As the traditional wrestling tournament (Pala Pala) in Buea enters its final stage this week, one of the young Councillors of the Buea Council, David Ndive, on Friday, offered 1 million francs CFA to support the competition.
Ndive, handed the cash to Iya Menyoli Susan, head of the Buea Traditional Wrestling Association, fulfilling a pledge he had made earlier.
Finals of the traditional wrestling tournament in Buea will play at Pala Pala Field Great Soppo this Sunday, May 7.
Hundreds of spectators are expected at the event, as previous wrestling matches this year have pulled large crowds.
Traditional wrestlers from five villages – Bokwai, Bokwoango, Bwassa, Bova, and Gbea – will be expected at the finals.
The yearly event gained unprecedented steam this year, and hundreds of spectators have usually turned out on Sundays to witness wrestling matches.
Traditional wrestling is one of the cultural heritage of the Bakweri (Mokpe) people, the dominant tribe in the Fako Division of Cameroon’s South-West region.
Commonly called “Wherzuwa” in the Mokpe Language, traditional wrestling is “one of the pillars of the Mokpe tradition,” says the Paramount Ruler of Buea, Chief Dr. Robert Esuka Endeley.
After his coronation last year, he said one of his goals was to revive cultural activities like “Wherzuwa”, and modernize the activity.
He said part of the plan is to preserve traditional wrestling songs by recording and storing them digitally.
Fako Division has at least four traditional wrestling zones: Zone A (Buea), Zone B (Victoria), Zone C (Tiko), and Zone D (Muyuka).
The four zones have been cooperating to prevent this aspect of their culture from being drowned by modernity.
By Tata Mbunwe