THE NOTION OF POPULARITY IN KOM SUCCESSION

by GHAM Fedelis
posted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Oct 18 3:23 PM
 
KOM PATTERN OF SUCCESSION:
The Kom fondom in the Western Grassfields of Cameroon practices a matrilineal pattern of succession as opposed to patriliny which is practiced by approximately 99% of the world.
Matrilineal succession is one in which maternal blood brothers take over and are followed by their sisters who are chronologically represented by their male children.
The primary feature of matriliny is that a child belongs to the family of his mother where he exercises succession rights as opposed to patriliny where a child exercises succession rights in the family of his father to which he proudly belongs.

COMPOSITION OF THE KOM FONDOM:
The Kom fondom is a heterogeneous society which consists of 22 matriclans from distinct origins.
Some examples of Kom matriclan include ; Ikui,Itsinalah,Achaff,Ndohtitichia,Ndoh Nanbang,Avem,Mbeba,Ijinasung,Kijem etc.
A Kom matriclan or clan is a community of people who are related by blood,geography,history,conditions,friendship ties etc.
For example,the ikuis are those who settled ontop of the Laikom hill.This holds true for the itsinalah and achaff people.
The Ndohtitichia originated from Djotin,the Mbeba people trace their roots to Baba,the Avem people trace their roots to Wum/Menchum etc.

ACQUISITION OF KOM "MATRICLANISHIP"
1)The biological child of a Ndohtitichia lady is a member of the Ndohtitichia matriclan.Thus "matriclanish" relations are primarily gotten at birth.
2)The adopted child of an Achaff lady becomes a member of the achaff matriclan.Thus "matriclanish" relations can be gotten through adoption.
3)Any Menchum man who picks up Kom as his domicile becomes a member of the Avem clan regardless of his blood relations with the Avem people that were already living in Kom.Thus "matriclannish" relations can be gotten through geography.

KOM PATTERN OF "MATRICLANNISH" SETTLEMENT:
The Kom Fondom is made up of more than 50 villages with each of these villages hosting persons from different matriclans.
This explains why no Kom man can boast to know all the other members of his fellow matriclan.

ACQUISITION OF KOM MATRLINEAGE RELATIONS
Every Kom matriclan is made up of independent matrilineages (lineages).A matrilineage or lineage is a group of persons who can trace their descent to a female ancestry of a common memory.This signifies that a group of persons who can trace their descent to the same ancestry of late memory do not belong to the same lineage.This means that lineage relationships are gotten from blood and they diminish with time.A Kom lineage keeps multiplying and separating to form other lineages on a daily basis to an extent that yesteryear's lineage members might become more attached in the "matriclannish" than in the matrilineage sense.Because lineage relations are based strictly on blood it is thus incest to get married within ones lineage but marriage within the same matriclan is common.

KOM PATTERN OF MATRLINEAGE SETTLEMENT:
Kom matrilineages which are sub factions of matriclans are haphazardly spread over the more than 50 villages of Kom.
Though it is impossible for one to know all the members of his matriclan,every Kom man knows all the members of his matrilineage.
This is because despite the dispersed settlement of Kom lineages,each lineage mourns/joys together.
When one talks of a Kom family,he is referring to a Kom lineage.

KOM TRADITIONAL PROPERTY:
The Kom traditional property is made up of compounds or homesteads which were (are) either acquired (since the Kom people drove away early settlers)or built by respective members of the respective Kom lineages.Consequently,a Kom lineage owns property while a Kom clan owns no property.A Kom lineage has a lineage head (family head) who decides succession to his lineage compounds but a Kom clan has no head because it has no property.

THE TRUE NOTION OF POPULARITY IN KOM SUCCESSION.
Kom successors are known at birth long before their turn to succeed to any compound in question.Every child born into a lineage is joy to that lineage.The lineage head or any other elderly member of the lineage names the child after his ancestors.Every male lineage member tells his wives and children that they have had a new "husband" (would be husband) and "father"(would be father)and "njangwain" is song in each of the compounds of the lineage in question regardless of where it is located in the fondom.This attracts neighbours who come in to learn that the compound in question has had a new future successor in the person of ...born by...sister or niece to the present owner of the said compound.

This news spreads like wild fire in the village and within a short while vigilant persons can cite the line up of the said compound right down to the new born without hitches.
In the course of growth of the new born he visits his lineage compounds throughout the fondom for family meetings,funerals,holidays etc where he is further introduced by his maternal uncle to his wive,children and villagers as his future successor.In most cases the introduction is not necessary.It suffices for the child to cite just the name of his mother to the public and everybody will know his position in X compound in Y village.

In the Kom fondom,the fact that Mr. X belongs to Y lineage and as a consequence is successor to Z compound is well known by everybody.
This starts at birth and is THE TRUE NOTION OF POPULARITY IN KOM SUCCESSION.

THE FALSE NOTION OF POPULARITY IN KOM SUCCESSION.
The false notion of popularity in Kom succession is exhibited when a person from X lineage who grows up with everybody knowing where he is traditional fit to succeed takes advantage of an opportunity and jumps head long into the compound of Y lineage and starts lobbying the villagers,public/private officials,holding seminars to be spreading false information that he is popular and more responsible to occupy a compound than those who are traditionally fit to succeed to such a compound.

In my modest opinion,such a practice is usurpation and not popularity because popularity does not justify usurpation.Again,responsibility is the degree of ones responsiveness which is measured by honesty,integrity etc and usurpation is an exhibition of irresponsibility as opposed to the much self applauded popularity and responsibility.

The negative aspects of this false notion of popularity is that they come along with intimidation,threats,blackmail of honest persons,holding of both public and private meetings to crush the truth and the carrying of bags of dirt in the name of protection.This culminates with the exploitation and dumping of the so called popular ones and they turn to blackmail and accuse innocent persons of the none attainment of their tantalizing fanatical fictitious ambitions.By the way there is no need running when you are on the wrong way because your speed on the wrong direction decreases your chances of ever meeting the right direction.

HOWEVER,IT IS PREFERABLE TO BE TRULY UNPOPULAR IN YOUR TOILET THAN TO BE FALSELY POPULAR IN SOMEBODY'S PALACE.
THIS IS BECAUSE NO MATTER THE GRADIENT OF TRICKS USED BY A LIZARD TO SURVIVE IN WATER IT SHALL NEVER BECOME A CROCODILE.

Fidelis Gham Lo-ah

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