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The Afoakom Statue! Emblem of a people’s identity

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Afo-A-Kom is a carved wooded statue used annually by Kom inhabitants, for ceremonial purposes at Laikom the seat of the Kwyfon, the secret Kom mobilization force in Boyo Division of the North West region of Cameroon.

Afo-A-Kom literally translated means something that belongs to Kom people and land, promoting the ideals of solidarity and social stability; love, hospitality, unity, diversity tolerance; and of justice and sovereignty and a powerful symbol of continuity, These two Royal standing human form made statues has a female considered as the mother of the queen and a royal wife holding a baton in front of the chest and lined with cowries at the head supported by buffalo heads. The male statue depicts the reverence of the Royal family and is a portrait of Fon Yuh the first well known legendary leader of the Koms. The Afoakom statue is beaded in red and blue for unity and diversity of the vast Kom land and it people. The Koms see it as the strength of their heritage and authority.

The statue was made at about 1865 by Fon Yuh, the 7th ruler of Kom. And by ill fate one of the attendants stole it out form its hiding and sold to outsiders and it was ferried to Douala through Foumban and next to New York City in August 1966. During the absence of the statue it is believed that calamity failed on the kom land and a fog of guild and curses hang on the people. A lot of people are reported to have died from epidemics and natural disasters. This necessitated the finding of the Statue which the people considered the source of their problems. Search teams around Cameroon and the world finally got relief when a missionary pastor who had photographed the portrait of the statue saw it in a New York exhibition gallery. The Fon of Kom at the time is known to have pledge all the money in the Kom land for it return. The Afoakom statue while in the USA was shuttling between musums and bazaars not only as a lost ritualistic symbol of the Kom people but like a commercial commodity. Thanks to good diplomacy between the Cameroon government and the US embassy in Yaounde that the statue was returned to Kom 7 years later. The arrival of the statue was heralded by all night dancing and gun firing at the fons palace plaza where the people of koms played the wildest xylophone music tones in memory of the event. The return of the statue and the controversial history and tales associated with it brought elated the Kom culture and tradition to international people.

Kom is traditionally divided into 43 villages. The villages make up the kingdom and compounds or homesteads make up the villages. The villages are grouped into traditional councils for administrative purposes with each village governed by a village Head appointed by the Fon.

The origin of Kom is not known but according to oral tradition, Kom people came to settle in their present day location after being led by a track of a python.

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posted @ 11:54 AM,

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