Tag Archives: history

The war for Umgbaleng

Here is another story written by Mr. Mafulul Lek in 1992. It is about Umgbaleng, a beautiful woman from Daffo who is said to have caused a tribal war between the Eastern Ron and the Daffo. Continue reading

The evil torchlight

Here is another funny story recorded by Mr. Mafulul Lek in 1992 about the reaction of the Daffo people to modern inventions. Mr. Lek  also mentions a little bit of local history: In the beginning the Ɗares clan is said to have first settled in a hill called Hurum, while the Mapun clan settled at one nearby called Ɗayi. The Mapun managed to frighten away the Ɗares from there, using something similar to a torchlight.

Mwan ti tocilang

Ndee mwan ti tocilang ti lang la, si tokai fo, wa’ mwan ti ɗigir ti. Ngga’ mama mwan ti tocilangi ti ndaa, andai ti ɗes, wa’ mwan ti ɗigir ti ndaa! Ahun wa’ mwan ti naf ma katuli ti njyaau fat ti manggawu mama a lwaak ta fulul.

Wa’ sukwyat tima si masai ti mun yo mwan ti tocilang, yit ti, ndee si masai, Mapun si nggarai ti Ɗares ma Ɗayi taa kil mama ndee si tong mamun ti a Ɗafo. Wa’ a Ɗafo, Ɗayi – masut ma Ɗares, sin mi, ndee si tong mamun a kil mama si laal yo Hurumi. Masut ma Mapun sin si mun a kil mama a ti’ Ɗayi. Nai Mapuni si shitai, Hurum, kil mama Ɗaresi mi ti, a wuis mahyau, si nii: “Ca masai tite, ca nggarai Ɗaresi la ta ti a kil sai, can ca tik ti?”

Nai si hulai mwan a lung. Si kwaan a wan ti ta fulul, si gwaafis hai bilyu-bilyu, si ndyaak la, fat mwan ti tocilang. Nai Ɗaresi si nii, mwan ti ɗigir ti. Shisher ti kai sis. Si yu, si lakis nyaas Mapun ɗamani. Mapun si niyis ye, ɓa si shen kikyali, sin si tik la a mmis, si shitai ɗaman mama si laki. Nai Ɗares si lifit taa Hurum, si tik a Ɗayi, Mapun si tik ti a Hurum.

Taa nani, si nya, si shunjo, Mapun si niyis nyaas Ɗaresi: “Hu tiket a mashit mwan tindai ha?” Si niyis, wawa’, si tik a shitai ɗaman ɗiin andai kwa. Si niyis: “Ye, findel a wal. Ninii ɗes, ni shitis ɗama ɗiin andai kwa. Nan kil mai kek, ndiya a mat hun kwa. Mma hu wal a kon cala na a nani, hu munu na, nin ni mun ti a tei.”

Ngga’ mama Mapun ndee si masai ti mwan, fat tocilang nai, si ku si pak ti Ɗares taa Hurumi, sin si tik ti. A fa hani ti, ndee mwan ti tocilang ti kiris shisher, yit ka’ a malang la.

Mayes a kwai hani, ɓiil naf si fwaak, si gofis mwan ti tocilang hai, ahun a dyar kwa. Mma sin a hatat ta fulul, si shitai, ti nda taa kima, si kiret fo ti tutok. Ɗes, a fa ngga’ mama naf si shisherai mwan ti tocilangi fo, yit ti, ti mun mwan ti shir ti mgbang, tima si haat a sherat ti ta fulul.

A fa andai ɗes a shinggil tuni, mma naaf a ndaa mwan ti tocilang hai ta fulul, ta findel kwa, ha a findelis, ta kwis ka matayi, si daash, si nii, masher mai. Gip si daash, si hek la gbum, yet mwan ti tocilang!

The torch-light

When the torch-light first appeared, people ran away from it, thinking it was ‘evil light’. According to traditional beliefs, witches or evil-doers carry a fire at night, which is switched on and off in the same way as the torch-light. A type of glow-worm called ‘Manggau’ in the Ron language is also associated with this type of light.

There is a story which tells how the Mapun group of the Ron tribe used this belief of evil light to displace the Ɗares group from their original settlement at Daffo. The Ɗares are said to have first settled in a hill called Hurum, while the Mapun settled at one nearby called Ɗayi. The Mapun liked the Hurum hill better, therefore they planned to dislodge the Ɗares from there.

At night, they put fire in a pot and went close to Hurum hill. There, they took it out from the pot and put it back repeatedly, thus producing a flashing light. They did this several times. The Ɗares thought that it was ‘evil light’ and started being afraid. They told their Mapun neighbours about it. The Mapun suggested that they should change their living places for some time, so that they could see what was happening. So the Ɗares group moved to Ɗayi, while the Mapun group moved to Hurum.

When another night had passed, the Mapun asked the Ɗares whether they had seen the light again. They replied that they had not. The Mapun told them that they had not seen any light, either. They proposed that both groups should simply stay where they were.

This is how the Mapun used a torch-like light to displace the Ɗares from Hurum hill. People were afraid, when the torch light first appeared. Even today, some people hate being flashed at with a torch-light. If they walk at night and see it from a distance, they will flee from it.

Thieves sometimes use torch-lights to frighten people at night. Whenever a person flashes a torch-light at someone at night and does not speak up, he may be taken as a thief and attacked or even lynched.

The basket burial treaty

Mr. Mafulul Lek (right) and Mr. Sati Mangut, in front of the Ron Cultural Institute (© Uwe Seibert, 2004)

Here is another war story written down by Mafulul Lek, a former journalist from Daffo. It describes a trick used by the Daffo people in a war against their eastern neighbors, the Bokkos and Butura people. In the end, the Eastern Ron people called the British for help, who defeated the Daffo people with their cannon. Continue reading

Everyone should be treated alike

In the past, in Ron country, law and customs were maintained by the kocok, a religiously sanctioned caste of elders. The head of that caste was called “Saf ma Nyorong“. The following story by Mafulul Lek tells how a man who was  a makocok himself challenged their authority. Continue reading

The case of the stolen mask

Here is a story about a ritual conflict between the Daress and the Mapun section of the Ron and how it was solved. It was told by Mr. Ɗanjuma Malan Kating, a descendant of the Daress from Malul village in Daffo district. Continue reading

In memoriam Barbara Frank

Dr. Barbara Frank (Private photo)

Dr. Barbara Frank was one of the few people worldwide doing research on the culture and history of the Ron and Kulere people. She was born  in Goßfelden near Marburg in 1936 and died in Marburg  in 2004. This year, she would have been 75 years old. She died too early. May her soul rest in peace! Continue reading

Some information on Ron

The Ron language is spoken by about 115,000 people mostly in Bokkos Local Government in Plateau State, Nigeria. It is bordered by Kulere and the Mushere dialect of Mwaghavul in the south and southwest, Sha and Mundat in the west, Birom in the north and Mwaghavul in the east. The Ron people are also called “Chala” by their neighbours (“cala” being their most common greeting). Continue reading