The Ngondo Festival is the major cultural celebration that takes place yearly by the Wouri river, in the city of Douala, Cameroon. This traditional and mystical feast is a yearly ritual around water which is held by and brings together the Sawa ethnic groups who are defined, by name and relation, the people from the coastal regions, in this instance, of Cameroon. The twenty Sawa ethnic groups represented are, in alphabetical order, the Banen people, the Bankon people, the Bakoko group, the Bakole, the Bakossi, the Bakweri, the Bassa, the Batanga, the Bonkeng, the Douala, the Ewodi, the Subu, the Limba, the Mbo, the Mboko, the Mungo, the Nyamtan, the Pongo, the Wovea and the Yabassi.
The high-profile event is organised by highly-ranked personalities of Greater Douala. The participants are local Sawa people but tforeigners can watch. This is an a only and identifies itself as artistic and cultural, mystical, artistic, as well as political. The entertainment fills the streets with music, sports, colours, dance, fashion, pageant, a blend of positively animated atmospheres and fun. This is playing an increasing role in the region’s cultural tourism beyond its primary goal to promote harmony among and between the coastal ethnic groups and assemble major tribe chiefs for the purpose. The coastal fashion gets a full display, in particular, the Kaba, a traditional maxi dress from the Duala tribe dating back to the times of the British protectorate and the loin cloth. The local beauties appear as part of the selection of the year’s Miss Ngondo, the celebration’s own pageant. Besides the beauties competing are the cooks challenging each other over the rainbow of Sawa creative tastes and textures. Finally, showcasing the richness of the Sawa culture are the trade fair and traditional wrestling matches and long canoe races along the Wouri river.
The celebration has been occuring annually since 1914 although after 1981, the ritual was banned by the authorities until it came back to life in 1991, swapping its 12th of July celebrations for the period of November-December. Indeed, what better time it is to get a message for the year to come. the festival takes place for a whole month
Below is the announcement for the 2018 event, in French, that takes place from the 2nd of November to 2nd of December. The theme is Moto mô, Mboa pò, i.e. One People, One Nation.