Ga'anda

About Us

Home and Origin
The Ga’anda people are the descendents of one ancestor called Ngum Ngumi. He was a great hunter, farmer and priest. He was a polygamous man with so many children, grand children and great grand children. When he died, they immortalized him by building a giant spirit pot to represent him. Being ancestor worshippers they worshipped Ngum Ngumi as a sacred pot. Some of his earliest children were also immortalized after they had died. The names of some of them were Mbirthleng’nda, Ngamsa, Dakwanriya, Lekleke, Se’mbera etc. They too were represented in pots or as invisible spirits. The pots were smaller than that of their founding father.
Since they held NgumNgumi spirit pot as sacred, they obeyed and followed him when he left their original home on top of the Mandara Mountains. The Mandara Kingdom had collapsed following the rise of Mai Idiris Alooma, (1570-1602) the empire builder in Borno who sacked the loose kingdom.

Migration
Ngum Ngumi led his descendants to where their relatives, the Fali were. They migrated first to Bagira, and then to Vimtim both in Fali area of present Mubi. Since the Fali also had cattle like the Ga’anda, the land became scarce. The Ga’anda left their cattle with their Kanakuru relatives and urged them to move while they awaited instruction from Ngum Ngumi before moving. Then the pot led them westward from Vimtim to TƏ’lbang near Digilbiza, Pella and then to DƏ’nga in Honaland. From there the pot led them to Farwagali and Kankegera then to the foot of the Makwar Mountain near Ga’anda Town.

Makwar Mountain
Population explosion at Makwar brought about land discontentment. One group complained to the Ngum Ngumi priests to kick the pot so that they move on. Pokamdi, they complained but the spirit pot cannot be commanded. The group in protest left Makwar. This protesting group came to be nicknamed Poka, the short form of Pokamdi. Those later came to be called Boga. They left the main group earlier, but with an Ngum Ngumi sub type. This explains why their lexicons and diction came to be more complex than that of Ga’anda Town and Gabun.

Much later, Kaďan (Gabun dialect Kata’an) was appointed to find an open land for another land discontented group. With the spiritual aid of Mbirthleng’nda, Kata’an founded Hur’Kabun after passing through Kuleya and Ko’nga. Wurafur settlement came to be identified with smoke rising from the top of the mountain. The place that Kata’an founded came to be later known as Gabun.

Those immediately responsible for the pot moved to the unoccupied valley in Ga’anda Town when it was clear that Ngum Ngumi was unwilling to move further. Migration to Gangrang and Bidel were with Ngum Ngumi sub types. Migration to Ho’mba- Dingai was by Dakwanriya.

On the whole Ngum Ngumi symbolizes the unity of the migrants to and from the Makwar Mountain; the origin of those who culturally came to be known as Ga’anda people. (Chifartawa, 2009). Wherever Ngum Ngumi sub type is to be found, the settlers are Ga’anda people. Berns in 1980 discovered the largest concentration of surviving Ngum Ngumi sub types on the Boga hills. She counted thirteen of them. On the Dingai hills she counted nine and others at Gangrang. There were 52 Mbirthleng’nda sub types all over the land.

So it was through migrations that the descendents of Ngum Ngumi dispersed from Makwar Mountain to establish the towns of Boga, Gabun, Gangrang, Dingai and Ga’anda Town with the villages under them which started from farm settlements.

Makwar Mountain is the sacred homeland of all the people of Ga’anda tribe. The mountain, houses the original Ngum Ngumi sacred pot and until recently the most important tribal festivals. Once every year, in November, the Chief Priest atoned for the sins of the tribe and thanks Farta, their sun god for the rains there. And before the harvest at Hombata, a small portion of the first fruits must first be deposited in the Ngum Ngumi sacred pot before they could be eaten. Both Wan’mƏrta and Ngamsa, the rain spirit co-habit there in the Dry Season.

The name Ga’anda is therefore the English name for the Ga’anda word, KANRA’AN. The meaning of the word ‘Ga’anda’ is kinsmen from one ancestor who migrated together.