Lifio li kendeke li fondoko wana wa ndembe: a dirge
Translation from Mbomboko by David Kombe Monono aka moliki m’wangani
Rendering into poetry by Richard Moki Monono aka mbak’a moliki
The Molela is a recitation, of the Malley [also spelled Maalé or Mahlé] Society of the Bakweri/Bomboko tribe in general. Several Melela are sung before each celebration of the Malley begins. There are more than one hundred melela recited in the the Malley society and they occur in Mbomboko, Bakweri, Bakundu, and the many coastal dialects which use malley recitation and ritual. The Malley is therefore a very poetic ritual. Non initiates merely see the Malley as a dance society while the literary and poetic aspects of the society are not always well understood.
Most of the songs of the Malley are sung in Bomboko. This slightly familiar and yet strange dialect adds a slight touch of the esoteric and mysterious when it is being sung to a Bakweri audience. The effect could be compared to the effect of latin masses to an often uncomprehending audience of people who do not understand Latin. The strangeness of the language added a gloss and mystery to the singing of the mass. The Bakundu language is also used by the Ekpe society of Manyu rather than their native Banyang and Ejagham dialects to achieve the same effects.
The Malley society was founded by Lisongo Mette in Mbomboko and therefore many of its songs are in the Mbomboko language.(The Bakweri of course climbed over the mountain and transformed themselves from Mbombokos to Bakwerians.)