Natural disasters in the oral history of West Cameroon

  • Eugenia Shanklin
Part of the International Monograph Series book series (EES)


In 1986, in the Cameroon Grassfields of West Africa, Lake Nyos exploded killing more than 1,700 people; in 1984, Lake Monoun exploded, killing 34 people. Have such explosions occurred before and been recorded in oral literature of the peoples who live in the vicinity of Cameroon’s numerous crater lakes? This article discusses the similarities and differences in two Grassfields legends that explain ethnic group migrations after a body of water brought death and destruction to a population. The analysis suggests that there is a factual basis for the recounting in traditional lore of the maleficent activities of crater lakes.

Keywords oral history crater lakes maleficent water population migration 


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Copyright information

© Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugenia Shanklin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyTrenton State CollegeTrentonUSA

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