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Efasa Moto, the God of Mount Fako

By Wose Yangange Martin

To young Bakweris, Efasa-Moto is either a fairy tale or a frightful phenomenon beyond their comprehension. Otherwise, it is a myth handed down from generation to generation and usually told elderly village folks.
sugar_cane.jpg
Efasa-Moto is the folkloric god of the Fako Mountain. It is believed that he controls the entire "hill" from the West Coast to the border with Balondo land to the north east coast, and towards Meme Division.

According to Bakweri oral tradition, Efasa-Moto is the male component of the Liengu la Mwanja or the legendary "Mammy Water." It is said that after an agreement between the two, Efasa-Moto chose to live in the mountain and while the Liengu la Mwanja remained at sea.

It has been suggested that during the October 1992 eruption of the Fako Mountain, the path of the impressive lava flow towards the Atlantic Ocean was specifically chosen by Efasa-Moto as an act of bonding and solidarity with his wife, Liengu la Mwanja, the sea mermaid.

It is believed that Efasa-Moto and Liengu la Mwanja are the greatest spiritual figures that the earth has ever known. Physically, Efasa-Moto's is described as being divided vertically from top to bottom in a strange mixture of half human and half stone, and yet shaped in the form of a man giving a complete picture of a goat standing on its hind legs.

Liengu la Mwanja on the other hand is a beautiful looking woman with an oval-shaped face, an enchanting smile with a love gap-tooth, overflowing hair of dark wool resembling a beautiful Indian lady with high and well curved hips.

Efasa-Moto lives in the mountain alone. He maintains a rich healthy sugar cane plantation. His visitors can eat the sugar cane on the spot but cannot carry any away. It is said that the sugar cane is has an unforgettable sweetness.

Efasa-Moto is also said to be the mountain's spiritual protector. In times of old, albinos were abandoned on the mountain as offerings of appeasement to the mountain god so that he could continue to bless the inhabitants at the foot of the mountain.

Some elders say Efasa-Moto helped the Bakweri defeat the Germans in the Battle of Bokwango of 1891. The elders add that the Bakweri eventually lost the war because they betrayed Efasa-Moto's trust.

Efasa-Moto is reportedly a harmless creature, but it is believed that if anyone carries some evil charm or amulets to the mountain, that the person will not return alive. The case of a Nigerian athlete who collapsed at Hut II during the 1986 mountain race and later died when he returned home is cited as a recent example. It is believed the athlete died because he carried some evil medicine on his person during the race.

In recent times, there has been a growing belief that because Efasa-Moto is an impartial and humble creature, he prevent past winners of the Guinness Mount Cameroon race from winning again if they boast of having conquered the mountain. With Efasa-Moto the mountain is unconquerable.

Some people lend credence to this belief by citing the case of the humble Reverend Father Walter Stifter who won the race three successive times. At times, he even preferred to give his prize to the runner-up.

The greed, pride and self-righteousness of the Bakweri is said to have alienated them from the Efasa-Moto. Modern-day hunters still believe in the existence of Efasa-Moto the mountain caretaker. They believe that the bond between the Bakweri and their benefactor god could be re-established if the former undergo intense ritualistic cleansing.

© Times and Life Magazine

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Comments

By the same token, the recent landslides that occured in the city by the ocean could be interpreted as a correction imposed by these primeval forces.

Efasa Moto is the repository of social order, ethics, ecological balance in the Bakweri spiritual system. Liengu la Mwanja is our font of power, creativity, soul, danger and the unpredictable. They are the two sides that make us whole, like ying/yang in oriental cultures. Our artists need to create visual corollaries and switches. We need to take these seriously, because healing and revival cannot occur with disconnection from the founding principles.

"Na Komi eh"
The Wakpe belief of Efasa Mote is a Myth handed down from generation to generation. This does not really exist. Those who hand this myth should be careful not to Deviate a people of such a rich culture into false worhip.

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