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Kumba is a metropolitan city found in the Meme department in the Southwest Region, Western Cameroon, popularly referred to as "K-town". Being the most developed and largest city in the Meme department, Kumba has attracted people from the neighbouring villages like Mbonge, Ekondo Titi amongst others. Kumba has an estimated population of about 400,000 inhabitants with about three quarters of this population falling within the youthful age group. The increase in population is as a result of increase in birth rate and a fall in infant mortality rate, as a result of improvement in infant health care, and rural to urban migration. The N8 and N16 highways meet at Kumba.The name kumba originates from the Bafo ( Bafaw ) term 'kumbè' meaning umbrella tree. The town originally was a Bafo Tribal capital formed after the Mediki wars. Mediki was a Bafo native sent by the Bafo chief Nguti to fight other tribes around the settlement which he did successfully. Mediki fought together with Eseme Modu and capture Territories as far as Ekombe( also Ekumbè). See Tribal Assessment Report on the Bafo of 1923 by Melvis Whyte at National Archives. The settlement of kumba was Headquarters of former kumba Division. This Division formerly had been under the German District of Rio Del Rey. In the German period kumba had a different name. The former Kumba Division was the centre of Administrative affairs and certainly the Bafo chief of kumba Abel Mukete became the first Paramount chief here in 1929 after ruling as chief since 1890's. He was thus the Native authority Head. See notes at Public Record Office London and Archives in Cameroon and Nigeria. Kumba use to control the whole of Ndian,Kupemwanenguba, Mbonge and Nguti which Chief Mukete being the Native Authority Head that was in the Town by 1924. In the German period kumba was a top District and even after British Period. Kumba was only compared to Victoria when the Colonial Governors visited the Area. For more reading about the Historical details about kumba see the book title History of the Bafo 1500-2020 by Mende Ngoh. This is 488 pages published work that could be got by writing through the address oluzei1000@gmail.com


History


The history of the Bafaw people, indigenous to Kumba, can be retraced to a certain Nfon alias nfonaja from the Mboh plane of the Nkongsamba region. He settled at a place called Mashuie found along the N.E of kokobuma. It is said that one of his sons, a hunter named Midiki Bokeng, left to go hunting and founded Kumba. In his honor a monument has been put up around the Town Green. The Back native,Abel Mukete was the District head of Kumba and the position was passed down to his eldest son, John Mukete and mext to Nfon Victor E Mukete, being the chief of Kumba, which is a first class category of the chiefdom, making Chief Mukete a First Class chief and also the Paramount Chief of the Bafaw people. On 24 October 2020, a mass shooting took place at a school. It led to the killings of at least 12 people, and the injuries of at least 8.


Economy


Kumba is a trade centre for cocoa, palm oil and rubber, and has a timber industry as well. Kumba is a local road junction, making it the main commercial town in anglophone Cameroon. It has two main markets, Kumba Market and Fiango Market, and several smaller markets created by farmers who bring food directly from their farms such as the Mbonge Road market, Three Corners market, and Back Market. Due to the high level of activity in the city, it has attracted the Nigerians, particularly the Igbo and Yorruba who own more than 60% of the shops in the town (culled from a personal survey, January 2011). Controlled by the Kumba City Council, it is the most income generating source of the council. Most of the people in Kumba are farmers and this has made Kumba one of the leading towns in Cameroon that provides foodstuff to its neighbouring towns and cities and also to some neighbouring countries including Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Chad.


Geography


Kumba is the biggest town in the Meme Department and Southwest Region of Cameroon. It is made up of flat lands around the Buea Road area, hills around Fiango and Mbonge Road. There are three main water bodies: the famous Lake Barombi Mbo, which is the largest volcanic lake in Cameroon and a major tourist attraction, the famous Kumba Water that passes through Buea Road at the Kumba Mbeng bridge, and running through Kumba town is the Mbanga water as it is locally called but known by the locals as the Mabonjise. Most major roads to the nearby villages radiate from Kumba, running to the Nigerian border at Mamfe, the Korup National Park at Mundemba, and Mount Koupe to the east. File:Crater Lake, Kumba.jpg|Crater Lake, Kumba File:Forest Reserve, Lake Barombi.jpg|Forest Reserve, Lake Barombi File:Bakundu Forest Reserve, Lake Barombi.jpg|Bakundu Forest Reserve, Lake Barombi File:Full extent, Lake Barombi.jpg|Full extent, Lake Barombi File:Giant Pyroclastic deposit, Kumba.jpg|Giant Pyroclastic deposit, Kumba


Transport


Kumba is the terminus of a branch railway of the western system of Camrail. Kumba has three major motor parks: one situated at Buea road in Barombi Kang, the second at Fiango (Three Corners), and the third on Mbonge road (Mile One). File:Dans les routes embourbées de Kumba4.jpg|Transport in Kumba in the rainy season File:Dans les routes embourbées de Kumba.jpg File:Dans les routes embourbées de Kumba1.jpg File:Dans les routes embourbées de Kumba2.jpg


Government


Kumba is the headquarters of the Meme department of the Southwest Region. It has three sub-divisional councils: Kumba 1 (Kumba Town-Kake, a part of Buea Road), Kumba 2 (Kosala, Hausa-quarters and Fiango) and Kumba 3 (Three Corners, Mambanda and a part of Buea Road) Each has a local mayor. The town is also run by a government appointed Senior Divisional Officer (SDO) and a government Delegate.


Languages


Most people in Kumba speak English, Pidgin and to a small extent French, and at least one of a variety of indigenous languages, most dominantly Bafaw, Bakundu, Bakossi and Mbonge. The indigenes of Kumba are the Bafaw and the Bakundus. Bafaw is an ethnic group who speak Lifaw, a language similar to Duala, and the Bakundu ethnic group who speak the Bakundu language(Orocko language), Mboh, Bakundu Language and Bakossi, and certainly Southern Bantoid. The Bafaw people are ruled by their Paramount chief Fon Victor Esemisongo Mukete who is the current chairman of Camtel, Cameroon's own telecommunication company and the current CEO of Mukete Plantations Limited, a family business and plantation measuring over 200 square kilometers in different localities in the Meme department. The Bakundu people are ruled by their paramount chief Tata Itoe Benjamin Motanga, who is currently the board chairman of the Cameroon Development Corporation. Due to the city's cosmopolitan nature, the Bafaw and the Bakundu now form just a percentage of the general population of the city, and have lost many aspects of their culture, except for their language which is spoken mostly by the elderly and some of the younger generation.


See also


*Railway stations in Cameroon


References


{{Authority control Category:Populated places in Southwest Region (Cameroon) Category:Communes of Southwest Region (Cameroon)