Johannes Stöckle: Traditions, Tales and Proverbs of the Bali-Nyonga [PDF]


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250 pp.
2nd unchanged edition, 4 illustrations

Text language: English

This volume presents a collection of oral traditions in the true sense of the term: stories, proverbs and descriptions of customs and religious beliefs. It also includes smaller events and things associated with the traditional everyday life of the Bali-Nyonga (North-West Cameroon). Inspired by a strong desire to preserve at least some of the cultural features specific to this people before it was too late, Rev. Johannes Stöckle collected and carefully wrote down whatever he was able to discover about their traditions.

His painstaking and meticulous description of the information and knowledge gathered from the elders lends this collection a highly documentary character. This impression is corroborated by the fact that all the contributors are named at the end of each section. In addition to this the descriptions of customs and traditions were all approved during long sessions by a special council summoned for this purpose by His Royal Highness, the Fon of Bali-Nyonga.

From the preface:

It was a most interesting task to inquire into the tribal life, the customs and rites and the social structure of the Bali-Nyonga. In fact, I got into contact with people of an entirely different culture. The philosophy, the culture and religion of the Bali-Nyonga opened to me a new world with different conceptions which showed me how they have mastered their lives and how they have tried to build up the whole community on a sound basis. […]
The tales reveal a special philosophy of life. Some of them indicate that the foundation of a home or a family is closely related to generally accepted customs and rites which keep the social structure from deterioration and from disturbing the communal peace and welfare.

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