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Archive for the ‘Culture-of-Twins-in-Africa’ Category

The Nsei, The Kpe of Coastal Cameroon

Posted by cultureafrico on February 28, 2011

The Nsei:
The Nsei people confine the mother and twins behind a fence for several years. When the fence is taken down, there is a great feast. A twin pot decorated with a large red spot surrounded by a black circle is put in the mother’s house. This post contains palm wine mixture with some large snail shells. This is noteworthy as generally cowri shells are used for rituals. Snail shells would be unusual and may survive in the archaeological record.

The Kpe of Coastal Cameroon:
Found along the coast, they are a Bantu speaking peoples. In this culture twins are considered a difficult thing and rituals are performed when a pregnancy is discovered to prevent twins. They are often sickly, they are difficult to nurture and it is believed if the twin does not like the house it is born into then it will die. Twins are welcomed if born, but are viewed with apprehension. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Oku Kingdom (Twins)

Posted by cultureafrico on February 28, 2011

Culture Africo

The Oku Kingdom:
In the Oku tradition of the Western Grassfields twins are definitely highly regarded as magical beings with the ability to play tricks or even harm others if not treated appropriately. Twins are fed a mixture of ritual brown salt and oil at birth and a special ritual is performed. A mother of twins must carry a long neck calabash (a gourd) when she goes out in public. This is corked with a dracaena plant leaf, this plant is often associated with twins in Cameroon.

Twins are not given any masks or sculptures in the Oku kingdom but they have some traditional items. They are not given anything separately but share each ritual object. They are given a single bag, a single clay soup pot and a decorated clay wine pot. The pots are painted in the middle with a large eye, black in the centre surrounded by white. Three horizontal white lines are drawn with a finger at its mouth…the white colour is made from kaolin (a chalky white clay also known as Calabar chalk). This pot sits on a circular base of banana leaves with a garland of kefu feyin creeper tied round the mouth of the pot. It is important to note such stylistic differences so we may notice this in an excavation. If an archaeologist found such a pot from a long ago village, they would know it is special for twins! Read the rest of this entry »

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The Bangolan People (Twins)

Posted by cultureafrico on February 28, 2011

Culture Africo

This is my father in law’s culture and the main one my husband will teach our sons. In this culture twins are seen as children of God and a mother of twins is called a Manyi. A father of twins is Tanyi. It is traditional to plant two rows of plantain (similar to bananas) directly behind the house in which the twins live. The twins would also be buried in the same fashion as a fon (a king), seated upright on a throne, but without a staff. The first twin is called ‘Mumeh’ and the second twin ‘Ndueh’. These names are used for boys or girls. There are 6,300 to 15,000 Bangolan speakers around the village of Ndop. Read the rest of this entry »

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Information on Twins in West Africa.

Posted by cultureafrico on February 28, 2011

Culture Africo

As I mentioned before, being a Manyi opened my eyes to the significance of twins in West African culture. Through my research so far I have discovered that most ethnic groups in Cameroon and Nigeria have had some kind of reaction to the birth of twins. From what I’ve read and the people I’ve spoken to, it seems that most of them heralds twins as gifts from God. Twins are also often seen as a double edged sword. They are indeed gifts from God but also posses divine powers with the ability to harm those who cause them displeasure. The parents especially must be careful in how they treat their twins for the twins can either die or cause illness to befall those who cross them wrongly. I’ve been told that many twins are spoiled as everyone lets them do as they wish. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Material Culture of Twins in West Africa.

Posted by cultureafrico on February 28, 2011

Culture Africo

Introduction:

Ethnoarchaeology is the study of living societies in order to better understand the past. If we can learn the cultural dynamics of an existing culture, we may have more tools to interpret what we find in the archaeological record. Ethnoarchaeology often focuses particularly on the behaviour patterns responsible for creating physical objects and their spatial distribution. Material culture a reflection of our culture through the material goods we leave behind. For example if you look inside your house and imagine everything that would survive in the ground for a thousand years you soon realize that only non-organic, hard things would make it. Think again what this would tell people about how you live your everyday life, how you think, how you act, how you dress etc. It wouldn’t tell them a lot, would it? You can now see one of the hardest parts of archaeology…using the leftovers to understand the complete culture! This study, using the ethnoarchaeological approach, is useful for helping archaeologists in West Africa to understand what they find in an excavation. Read the rest of this entry »

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