Introduction

The Badwe’e people are the descendants of Edwe’e, who was the son of Kɔɔ and his wife Ampi’i. Kɔɔ was the son of Nzime. The older brothers of Edwe’e were Njeme, the first-born, and Nzime, who was named after his grandfather. The descendants of the three brothers are known in the Badwe’e dialect by the phrase “dyɛɛ mo Kɔɔ, mwan mo Zime”: “the clan of Kɔɔ, son of Zime”, which is abbreviated as “Kɔɔ-Zime”. (In the Nzime dialect this is “Kɔɔ-Nzime”.)

The language of the Badwe’e is referred to either as “kɔɔzime” or “badwe’e”, the language of the Nzime is known either as “kɔɔnzime” or simply “nzime”. In The Ethnologue, they are classified together in the region “#234” of the map. (See map below.)

The Badwe’e inhabit the areas of Messamena, Somalomo and Mindourou in southeastern Cameroon, while the Nzime are in the areas of Lomié and Messok.

Even with a population of 55,000, the Badwe’e barely occupy more than three persons per square kilometer due to the vastness of the region. This demographic challenge does not permit them maximum development. Another factor that hinders development is that the land is infertile due to being mostly composed of clay.

The Badwe’e live in small hamlets isolated from one another along the roads, which are not well-traveled, and are sometimes cut off. This gives the Badwe’e the reputation of being remote. They have found a way, however, to make the most of this situation. Being far from towns and the inability to participate in market life, they cultivate all that they need, living on the resources available to them. They harvest cocoa in order to have the means to pay taxes, and buy school books, and personal products such as sugar, soap, kerosene, clothes and roofing tin.

Their hamlets consist of the members of the same clan, with the exception of the wives that come from other villages. The number of family units per hamlet are less than twenty. The houses face the road on both sides. Each house consists of two medium-sized rooms: a kitchen and a bedroom. The women and children spend most of their time in the kitchen. An exceptionally big village might be a kilometer long, in which you might find the kitchens located behind the sleeping houses, which face the road.

The forest is quite vast for the needs of the populations, so the land is not under demand or a cause for rivalry. They have no need to set up property ownership of cropland. This is further explained by the fact that cultivable land is only useful for two years in a row, then left for at least ten years for the soil and plants to revive. After that time, there is a great amount of work to clear the land for cultivating again.