The king who has 100 wives
"The queens have a great role to play in the fondom," notes Prince Nickson, likewise of Bafut, taking note of that it is up to these ladies behind the man to shape him in his royal role.
"Behind every successful man must be a very successful, staunch woman," says Abumbi's third wife, Queen Constance.
"Our tradition has it that when you are king, the elderly wives remain to hand down the tradition to the younger wives, and also to teach the king the tradition because the king had been a prince, not a king."
Even though polygamy is legal in Cameroon, data collected has shown that there are far less polygamous marriages over the African landmass. The practice is being tested by evolving values, the spread of the Christian confidence, the developing advance of the western lifestyle additionally the increasing expenses of having expansive families. It is against this scenery that Cameroon's conventional rulers must walk the barely recognizable difference between two regularly clashing societies.
"During colonialism other values came in, of governance, different from the traditional values we had and therefore there is this constant conflict between the traditional values and modern western values," admits Fon Abumbi II, who has ruled Bafut, the largest fondom in the region, for 47 years.
"My role is to blend them, to find the way forward so my subjects can enjoy the fruits of development and modernity without destroying their culture. Without a culture, you are not a human being, you are an animal. And therefore the chieftaincy institution is the guarantor of our culture."
Despite the fact that polygamy is regularly met with negativity in the West, there are some who consider it a profitable custom. Subsequent to meeting with Fon Abumbi II, Soni Methu, presenter for CNN's Inside Africa, noticed that there was more to the practice than meets the eye:
"I understand that we might be quick to judge the lifestyle of the kings, but just like in the United Kingdom, African kingdoms and kings are bound to a rich culture and history. (Practices) like inheritance of all your father's wives is nothing but a moral obligation."
She additionally noticed that a large portion of these royals is profoundly accomplished. On meeting the rulers of Fon Ndofua Zofia II of Babungo - one of Cameroon's most youthful customary rulers - Methu said:
"All his young wives, forced on him by tradition, spoke fluent English in a French-speaking region and were great marketers."
It is this inconsistency that makes life in the fondom intriguing and befuddling. Is it true that they are stuck in the past or keeping pace with the present? Fon Zofoa III doesn't think you need to pick. He may have "inherited" 72 spouses and more than 500 children after his dad's passing, however, he views himself as an extremely modern king.
"To run a kingdom, nowadays in this era, you must be educated because things are moving very fast. Like they used to say, education is light, ignorance is darkness."
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