The Gwong (or also spelt ‘Gong’) tribe have their homeland in Jema’a local government area, of the southern part of Kaduna state in Nigeria. A tribe that has had the main stay of their economy as Agriculture; mainly crop farming and hunting activities, the Gwong people are known to be one of the most peaceable tribes in Nigeria. They however are by nature, warriors and therefore, equally a tribe that marauders dread. In other words, the Gwong people are calm enough to contain anyone that seeks friendship, but fierce enough to resist, ward off and fight anyone that poses as a foe.
Historicity and Descent
Similarly to so many other tribes, most of the information regarding the descent and origin is usually by oral tradition and therefore, a tendency for variations in the narrations. For example, one oral tradition claims that the Gwong people are descendants of the Bauchi-Plateau demography, and some others claiming that they originated from the present day Ghana. There is still another claim that they are descendants of the Jukuns in Taraba state. Of these narratives, one interesting narration is that, which claims that the Gwong people have no history of migration and more so, claim that no ethnic group has ever claimed their present land, leading to the conclusion that they were created in the very land they now live and predominantly occupy from the onset, by the Divine Deity, God, which they refer to as ‘Num’.
‘Kagoma’ versus ‘Gwong’
Based on oral tradition, the name Kagoma has been under much speculation, with regards to its origin. Though natively called Gwong, some argue that the name Kagoma arose as a result of the difficulty, experienced by the early Hausa settlers and traders in that area to pronounce the word Gwong (which means ‘Multitude’) or Khi Gwong (which means ‘Our Territory’). However, another plausible explanation of the name was given by a consideration of linguistic evidence that, the word Kagoma stems out from the words ‘Khi Ngomah, a product of the hausa interactions with Kpaki. In whatever case, the bottom line is that the word Kagoma, is an adulterated word-with evident exogenous or Hausa influence-for the Gwong people.
The influences of Christianity, western Education and civilization, has not waned the strong ties of the Gwong people to their much cherished and rich cultural heritage. For example, though the Gwong tribe have been impacted to a great extent by the Christian missionaries and therefore, have a good Christian population, they however, are also a highly superstitious and traditional people, holding strongly to some of their African Traditional Belief systems. The impact of westernization has also impacted their dressing. In times past however, the Gwong people dressed in woven leaves and skins of animal (popularly called “Bante”) and subsequently, adopted dresses of hand-made woven loin cloth like the one still in use by the masquerades or Dodo (Gyashak).
The Gwong people have the Kpob Gwong (or Kpob Gong) as the paramount ruler. The traditional stool of the Kpop Gwong is situated at Fadan Kagoma, Jema’a Local Government area of Kaduna state, Nigeria.
The native dialect and language spoken is referred to as Gyong.
Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). “Kagoma”. Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
Featured image source: Echoes of Hope