Peuple et Histoire Batoufam

History

Nankam, a hunter and founder of Batoufam was a member of a Tikar group, the Bleble, that move from the Adamaoua Plateau to Bali in the North West. During the migration, Nankam deserted the group and became a servant to the Chief of Bangwa. He was in the likeness of the Chief because of his hunting skills and servant attitude. He was given the title of “Fodoum” (Chancelor). He was in love with the princess (Mefo), to the dislike of the Chief who decided to kill him. Informed of the plot, he fled to Bandrefam, where the Chief assured his protection against Bagwa Chief.  Nankam offered lot of games, to the Chief of Bandrefam who then gave him a plot “above Fam” (Tou-fam) to build his home. Later on he move from Bandrefam and established his home in a forest in Lekwa, with his entourage called “ Peh Tou-fam”  (Those of Tou-fam). Part of the games from hunting continued to be given to the Chief of Bandrefam and part was exchanged for shelves (used as currency then) and slaves. His entourage was numbered to 70 people at his death. Batoufam (Village of Tou-fam) came from Peh Tou-fam, by replacing the prefix Peh by “Ba” = village of.

The demography of Batoufam exploded under the 3rd Dynasty of Chief Lekouelieu, Nankam’s grand son, who was buying and freeing slaves, and making alliances with and attracting friends from neighboring villages. He conquered the chieftaincy of Nzick-Sa, and made its palace the location of the current Batoufam Chief’s palace. 

Up till the 12th Chief of the Dynasty, Batoufam fought for its autonomy and independence against Bandjoun, Bayangam, and Bangwa, sometimes with the help of the colonial administration, resulting in lost and conquered territories. Those who expanded Batoufam territories and set foundations for the Batoufam tradition included: Chief Tchantchouang, Chief Pokam and Chief Metang and Chief Fotso.

Under Chief Pokam (10th Chief of the Dynasty) raphia plant (a pseudo bamboo: Raphia farinifera) was introduced in the village and revolutionized the economy. The petiole and leaves of the plant were used for home construction (walls and roofs), furniture, granaries; its sieve extracted and consumed as drink. The craftsmanship was expanded under Chief Pokam, with the introduction of farm instruments (hoes, planters) hunting and war arms (axes, arrows, machetes), jewelries (bracelets in ivory), drums and statues.

Chief Fotso David, 12th Chief in the Dynasty, reigned from 1927 -1954. He was a people person, open-minded and very eloquent, with many friends (among who many white). He is known to be a good host to his friend and set the reputation of people with great sense of hospitality given to Batoufam these days. Chief Fotso established two sub-chieftaincies: the sub-Chieftaincy of Famla headed by Foh-joueh, and a sub-Cheftaincy in Foumbot headed by Fogue, in response to the request by the Sultan of Bamoun who wanted people to come and occupy empty lands in his kingdom. Chief Fotso had 60 wives and was survived by 123 children when he passed in 1954.

The 14th Chief of the Batoufam Dynasty is Chief Nayang Toukam Innocent who succeeded his father, Chief Toukam Fotso Elie Roger, in 1989, at the age of 22. He is said to have inherited lot of traits from his grand father Chief Fotso, as demonstrated by his openness, his hospitality, his desire to rally all the Batoufam people both in country and abroad. He has traveled twice to France to re-organize and strengthen the Batoufam association of France. He has been very instrumental in the creation of the Batoufam association in the USA, FABUSA, and follows closely how it is evolving.

In November 2006, using his diplomatic skills and negotiating power, Chief Nayang succeeded in bringing back to Batoufam the Armories of the Chieftaincy, symbols of the traditional power of the Chief, that were taken away by the heir of the 6th Dynasty of the village who was overthrown.