The Bamileke People of Cameroon: How They Live Their Life

Bamileke People

The Bamileke are a Grassfields ethnic group. They make up one of the largest ethnic groups in Cameroon and are natives of the country’s West. The Bamileke are subdivided into 106 groupings in the West region led by a King or fon. In other words, the Grassfield peoples are both Anglophone and Francophone, and most of the second generation groupings derive from the Fussep, the oldest Grassfields group (mid-14th century), who, together with the Bamun and the Nso people, are directly from the last unique Bamileke King (Ndeh) before the group scattered in the Tikar region.

Marriage Life

Marriage life of Bamileke people is exogamous, forestalling people with patrilineal connections up to the fourth era from wedding, and forestalling marriage with any matrilineal kinfolk. Two types of trade oversee relations between spouse providers and wife beneficiaries. In lady of the hour cost marriage, the lucky man gains conceptive, sexual, and homegrown freedoms by giving gifts of palm oil, goats, covers, kindling, and cash to the group of his lady. In ta nkap marriage, no lady of the hour cost is traded between the lady’s dad and the lucky man.


The lady of the hour’s dad holds freedoms over the marriage and patrilineal personality of his granddaughters, consequently turning into their ta nkap (“father by cash”). These freedoms of ta nkap can be acquired, and are an approach to exploiting marital privileges. Albeit prohibited by the French in 1927 and 1928, the training proceeds. Notwithstanding these two customary marriage choices, contemporary Bamileke might pick Christian marriage regardless of lady riches, marriage by an equity of the harmony, elopement, and single life as a parent.

Conventional Bamileke marriage is virilocal, and children endeavor to settle close to their dad in the event that there is sufficient land. Polygyny is an objective that is progressively challenging to accomplish, particularly on a fabulous scale, on account of the expansion of lady of the hour cost and changing thoughts regarding intimate relations. How much lady of the hour cost, albeit higher for ladies with more training, appears to be essentially reliant upon the lucky man’s capacity to pay. The expression for marriage is “to cook inside,” gathering the imagery of the wedded lady’s restriction to her kitchen, where she in a real sense prepares her significant other’s dinners and metaphorically “cooks” (multiplies) children.

Domestic Unit.


A wedded man is the by law top of a family comprising of his significant other or spouses and their kids. In polygynous mixtures, co-spouses have separate homes . Albeit in some cases antagonistic and cutthroat, relations among co-spouses can be warm and helpful. In regal mixtures, more seasoned co-spouses are allocated to more youthful co-wives as temporary moms. Full kin feel solid ties of fortitude, though half-kin are regularly in rivalry with one another for consideration and legacy.


Land and real estate are inherited patrilineally and impartibly. Titles are inherited according to both matrilineal and patrilineal rule of descent .

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Social roles are learned through example and through stories told around the mother’s hearth at mealtimes. Bamileke report particularly warm relations among full siblings, and refer to hearthside commensality and storytelling as the source of this solidarity. Although mothers play a primary role in child rearing, small children may be left with older siblings or co-wives while their mothers do other work. After age 6, Bamiléké consider child fosterage an appropriate strategy to deal with scarce resources and to help the child learn to interact with a variety of personalities.

There are no formal group initiation ceremonies at puberty. Boys are now usually circumcised soon after birth. In the past, girls whose families could afford it spent up to six months in seclusion ( nja ), eating fattening foods and learning about marriage and sexuality from female kin. Elderly Bamileke say that school has now replaced this custom.

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