso, Mbueni, Mujang, Mujung),

Two Administrative Units (ABASAKOM and NGVIN-KIJEM)

The capital of Kom is Laikom. Kom Kingdom is ruled by a King or Fon (Fondom) with a traditional Prime Minister (Kwifoin). His job is to make sure that the Fon’s orders are followed strictly. There is also a Council of Elders (Nchis+ndoh - plural). A Nchindoh(singular) can be recognized by the red feather on his hat. Next in the hierarchy of power is the Village head (or Bonteh). He is somehow also the spiritual leader of the village. He takes orders from the Kwifoin and implements them.

 

It is a sacred statue that lives in the Palace of the Fon(or King) of KOM Kingdom. It was sculpted by Fon Yuh, one of the most creative/artistic Fons of KOM Kingdom, probably between  1865 – 1912. Now here is an excerpt from Time Magazine about a recent misadventure of this sacred statue:

The Journey of the Afo-A-Kom or How Kom came to be known to the rest of the world. Kom is the name of a kingdom in West Africa somewhat north of the town of Bamenda, West Africa. Kom became prominent in 1973 when The New York Times published a series of articles about a sacred statue that had been stolen from the royal storage house and transported across the Atlantic, where it came into the possession of a New York art dealer. "... it was reportedly on sale for $60,000 US." 

Source: AFOaKOM on Time Magazine - 1973

Matrilineality indeed means tracing descent through the maternal line; it also usually involves inheritance in that line, as it does in Kom, with nephew succeeding uncle. (The variant that the eldest nephew succeeds the uncle is not invariable, and any Kom person is already sufficiently familiar with exceptions to the rule.)

What most Kom people seem not to be aware of is that there are several other matrilineal groups in the Grassfields, e.g., Nyos and Mmen, and that there is a "matrilineal belt" across Central Africa. What most anthropologists seem not to be aware of is that if one were counting peoples, a majority of African groups are matrilineal.

If one is counting heads, however, a majority of the African population is patrilineal. The outstanding and highly populous matrilineal group in West Africa is the Ashante/Asante and I believe most people are familiar with their importance in the region.

Culled from a post in AFOaKOM Yahoogroups by Eugenia Shanklin, Professor of Anthropology, Expert in Kom traditions/customs. © 2000