See This Tribe In Cameroon Where People Enter The River For One Hour!! See Why! • illuminaija
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See This Tribe In Cameroon Where People Enter The River For One Hour!! See Why!

See This Tribe In Cameroon Where People Enter The River For One Hour!! See Why!

 The Ngondo festival, which is a water-centered festival by the Sawa, coastal peoples in Douala, Cameroon, was held annually until 1981 when it was banned by authorities because of some of its sacred rituals, especially the ceremony honoring the Jengu (the water spirit and deity worshipped by the Sawa).  

See This Tribe In Cameroon Where People Enter The River For One Hour!! See Why!

The Ngondo is an annual water-centered festival held by the Sawa (coastal peoples) in Douala, Cameroon. The highlight of the festival is a ceremony of the jengu cult. 

See This Tribe In Cameroon Where People Enter The River For One Hour!! See Why!

They hold the ceremony at a beach on Wouri Bay, during which a devotee enters the water to visit the underwater kingdom of the miengu (plural for jengu). The miengu are believed to be like mermaids and will grant good luck to their worshippers. 

According to tradition, the devotee can remain underwater for hours, and emerge with his clothing appearing dry. They do not allow children to attend the ceremony. The government of Cameroon banned Ngondo in 1981 but reinstated in 1991. They hold the ceremony during the first two weeks of December every year. 

See This Tribe In Cameroon Where People Enter The River For One Hour!! See Why!

The festival comes with a lot of festivities including music and dance, a canoe race, and a crowning of a Miss Ngondo, but the peak of the event is the ritual performed by the Jengu cult members, otherwise known as the immersion of the sacred vase.  

According to locals, these cult members (or worshippers of Jengu) are sent by Sawa chiefs as messengers to the Jengu gods who are believed to be living in River Wouri and always bring good fortune to their worshippers. The said worshipper will dive and disappear into the river, stay there for almost an hour, and will emerge with his body, his clothes, and basket dry to the surprise of many. 

“The immersion of the sacred vase starts with an assembly very early in the morning on the last day of the festival. Dignitaries in ceremonial go to the river accompanied by their staffs and followed by a dense crowd of people. Starts on a pirogue look for a secret passage for the immersion of the sacred vase. 

“An emissary goes into the Wouri with the vase to seek messages sent by the water divinities, the ‘Myengu’ (sirens). When the boatmen are immersing themselves into the water to the Jengu, the boatmen and the traditional priests, and other started elders, undertake a wild mass cries “yai assu yai” (Come assu come) meaning assu is an alternative name for Jengu. 

The festival has also taken a more commercial turn with the presence of the sponsors whose Tee-shirts have replaced traditional clothes.

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