Tuesday, December 21, 2010

THE CHAM PEOPLE OF NIGERIA.

         ‘Cham’ originally known as ‘Chum’ meaning brother (a mutation due to bad pronunciation by traders and neighboring tribes) is a Lilliputian minority ethnic group found in the southern part of Gombe in Balanga local government area along Yola road. According to Hassan Tom Firi quoted by Albashi in The Socio-cultural Impart of the missionary Activities in Cham District of Balanga Local Government of Bauchi State.(1990). The people of cham migrated from Yamel in the Far East with some tribes like Lunguda, Tula and Dadiya at about 1777. They came to Africa through Egypt and made their way to Nigeria through southern Borno and settled at Kindiyo and Mwona (pronounce as mona) present day cham district in 1880.
     Cham language appertains to the numerous Chadic languages(a member of languages of the Afroasiatic Phylum, together with Semitic, Ancient Egyptian, Berber and Cushitic spoken mostly in the Chad republic, Cameroon and northern Nigeria) found across Africa. The people of Cham are found in two states: Gombe state and Adamawa state. But they are found in substantial number at Gombe in Balanga local government area with a district and an independent chief. The current ‘Nidu’ that is ‘king’ is James D. Chachi.
    Aside from being one of the beautiful and enthralling languages that the world is blessed with, Cham is also one of the names of the towns of the tribe and the headquarter of the cham district.
    The industrious, hospitable, peaceful and united people of cham are majorly farmers producing both cash and food crops like cotten, groundnut and rice; Guinea-corn, maize, millet and beans respectively. However, today they are found in virtually every sphere of both public and private businesses. Traditionally they are animists and ancestrologists, but in recent times many of them have embraced Christianity and Islam. Despite this, the Cham people still holds on to some of their traditions and cultural heritage with pride like the 'Chigote' festival which is famous among the people and  which is celebrated every April of each year as an annual festival in Cham. 'Chigote' means  friends. importantly also , 'the  people of Cham refer to themselves  as 'Dijim' a plural form of 'Nidiji' which  connotes something that  appeared  from the  earth and having deep root'(Albashi).

6 comments:

  1. I lived and worked in Cham a long time ago (1984 - 1986) as a teacher at GSS Cham. I have fantastic memories of the village and it's people, but unfortunately have lost contact with anyone who knows the village.

    I was only 23 y/o when I arrived fresh faced from London, it was a steep learning curve, but I left two years later in love with the village that adopted me.

    I'd be thrilled to learn how things are in Cham these days. When I was there, there was no electricity, though the Savannah Hill Crest bar would put its generator on for Market Day (Wednesday) so that we could enjoy a cold beer. I have a million other memories I would like to share.

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    1. I am a native of Cham,and currently live in London and have just come back from Cham having spent a few weeks there over the Easter. I am more than happy to share with you the latest in Cham developments. It is completely transformed. Electricity everywhere, even township roads, and much more....

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    2. Wow Ily! Thank you so much for replying, and I a sorry it has taken me so long to read your reply, I am afraid I do not check this site very often.

      Did you go to GSS Cham? It was a bit of a mess in the mid 80's, but I made a lot of friends. I quite enjoyed the walk to school from the village in the morning, less so the walk back at the end of the school day.

      Does the Savannah Hill Crest bar still exist? I spent many a happy hour in there drinking giya mai sanyi with my teacher friends.

      The 'kids' I taught then will all be adults with their own kids, I wonder if any of them would remember me. Probably not.

      I have often toyed with the idea of returning there for a visit some day, but I'm not sure that is a great idea, espescially with the Boko Haram just round the corner.

      What do you do in London? I now live in Oman in the Middle East, but I was brought up in London.

      I'd love to here from you again

      Kind regards

      Ian

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  2. Wow! the people of Cham must be very wonderful.

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  3. During my military school (NMS) days, I had schoolmates from Cham whom, I must confess, were among the most charming, intelligent and charismatic of all cadets on campus. Many thanks to you for highlighting and sharing this brief profile on the great people of Cham.

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  4. During my military school (NMS) days, I had schoolmates from Cham whom, I must confess, were among the most charming, intelligent and charismatic of all cadets on campus. Many thanks to you for highlighting and sharing this brief profile on the great people of Cham.

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