By Bakah Derick
Just shortly after Fo Angwafo III was announced to have gone to sleep, pictures of Prince Fru Asaah Angwafo circulated on social media as the new Fon of Mankon. Serving as Principal of Government Technical College (GTC) Nkeung in neighbouring Nkwen, then Prince Fru Asaah Angwafo was no longer available in public.
He could however be spotted from time to time around the palace. It was same for some other princes with the right to be Fon. The former teacher of GTC Oku in Bui Division we gathered was seized just shortly after the disappearance of his father.
Talking to Mankon sons and daughters, some who were close to the departed monarch insinuated that he was not loved by his father. Others said he was not very close to tradition. However, they all agreed that he was a potential candidate for the revert office of the Fon of Mankon.
"Despite all those pictures on social media, we could still have surprises. I can't confirmed to you if he will be but there shall be a special event in the palace during which the Fon will be presented. I will not be surprised to see some else." An Anye said.
In an outing to announce the "disappearance" of the Fon, the most authoritative masquerade on Mankon land; the Kwifo gave Tuesday 7 June 2022 as they day for the public mourning and presentation of the found Fon.
D-day finally came and in the early hours as the people mourned their departed Fon, a line of princes emerged from the inner court yard of the palace. Amongst them is Prince Fru Asaah Angwafo. He has a white panties with a special walking stick with two treasured red feathers of the Bannerman's Turaco bird attached. These are signs he is the Fon. He is the one announced on social media.
He is hailed and celebrated as he walked into the palace plaza accompanied by his brothers. The spokesperson of the Kwifo Anye Joseph makes a few announcements in the Mankon language and presents the new Fon. He will however not announce the name for his reign. The activity is pushed to the later part of the day.
The fortification of the Fon with symbolic stoning will chased the new monarch from the plaza to the inner chambers of the palace. With the joy of seeing their "returned" Fon, the people retired to nearby streams to take off their ragged clothing called locally as "adzaga" and wash off the wood ash worn earlier as a sign of mourning and sorry. The removal of the adzaga and washing of wood ash is considered the separation with the spirit of death that took away their Fon. They will return in the later part of the day in festival clothing to officially welcome their found Fon and hear the name of his reign.
Traditional rulers from neighbouring and friendly villages have joined the Mankon sons and daughters. Nkwen, Bambili, Bamendankwe, Chomba, Nsongwa, Bambui, Akum, Oku amongst others are present.
Jesters and praise singers keep the people company as the wait for the Fon goes on. It starts raining but no one is ready to go home as those who managed to get shelter made use of it while those who could not stayed in rain. The dexterous Mandere dance comes in. These are signs the Fon will be around soon.
With an uncommon walk of authority accompanied by collaborators and his staff of office, the Fon emerges. He is all robbed with calm wood giving his skin a reddish colour. His authority can be felt as the large crowd hail his arrival.
The Fon will take a conspicuous position. It is an elevation created for the purpose so everyone could see him. The spokesperson of the Kwifo will make a few more comments in the Mankon language and then announce the name of his reign. He will be called Fo Angwafo IV. He will have sometime to dance the mandere rhythm before retiring ending the enthronement exercise. The next face will be the celebration of the departed Fon and the official presentation of the new ruler to the administration. The date for this is yet to be announced.
For 156 years, three Fons presided over the destiny of Mankon land. From Fo Angwafo II from 1866 to 1919 (53), Fo Ndefru III from 1919 to 1959 (40) and Fo Angwafo III from 1959 to 2022 (63).