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Mama, Schrifterfinder
Mama, who invented the
Wuhrmann, Anna (Ms)
Date Created and/or Issued
Publication Information
University of Southern California. Libraries
Contributing Institution
University of Southern California Digital Library
International Mission Photography Archive, ca.1860-ca.1960
Rights Information
All the images (photographic and non-photographic) made available in this collection are the property of the Basel Mission and are managed by mission 21. mission 21 / Basel Mission claim copyright on the images in their possession and require those publishing any of the images--both individuals and organisations--to pay a user's/copyright fee.
Contact the Archives of mission21 at address mentioned or at
mission21, Missionsstrasse 21, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland, tel. (+41 61 260 22 42), fax (+4161 260 22 68)
Note: "Nji Mama, Bruder von Ibrahim Njoya (Cf. E-30.31.005). Foto um 1912." (Ch. M. Geary, Ndam Njoya 1985:140). - "Mama Schrifterfinder. Brustbild von vornen. Mama, ein Verwandter des Häuptlings, ist ein gescheiter Kopf. Er hat bei der Erfindung der berühmten Bamumschrift wohl den grössten Anteil, und auch sonst hat er dem König manchen unschätzbaren Dienst geleistet. Dafür hat Nzoya seinen Vetter reich und gross gemacht und ihn hoch über seine Beamten gestellt. Aber was ist die Gunst des Fürsten? Mama muss sich irgend etwas haben zu Schulden kommen lassen, was genügte, um ihn aus 'allerhöchster Gnade' in 'allertiefste Ungnade' zu stürzen. Nzoya hat sich von seinem Vetter abgewendet und spricht verächtlich von dem Manne, den er kürzlich noch so hoch ehrte. Mama darf sich im Häuptlingshofe nicht mehr sehen lassen und niemand darf es wagen, von dem Verstossenen etwas Gutes zu erzählen! Nzi Mama lebt nun mit seinen vielen Frauen, die ihm merkwürdigerweise der König gelassen hat, auf seinem schönen Besitztum, pflanzt seinen Mais und lebt ruhig auf der Scholle, die ihm in besseren Tagen von seines Fürsten Gnade geschenkt worden ist. Es kommt vielleicht der Tag, wo die Sicherheit der Krone oder des Landes einen schwierigen Auftrag, oder ein gefahrvolles Unternehmen von einem intelligenten Menschen verlangt. Da wird sich Nzoya seines Vetters erinnern und ihm Gelegenheit bieten sich wieder zu 'rehabilitieren'. Mama wird ohne Zweifel den Auftrag übernehmen und auch dann nicht mit der Wimper zucken, wenn er weiss, dass er einen Uriasauftrag erhalten hat." (Wuhrmann, A., 1917. Beschreibung zu den Lichtbildern aus Bamum. E-30-0,6).
Note translation: "Nji Mama, brother of Ibrahim Njoya (Cf. E-30.31.005). Photograph c.1912." (C.M. Geary, Ndam Njoya 1985:140). - Mama, the inventor of the Bamum script. Head and shoulders from the front. Mama, a relative of the King, is a clever man. He probably played the most important role in the invention of the famous Bamum script, and in other respects, too, he has served the King with great distinction. Because of this Njoya made his cousin wealthy, gave him high status, and placed him high over his other officials. But how much benefit is the favour of kings and princes really? Mama must have done something which caused him to fall from being the beneficiary of the highest grace and favour to suffering the deepest forms of dislike and hostility. Njoya has turned from his cousin, and speaks slightingly of the man he honoured so highly not long ago. Mama cannot let his face be seen in the chief s compound, and no-one can dare to say anything good about him. Nzi Mama lives now with his many wives. Interestingly enough the King has left them with him. His residence is on his fine estate, where he plants his maize and lives quietly from the land the King granted him in better days. Perhaps the day will come when the safety of the crown or of the state requires that a difficult or dangerous task be carried out by an intelligent man. When that happens Njoya will remember his cousin and will offer him the chance to rehabilitate himself. Mama will undoubtedly take on the task required of him and will not hesitate, even when he knows that he his being treated like Uriah. (A. Wuhrmann, 1917, Commentaries to Slides from Bamum, E-30-0,6. K 362).
b/w positive, paper print, collodion
11.0 x 8.2 cm.
impa-m28763 [Legacy record ID]
Mama (Mr)
Inventor of writing m
Portrait m
Textile pattern
Time Period
E-30.31.008 [Reference number]
QE-30.006.0197 [Same image reference number]
Cameroon. Grasslands. Bamum. 1. Palace and its organisation, members of staff; 2. Palace festivals, 3. Palace and other royal buildings
Historical Photographs from the Basel Mission
International Mission Photography Archive, ca.1860-ca.1960
impa-m15099; impa-m17105
mission 21 / Basel Mission

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