NaN spells story. When it comes to history, the word used is MBOG. ME M'POT MBOG can also mean "I tell the history of my people."
What is this history?
First one does not tell the history of the Bassa people in the wrong attire. The applicable laws require that one wears the traditional gown of Bassa people to talk about the Mbog Bassa. These things came long ago. It's not for me, or you, to change them. They were passed on to me so that they may guide me in my life. I shall hand them on when my time to depart from this plane arrives.
UM-UM UM NYOBE
Um Nyobe asked us to have great pride in the Mbog Bassa, our history and our tradition, and to derive our unity from our historic role in the creation or contribution to such ancient centers of civilization as AdBassa, Rifum, Kororafa, Axum, and Kush. If we call ourselves IBANAN BON BA DJOB, the children of the Almighty, it's because we know that we are the children of the Almighty, by virtue of a sacred genealogy.
Traditionally, my name is Nouk Bassomb Batama Nsom Bixok Njem Bian Hisee Koti Ngon Gwek bi Ko'oy bi Ndombi i Gwaxoo bi Mode Sop i Manal ma Mban i Ngok Lipondo. 22 generations! If a generation is 25 years, then the ancestor princeps of Bassa people who settled in Kamerun appeared there six centuries before the death of Um Nyobe (b.d. Um). [As you read on, you will realize that Um Nyobe, the Mpodol, is for the Mbog Bassa what Jesus-Christ is for Christians and that the Mbog's modern calendar, in reference, begins with Um Nyobe's death. As a result, the year 2,000 after the death of Christ is 42 after the death of Um Nyobe, the Mpodol, and shall be abbreviated a.d.Um.]
NINE ANCESTORS PRINCEPS
Nine elders: NGOK, MBOG, NJEL, MBANG, MBAN, NGAA, NSAA, BIAS, BUWE and their wives, respectivelly, KIWOM, KINDAP, KINUN, KIHEK, KINOM, KINYEMB, KI'HISI, KINDOK, and KIYIKII, came out of NGOK-LITUBA (the Alesed Rock) and settled in the area known today as Bassaland. They are the elders of the Kamerun Bassa people.
NGE-NGE NANGA NANGA NGE NANGA
Nine years prior to that day, their father, NANGA NANGA NGE NANGA and his family entered the cave of the Alesed Rock chased by the troops of the Jihad. A spider wove a web at the entrance of the cave. When their pursuers arrived there, they continued their pursuit, stating to themselves that "If the infidels had entered the cave, they'd have destroyed the web." If, since that day, Bassa people ask their children to respect spiders, it's in recognition of this event. A spider saved our ancestors from a sure death, for they'd have chosen death instead of abandoning our original religion: the cult of our ancestors. Those who today would rather count themselves as Christians and adopt the Judeo-Christian calendar, ways and means, instead of the Mbog's, are simply not worthy of being among the descendants of NANGA NANGA NGE NANGA. If someone asks you "where did you get that, say: 'Nouk says that Bassa people, impermeable to outside ways and means, would rather chose death than abandon the Mbog.'"
But where were Nanga and his followers coming from?
Two hundred years before Nanga, son of Nanga, Bassa people developed an empire around Lake Chad called ADBASSA [short for ADNA I BASSA (Bassa Union)]. This empire lasted three centuries. The Hausa confederations, the Mandara Kingdom, and the Bornu Empire existed in the north, the Yoruba flourished in the west and the Jwi Ejwi reigned in the south. From the Adbassa Empire remains simply a small group in Nigeria called Bassa-Nge.
PUT MIGRATORY MOVEMENTS
When the Adbassa Empire collapsed in the 6th century b.d. Um, migratory movements went in all directions. Nanga's group was carried by the Put movement whose leaders were a man called BASSAMA BA PUT and his chief military officer, NGE SIMBA.
Other groups went in other directions. The Bassa'r established themselves in modern-day Togo, the Bassa-ri (Land of the Bassa) in Senegal, Sierra-Leone, and the Bassa la Mpasu (Bassa of the River) in the Congo. The most interesting group is the Bassa of Liberia who were led to the area by HANABO WENANG. They developed a strong culture with a system of writing.
N'GWEGWET HANABO WENANG
"As to the name Bassa," writes Joseph Gbadyu, a Liberian Bassa scholar in his book, The Bassaman and the Expansion of Liberian State, 1847-1912, "the most colorful and often repeated oral account is that bordering on the legendary, Bassa is the Latinized form of the words BAAH (Father) SOOH (Stone). Baah Sooh (Father Stone) is said to have been a renowned chief and businessman among his people. His servants were identified as Baah Sooh Nyombe (Father Stone's People). The Europeans, to please the African people with whom they were in business, struggled to pronounce the phrase Baah Sooh Nyombe until it eventually became Bassa, in place of the original Gboboh, by which they officially call themselves? This is what Jo Gbadyu states but why does Gboboh sound like MBOMBOG (initiate of the Mbog, elder, patriarch), which is a word from Kamerun Bassa people?
Also a synthesis of oral accounts by writers like Abayomi Karnga in his "History of Liberia", Basil Davidson in his "Old Africa Rediscovered", and Dr. A. Doris Banks Henries in her "The Liberian Nation" coupled with some very interesting oral accounts, would place the Liberian Bassa as a people originating somewhere in the central part of Africa, probably the Sudan, in an area once known as Kumbi (Old Ghana) which was entirely ruled by dark-skinned men fifteen century b.d. Um. Widely known and admired for its culture and civilization and its flourishing commerce, Kumbi reached its zenith during the reign of Tenkamenin. The religion predominant in the kingdom was ANIMISM.
In the vanguard of the Kru sub-sub-family of Kwa were the bassa. They were led by HANABO WENANG, a legendary leader from whose waist was suspended a hook which dangled behind him on the ground. As they moved westward until they reached the coast of the "Grain Coast" in modern Grand Bassa, the hook stuck on the ground. This indicated the place where to begin as a center. According to legend, from there the segment of the group later called MAAH BAHN in honor of their leader, the most advanced of the group moved further westward and crossed Dyabain to establish settlements and close ranks with the Mande sub-family of Gola-Kpelle-Mandingo-Vai. This began the expansive process of the Bassa which reached its plateau only two centuries ago. At each point where the hook stuck, the Bassa offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to the supernatural for protection and blessings.
This is what ethnologists call "rites of appropriation". Bassa people did the same thing in Kamerun and our counterparts, the Bako, who call themselves Jwi Ejwi, offered them "Hond i Bako" (the ax of power), acknowledging them as masters of the land.
BAMBOG-MBOG MBEM SOYE AND KUKAME DI KUKAME OF ADBASSA
Where did the builders of ADBASSA come from?
They came from Khemit (ancient Egypt) and called themselves, again, ADBASSA. The ability of Bassa people to absorb other people has always assured their influence in the political order wherever they have settled. 2,716 years b.d.Um, a man called Shabako forced recognition of himself as pharaoh throughout Khemit. He reigned 14 years and his successors, Shebiko (who reigned 12 years) and Taharko (who reigned 26 years) were named by later historians as the Egyptian Dynasty XXV. After the collapse of this dynasty, it was MBEM SOYE (42nd ancestor) and KUKAME DI KUKAME (52nd ancestor) who directed their people to the Lake Chad and later to the Adamawa Heights where they built three successive empires: Rifum, Kororafa, and Adbassa.
PHARAOHS SHABAKO, SHEBIKO, AND TAHARKO OF KHEMIT
Shabako, Shebiko and Taharko came from the south of Khemit, a land known as PUT, in the kingdom of KUSH, and referred to themselves as ADBASSA. At approximately 3,008 b.d. Um, a power was to determine the history of the Nile valley from the First Cataract to beyond Khartum for no less than a thousand years. This power, called the kingdom of Napata and Meroe, is also known as the kingdom of Kush.
The history of Kush is divided in two periods: 1) the Napatan Period lastin until 2178 b.d. Um, 2) the Meroitic Period existing until the fall of the kingdom toward the year 1588 b.d.Um.
This division is based only upon changes in the socioeconomic and political structure of the kingdom, for which we have as yet the following evidence: 1) the transfer of the royal cemetery from Napata to Meroe, 2) the replacement of Egyptian as the only written language by Meroitic, the language of the people who had achieved political dominance in the beginning, and 3) the gradual advance of indigenous cultural traditions and modes of perception which in the past had found practically no expression in official religion and art.
Napata and Meroe are not only periods in Kush history; they were two centers. Napata was built at the foot of Gebel Barkal, known to Egyptians as the "Holy Mountain". The cemetery of the Napatan kings (El Kurri and Nuri, ca. 2858-2658 b.d. Um) were located nearby.
From the beginning of the year 2458 b.d.Um, Meroe had been the permanent royal residence of the Kushite kings, who went to Napata only on their coronation journeys and for their burials.
Following the transfer of the royal cemetery from Napata to Meroe, Meroe turned its political interests more to the southern part of the kingdom, particularly to the region of the "Island of Meroe", known today as the Butana, in a country named Put, land of the ADBASSA people. The reason for this sudden transfert is simple: The ADBASSA (word which has been corrupted into Abassania, then Abyssinia) controlled the whole kingdom and they will soon control Khemit with Shabako, Shebiko, and Taharko.
QUEEN MAKEDA OF SABA
A tradition, which combines biblical and Hellenistic renditions, says that Kush, son of Ham and founder of Axum, named his son Ethiops and the surrounding country Aethiopia, or was it that Homer or Herodotus invented the word for the country of the "burnt faces"? Axum, the original Ethiopian kingdom, received a strong contribution of peoples and cultures from the Kush's Meroitic state. With its center in present-day Tigrae, it was established on the route of the great caravan trade of which Meroe had long been the focal point.
A legend retained as historical fact and accepted unquestioningly by the average Christian Ethiopian is that the imperial dynasty of the country originated with Menelik I, son of Makeda, the queen of Shaba and King Salomon. The dynasty is now, as in the past, referred to as Solomonic, and is presumed to have exercised sovereign power with minor interruptions since its inception. Northwestern Ethiopia, the land of the ADBASSA (or Habashat or Harbassa and the source of the name Abyssinia) was part of the world of "Put and frankincense" in that venerable time when the ships of Hiram, King of Tyre, plied up and down the Red Sea, and brought the wealth of Ophir into Israel.
The line of Solomon was continued, according to the legend, beginning thirty centuries b.d. Um by his son Menelik I, who stole the Ark of the Covenant while visiting his father and, accompanied by Judean noble youths and companions, transported it back to his African homeland.
Another Ethiopian legend maintains that in the classic chronicle of the kings, Kebra Nagast (Glory of the Kings) contends that Menelik I and his successors are desdendants of the holy men, since Solomon was one of a series through whose bodies had passed a "pearl" first placed by God in Adam and intended finally, having entered the body of Hannah, to be the essence of her daughter, the Virgin Mary. Christ being the son of God and Menelik a kinsman of Christ, it follows that the kings of Ethiopia and all descendants of Menelik, are of divine line.
KING EZANA OF AXUM
Axum was the creation of the ADBASSA, a number of Semitic immigrants, and other Kushitic peoples who pushed the natives farther in-land. The mixed population of ADBASSA and Semites slowly built a novel and distinctive civilization, founded the Axumite kingdom, and provided the forebears of the present-day Bassa people of another historical landmark.
Axum's power, which emerged nineteen centuries b.d. Um, was based largely on the relatively superior cultural contributions of the ADBASSA.
Ezana, the greatest Ethiopian king of the Axumite period, who reigned sixteen centuries b.d. Um, was converted to Christianity, which became the official religion of the country and the accepted religion of most of the people. The country came into contact with the Byzantine Empire and undertook a special mission to protect and extend Christianity in East Africa. So when Alfred Saker (who is said to have introduced the Bible into Kamerun) appeared a century b.d. Um, we already knew about it from the time of Ezana. Actually, Saker was 16 centuries late. The Christianity of Ezana could be tolerated by the Mbog because it could be considered by its practitioners as the cult of one of our ancestors. The Mbog recognizes no other authority, but the Mbog.
Until the rise of Islam thirteen centuries b.d. Um, Axum played a significant role in northeastern Africa, but was slowly transformed into an Ethiopian state as its people began to move southward and make their presence felt among among Kushitic people, forebears of the present-day Bassa people, the Hausa, Yorubas, and Bamanas.
MBOG-MBOG BAAH SOOH OF CABORA-BASSA
In modern-day Mozambique, Cabora-Bassa (or Cohorro Bassa Gorge) next to the Gorongosa Mountains is the point of origin of the Bassa nation. Literally, Cabora Bassa means "Land of Hard Working People." According to legend, it's a man called Baah, son of Sooh, who initiated the movement upward toward Kush which, at that time, was a prosperous center, the same way Washington, D.C., and the whole of north Ameica is today. He invited kin and friends who invited kin and friends. Six thousand years before Um Nyobe, they were simply looking for a better life for themselves and their families. What happened before that is no longer a matter of recorded history.