The Fang is the
Bantu-speaking ethnic group living in Gabon, Cameroon
and Guinea. They are of medium height and powerful build and proud of
themselves on their physical beauty.
The Fang live in the forest environment with high rainfall, extreme heat
and humidity. Traditionally each Fang family was economically
self-sufficient. Every male had to clear enough land for his wives to cultivate manioc,
yams, ground nuts and maize. Both men and women attained adulthood only when they got
married and it was prohibited for a men to marry any member of his father's or mother's
patrilineage of three preceding generations.
The requirement to finalise a marriage was a payment of a nsuba or
bride's price, but the major part of it was not paid until the birth of the first child,
because of the primary duty of the wife - to provide husband with children. In case of
failure to do so woman would be divorced and if she had no sisters to replace her the nsuba
would be refunded. A man could have a several wives if he was able to pay nsuba.
Like many other African tribes, the Fang were organized not only on the
basis of kingship and age, but also through association with a several secret societies.
One of the best know was ngil. The main function of this society was to
combat witchcraft: to make investigations, exorcise evil spirits and even execute witches.
In the language of the Fang the word nsem uses for witchcraft,
wrong-doing and sin.
The Fang religion was monotheistic. The god Mebere
created the world and Zambe (the original ancestor). It was also believed
in life after death and because the Fang religion was so similar to
Christianity the latter was easily accepted.
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