The Glavda, and the Amuda & Ganjara (Nigeria and Cameroon)

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First mentioning of ‘Gelabda-Gebirge’ is by Rohlfs (1875:49ff) after his ascent of ‘Sramarda’ (in the Mora Hills). He identified several mountain areas by name. One of them were the ‘Gelabda’ hills. Since he also identified ‘Dladeba’ (Zelidva), Muller- Kosack (1999) assumes that he meant the Moskota hills. This is well possible, since Muller-Kosack (1997:690) reports that the Glavda once inhabited the north of the Moskota Hills, which are now occupied by the Verdeke clan (see page Mafa). Mathews (1934:8ff) reports that the ‘Galabda’ (Glavda) were, in the past, in constant war with the ‘Wula’ (here Mafa and not Wula proper). Muller-Kosack (1994:89) informs us that the Glavda originally separated from the Gvoko (see page Gvoko) and migrated via Uvagha (see Lamang groups) and Guduf to Gava (see Guduf). Aga’s brother went to Malgwe (Margi or Gamergu) while Aga settled in Gava (near the Basle Mission of today) under a ‘Ghavda’ tree, from which the name Glavda is presumably derived. Glavda are not supposed to burn the wood of the ‘Ghavda’ tree (ibid:96). Glavda refer to the Vereke Hill in Cameroon as ‘Vrakaha’ (ibid:97). They were not only driven out of the northern parts of the Moskota Hills but also from Gava (see page Guduf) and the foothills of Zelidva. They are no longer considered as montagnards but as inhabitants of the plains.

The Amuda & Ganjara are a very small ethnic unit related to each other. The Amuda are con- sidered as the most powerful grain blessers of the region and the Ganjara are famous rainmakers. ‘Bunga Zigila’ (a ‘son of God’) came from heaven (he was of divine origin) with euphorbia as his divine food and married ‘Parado’, the daugther of ‘Mathube’ (who was not of divine, but of ordinary or terrestrial origin). From this special relationship ‘Hafta’ was born. Hafta had two sons: ‘Amuda’ and ‘Parava’. Parava become the founding ancestor of the Ganjara. The division of ‘divine’ labour continued in the Amuda who still own the gift/power of grain blessing and the Ganjara who still own the gift/power of rain making (Muller-Kosack 1994:104f,132ff).

The Glavda occupy the plains between the Zelidva and the Moskota Hills, crossing the Kerawa river (international boundary) into Cameroon. The Gava (Guduf) are their western and the Zelidva are their northern neighbours. Their Mafa are their eastern and the Amuda and the Chinene are their southern neighbours. The Ganjara live in small settlements south and northwest of them.


Muller-Kosack (1999) estimates on the basis of the projections for 1996 (from census 1963 and census 1991) that there are between 30,000 and 40,000 Glavda altogether. Wolff (1971:69) estimates for 1963 about 20,000 Glavda for Nigeria. SIL also estimates 20,000 for 1963 in Nigeria and 2,800 in Cameroon (1982).



Wolff (1971:67ff) concludes from comparison with wordlists of others (Buchner, Rapp, Scheytt and Benzing) and his own research, that all Glavda speak one language, which is called ‘Glavda’. According to Wolff (ibid) the Glavda gave up their original language Gvoko after having reached their present habitat. SIL identifies Glavda as a dialect of ‘Wandala Proper’ (Biu Mandara A). Barreteau speaks of ‘gelvaxdaxa’ (Glavda) as a dialect of wandala-east (Central Chadic A). The Amuda and Ganjara speak Glavda, but they are not Glavda by ethnicity (Muller-Kosack 1994 ibid).


Muller-Kosack (1994) informs us that all Glavda share the same ethnic identity by tracing their ancestory back to Aga. Main settlements are: Ngoshe Kasa, Agapalawa, Attagara, Jubrili, Zambga, Arboko, and Boko Satu and Boko Kalkal. Aga had two wives: Pata and Zhikah. Aga’s marriage with Pata produced the lineages Zigila and Machiya, while the marrage with Zhikah produced the lineage Aga. The descendants of Aga Zigila and Aga Machiya are found in Ngoshe and Boko. The descendants of Aga Aga are found in Arboko, Agapalwa and Attagara (ibid 96f). Muller-Kosack (1994:132ff) informs us that the Amuda and Ganjara have their own ethnic identities, but that they are very close to each other.


No ethnography of the Glavda has been written so far. Main ethnograhic source are Muller-Kosack (mainly fieldnotes 1985 for Cameroon, 1994 for Nigeria). To mention are also Gula, Athba, Anon. Wolff, Buchner, Rapp, Scheytt are linguists.

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