Numan, (also known as, Nomweh -meaning ‘hilltop’) is a very popular town and a Local Government Area in Adamawa State, Nigeria. It is a port town that lies on the confluence of Benue River and Gongola River. In that popular local government is the Predominant ethnic group referred to as the Bwatiye or also popularly called, the Bachama. A people who have a reputation of being unconquered warriors in all their history.
Bachama People and the All Important ‘Kwete Festival’
The Kwete festival is an all-important and significant event for the Bachama people. The annual event draws the attention of people from far and near. What makes The Kwete Cultural Festival so important is the beliefs and attachments to it. The festival serves firstly as a prayer concert for the people of the Bachama Kingdom for a bountiful harvest. It is a common belief, among the Bachama people, that if the Kwete cultural festival does not take place, nobody would be allowed to cultivate their farmlands; therefore, the festival is aimed at marking the commencement of the new farming season in the Bachama Kingdom. Secondly, it is celebrated in the bid to revive and promote their rich cultural heritage.
The first day is for the women to exhibit their cultural artefacts, in a way, demonstrating that women are not relegated in the affairs of the kingdom. The festival also gives the youth an opportunity to demonstrate their strength in a wrestling competition; drawing contestants from across Bachama kingdom, who come to show their strength, and to prove the importance of raw strength in the business of farming. The women are not left out, as they also compete in traditional dances, showcasing their rich cultural attires; and all these activities are of importance to the Bachama people because they do not want their rich cultural heritage to go into extinction.
This festival also serves as a period where the traditional monarch, the Hama Bachama, associates with the custodians of the ritual houses (sacred palace). The Hama Bachama also uses the festival to acknowledge the achievements of his sons and daughters, wherever they are, and also to sanction those that had violated the laws of the land.
Other interesting Aspects of the Bachama People
Some other interesting facts about the Bachama people include:
- For a newly married couple, the family of the bride provides a lot of food- usually in abundant measures, utensils and other domestic tools for the couple to ‘settle down’. These could include Corn flour, sweet potatoes, dried okra millet, sorghum, calabashes and local broom carefully arranged for the Bwatiye bride to feed herself and husband while newly married.
- Foodstuff and other Kitchen necessities are mandatory by tradition for every bride that is establishing a new home.
- A brides dowry is displayed a week to the wedding ceremony. Only older women can keep watch over a bride’s dowry which is displayed a week to the wedding ceremony.
- Only a married woman is allowed to have the stands on which the calabashes are placed. She can use them in her local kitchen or as decorative items,
The Bwatiye people are led by a First Class King known as the Hama Bachama, who is the paramount ruler of the Bwatiye Kingdom. The Voti (meaning ‘Palace’ or traditional stool) is in Numan, the administrative seat of the throne. Lamurde has another palace for the King as that is the spiritual or ancestral home of the Bwatiye people. The Queen of the Bwatiye kingdom is referred to as Mbamto.
Rediscovering Africa Heritage
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