BWAMBWA
This dance was partly put on to entertain us, their guests, but also to amuse themselves on a dark, moonless night. The music is very similar to the music that would be played for the Jengi, but not such a powerful spirit is present. It also seemed to be part of the process of teaching the boys how to deal with the Jengi. Whereas when there is the Jengi ceremony (which is very important as the circumcision ceremony for the boys to become men) the adults will be playing the drums and one of them will be dressed as the Jengi (actually be the Jengi as far as they are concerned), with the Bwambwa Dance the drums (or in this case old plastic containers and cooking pots) were played by young boys and the dancers would be boys who have not yet undergone the circumcision ceremony.

LISTEN to the bwambwa rhythm.

The Bwambwa dancer had a pair of trousers over his head and a "tail" made from a bundle of leaves. There was a strong similarity to the "Ju-ju" dances of the North-West province of Cameroon where the dancers have their heads covered with sack so that you cannot see their faces. Although everyone knows that it is a real person dressed up, they also believe that by dressing up they are possessed by the spirit of the Ju-ju or Bwambwa or Jengi and so are that spirit. We did ask whether a Jengi would be coming, but no-one could tell us. They said that they only know when it arrives. How do they know? They start dancing is the answer. The Jengi will pass through a village and they feel its presence and so know that it is time to make the preparations for the ceremonies.

The rhythms and chanting that we heard at the Bwambwa dance bore an uncanny resemblence to music we had heard two years previously in Chorini, a small village on the north coast of Venezuela. This could be due to the fact that the villagers are descendants of West Africans who were transported to South America as slaves. This would need further investigation

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