Life in the Cameroon Grasslands

by Hans-Joachim Koloss (1938 - 2013)
Formerly Museum für Völkerkunde

A “running" juju at a burial in Ngashie Oku, Northwest Province of Cameroon. Photo by Hans-Joachim Koloss.

While (in the background) the grave is dug and a military society is honoring the dead member and bidding him farewell through the singing of special songs, a “running” juju has appeared. It is one of the “running” jujus of all the mask societies in which the dead man has been a member and whose duty it is now to celebrate his death. In burials, mask societies are represented only through their “running” jujus. The masks mostly wear headpieces in the form of a monkey and carry two sticks in their hands. As these masks often have to travel long distances, their headpieces are rather small and light. Burials often demand “medical” rituals, and so women are excluded from them. In this photograph, women are allowed to see the events from some distance.