In Northwest Cameroon, an hour outside of Bamenda, exist some of the most ancient and powerful kingdoms which are locally known as Fondums. The term Fon, synonymous with King, is the ruler of the Fondum. Bumbi II (pictured above) is the 11th fon of Bafut, Cameroon. When examining his Fondum one particular piece of information stands out. Bumbi II has close to 100 wives – an astonishing revelation to outside cultures!
Abumbi’s third wife, Queen Constance speaks about the role of women in Bafut saying that, “Behind every successful man must be a very successful, staunch woman”. She elaborates by saying that “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.”
While polygamy is frequently criticised, there are some who deem it a valuable tradition. Which tribes in Nigeria would be most likely to have Kings with 100 wives? Do you agree that a King should be able to have 100 wives?