The Mora (Cameroon)

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Mouchet (1947:136) informs us that the name Mora needs to be derived from ‘Megye-Mora’, who was the seventh son of ‘Katsaka’. Katsaka originated from ‘Malguwa’ (‘Ga-mergu’, see page Gamergu). but he came from ‘Wadza’ (Waza, an inselberg about 60 km northeast of Mora), from where he had to flee, and took refuge in Mora (ibid:127). Katsaka had arrived with his seven sons: Gagadama (also known as Adama), Agala, Megye-Mora, Mdala (or Ala), Cugye, Faka (or Mdawa), and Kovra. Literature often refers to the Mora as ‘Kirdi-Mora’ in order to distinguish the Mora from Mora Town.

The Mora massif is situated at the northeastern corner of the Northern Mandaras. The neighbours of the Mora are the Podokwa in the east, and the Vame-Mbreme in the south. The Mora massif is between 600 and 900 m high. Mora Town, with the palace of the Sultan of Wandala, is found at its northwestern foot. The Mora massif belongs to the arrondissement Mora, canton Mora-Massif.


Mouchet (1947:125) counts 3,123 Mora. Hallaire & Barral (1967:56) speak of 3,037 Mora, and Hallaire (1991:26) counts only 2,000 Mora (referring to the Mora-Massif). Boulet et al (1984:119) speak of 2,300 Mora. Population density of the Mora-Massif is between 100 and 139 inhabitants per square km (Hallaire 1991,fig5).


Barreteau (1984:167ff) classifies mura (Mora) as a dialect of wandala, together with wandala (Mandara) and malgwa (Gamergu) under wandala-est. Other dialects of wandala-est are gelvaxdaxa (Glavda) and parekwa (Podokwa). Barreteau (ibid) is of the opinion that mura is an archaic form of the wandala language. He adds that the ‘Mora-Kirdi’ other than the ndreme speakers (see Vame-Mbreme and Hurza) don’t have to learn wandala as a second language. The SIL website Ethnologue does not list mura as separate dialect of wandala.


Lembezat (1952:91) informs us that the Mora settled on the Mora massif before the Mandara of Doulo and Mora rose to power. Lembezat (1950:87) is of the opinion that the Mora have ancestral links with the Podokwa. Mouchet (see above) tells us that the ‘true Mora’ derive their ethnic origin from the Malgwe (Gamergu). Other local groups are the ‘Zulg’ (they too came from Waza), the ‘Musgum’ (of Musgu origin), and the ‘Ci-Mora’. The Ci-Mora are according to Mouchet (ibid) not really a local group, but an honorary title which somehow links them to the Sultan of Wandala. R. Lukas (1971,1973:10) is of the opinion that the Ci-Mora need to be linked to the ‘Anouai (Anuway)’ of Muyeng (see page Muyeng).


Main source on the ethnography of the Mora is Mouchet (1947). Lembezat (1952) refers to the Mora in the context of his Mukulehe monograph (see the page on the Podokwa). Lembezat (1961:42) also refers to Hauptmann von Raben, who had found allies with the Kirdi-Mora, resisting defeat from the French and British troops by stationing himself in the Mora Hills between 1914-1915 (see also Ferrandi 1928 and Lemoigne 1916). Lemezat (1948) published an article about the custom of swearing an oath among the Mora. Further literature is Adokara Mamoudou (1983), who wrote his final year essay on the socio-economic integration of the Mora massif.


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