A member of the Bamiléké elite, member of the Koungang (traditional secret society) confirms the belief: “In our culture, they are special beings, of course with special powers”, informs our source, who asked to remain anonymous.
What are these special powers then, we wonder? In reality, we learned from the above-mentioned notable, a twin brings happiness to the household, protects it, brings good fortune and joy. On the other hand, twins are known to soothe or cure dislocations or fractures through massages. “Twins have a gentleness about them, healthy hands. They are God’s friends and as such, they can defy all traditional taboos; for example not sitting on the Chief’s chair”, proudly punctuates the notable, himself father to twins.
The latter mentions one essential element which could explain these exceptional gifts: twins go through a traditional rite at birth (and also when they die). When twins are born, the women close to the mother cook Nkuii (a traditional meal) which they bring to the ancestors. They also cook “Haricot koki” and put a basket at the doorstep. Every person visiting the new born twins will have to throw in money representing the good fortune brought by the twins (even more if they are triplets or quadruplets). “Seriously, my twins have brought me prosperity and stability, claims Paul Joël, a Bamiléké. I feel there was a real change between life before and after their birth”, he continues with conviction.
Twins also have special names in Bamiléké: “Ngondja”, “Ntaa koungang”, “Soffo” (God’s friend) or names ending in “Fack” (such as Donfack, Sonfack) to indicate that one is a twin. Parents of twins are also honoured. Their mother will be called “Magni” and the father “Tagni”.
Monique Ngo Mayag