The People
The Wimbum who number about 180,000 people live in the Donga Mantung Division of the Northwest Province of Cameroon. The name “Wimbum” means the “Mbum people.” They speak the Limbum language, which shares certain affinities with other languages such as the Nso, Yamba, Noni, and all language groups of the Northwest Province. “The Northwest Province has polyglot populations that fall under three broad classifications of languages-the Momo, Ring, and the Mbam-Nkam. Limbum falls in the Mbam-Nkam group as do Adere, Mungaka, Bamoum, Bafut, Mankon, Jo, Fefe, Dschang and Bangante.”
The Wimbum community is organized into three large family groups commonly called clans. These clans are the Wiwarr, Wiyah and Witang, clans. A clan head that is not considered a paramount chief heads each clan. All Wimbum villages have a chief and the clan head

is often considered as a first among equals. The chiefs, who are called nkfu, govern their communities with the assistance of fai, (Tallanwe, Kibai, Tar nte) who are the quarter heads of the various families that make up the village. Both the office of nkfu and fai are hereditary. Individual exogamous and matrilineal families live together on land, which they claim as their property. The Wimbum, who are related to the Tikar people of the Northwest Province, migrated to their present location from Kimi. The Warr family first settled at Mbirbaw, the present Mbot. The Wiya and Witang clans joined them on the plateau of Donga Mantung Division.

Members of the clan dispersed to other locations. The first family to move away and form an independent village was “Ntumbaw, followed by Sop, and Chup. By the 17th century, the rest of the villages of the present Warr people were established including Nkambe, Kungi, Binshua, Saah, Njap, Mbaa, and Wat. Wherever they settled and established their own authority structures, they still regarded the nkfu of Mbirbaw as their leader. The Wiyah and the Witang migrated to the area, in a wave of migrations triggered by the expansionism and slave raids of the Borno and Hausas. Part of the Wiyah family settled at Mbiriqua while the rest arrived at their present location in Wimbum land after stops at Konchep, Fuh, finally settling at Mbandfung. The Witang first settled at Mbajeng but later moved on with some of them settling at Mbasong. Others went to Mbam and Nseh, both now part of the Bui Division, while the large group that remained in the area now occupied by the Wimbum people formed the villages of Binka, Sinna, Talla, Ngarum, Taku, Kup, Tabenken, and Bi. Other Wiyah groups such as Ngang, Sehn, Njilah, and Ngulu were either part of the Wiyah or the Tang group.

The leader of the Ngulu (a Wiyah group, who settled near Ntumbaw) enjoyed more autonomy than other Wiyah leaders. The Luh were an autochthonous people originally driven out of Nso who settled at the present site, and joined the Wiyah group ( Mangoh, 1986, p. 42). Though the Wimbum people are divided into three different clans, they share one ethnic, linguistic, and cultural community. Their social institutions include a variety of civic organizations and closed societies of which the legal ones are Nwarong (also called kwifon in the Northwest Province society. It is the main regulatory society and membership is restricted to males. The Ngiri society is another organization akin to the nwarong, but membership in the society is restricted to certain families, nobles, and members of the royal family. Other organizations include the nfu society that among other things was initially responsible for the safety of the community and organized the defense of the community. The Samba, (manjong) is another social organization for men. The women have social organizations that tend to vary from village to village, but the main one is the njuh organization, which brings all the women of a community together to socialize, and give support to each other