The Chamba people, like many other ethnic groups, can be found in various African countries, though they are predominantly present in the Northern region of Nigeria. According to archival findings, the Chamba group are historically sub-arabian but had to migrate as a result of continuous fierce communal battles they were faced with. In search of peace, they moved to Africa thereby settling in the border between Cameroon and Nigeria.

Before then, Nigeria and Cameroon were engaged in a protracted legal and ethical battle on who owned the Chamba land. With several referendum and plebiscites held but their outcomes both accepted and rejected at various times, the true ownership of the Chamba land is yet to be determined. Now resident predominantly in Adamawa, Ganye local government is now seen as their headquarter.

Growing to become a major ethnic group in Nigeria, the Chamba people are spread across Jada, Ganye, Toungo, Fufure, Yola and Mayo-Belwa local government areas in Adamawa state as well as Gashaka, Takum and Sarti Bali in Taraba state. Occupying a very fertile agro-zone, the Chamba community is a mixture of semi-rainforest and heath savannah which serves as a habitat for great wildlife and beautiful flora and fauna. Enjoying the highest amount of rainfall in all of Adamawa, as agrarians, the Chamba land is regarded as a major food production zone in Nigeria.

As a people known for their peaceful coexistence and accommodating nature, the Chamba people allowed Fulani move into their land long time ago and have been together since. Now, many fail to differentiate the Chamba people from the Fulani, which is why people often ask if former Vice president Alhaji Abubakar is a Fulani or a Chamba because he was born in the Chamba land. In present day Chamba land, the Igbos, Hausa amongst many other ethnic groups can be seen resident there. As a result of their friendly nature, the Chamba people joyfully allow their children to marry from other tribes unlike many other ethnic groups in the north who do not permit this.

As predominantly an agrarian community, they are master craftsmen and skilled in sculptures, metal work, pottery amongst many other art work. Seasonally, the Chamba people have a masking tradition where majority of them make masks representing the wild. These masks comprise of a costume made of long fibers.

Amongst many mask made by the Chamba people, the bush-cow mask, which is also referred to as the Buffalo, is unique because it is painted with different colors which is used to determine if the mask is male or female. With the bush-cow mask having various features composed of male and female attributes, its horns represent the female ancestor of the bush-cow (Buffalo). The creation of mask is usually in conjunction with the Chamba traditional events like funerals, initiation of chiefs and circumcision.

As a closely knitted ethnic group, the Chamba community have their own religious belief peculiar to them. Traditionally, they believe in a solar god which they call Su and also believe that there are ancestral spirits that live with the Su. To them, the creator (sun god) only interact with the ancestral spirits while they then interact with living beings on his behalf.

The Chamba also believe the ‘wurumbu’ i.e. the dead, continue to live but in another environment which is below the ground.  Amongst the Chamba is a special set of natives who are believed to possess unique ability to interact with the ancestral spirits and therefore are highly revered and respected. They also believe that a particular forest, which is uninhabited and outside the village, is highly dangerous and only courageous men can go into it.



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