Culled from: Edwin Ardener. Coastal Bantu of the Cameroons. (The Kpe-Mboko, Duala-Limba and Tanga-Yasa groups of the british and french trusteeships territories of the Cameroons). London, 1956. 116 pp.
Formerly it was the custom to hold a large supplementary rite (Eyu) for an important man [upon his death]. This would be performed as soon as possible after the normal rites, but might be delayed up to six months or perhaps a year.
When the decision to perform the ceremony was made, his heir would send word for all the dead man's relatives to meet together and fix their contributions of livestock (chiefly goats) to the celebration. Large numbers of these were necessary to make the eyu a big occasion.
In Lisoka, it was said that the paternal relatives and the stocks of the deceased would supply most of the animals, the contribution of the maternal relatives being about one-tenth of the total.
On the fixed day three wooden slit-drums would be set up and beaten, and all the goats would be tied up in lines in the yard. Numbers of friends, relatives, and visitors from neighbouring villages would come to see the array of animals.
The contributions from relatives, as in the case of sase, were known as moleli, and many visitors would bring such contributions also. The goats were counted and their value estimated. A man well known for public speaking then announced how well the relatives had done for the eyu of the deceased, and recounted the possessions left by him and the number of wives and children, together with any warlike actions he performed in the past. This man (mote a mosea: "crier," or mokom'eyu, "announcer of eyu ") received a fowl.
The climax of the ceremony, known as MOTIO, then began. All those who had been in war wore ndombo grass round their necks and danced down the line of goats, carrying knives, slapping their right hands together and singing a war-song: "Yofe asa weli a s' ane maongo,"* while one of their number cut at the heads of the goats. The latter would be killed one by one, until a billy-goat which had not been castrated, and was reserved for the occasion, remained.
Then, a man who had killed someone in war (mot' a maongo) danced in front of the goat, over a plantain stem laid on the ground (said to represent the corpse), finally striking off the goat's head with one blow.
This man received the head (some say also the hind-quarters) and the rest was divided among the elders and ex-warriors. Women or children could not eat it. The meat of eyu was divided in proportion to the contributions of the members of the family and part given to the guests
The eyu ceremony bears certain resemblances to ngbaya (q.v.) in its destruction of large numbers of livestock. Its practice has similarly declined and shows no signs of revival. The custom of praising the dead man has, however, been transferred to the interment, when speeches of a similar character are made.
*Yofe asa weli a s' ane maongo: Literally " Yofe (a bird) doesn't fight without dying " (i.e., " dies before fighting "). This bird eats, without harm, mangrove (matanda) seeds, which are said to be poisonous. If yofe is killed and eaten, therefore, the seeds in its crop poison its killer. The song therefore means, " This man is dead but his relatives will avenge him."