Bulu people



Bulu, also spelled Boulou, one of a number of related peoples inhabiting the hilly, forested, south-central area of Cameroon as well as mainland Equatorial Guinea and northern Gabon.

The Bulu primarily inhabit southern Cameroon. They speak a Bantu language and belong to the larger Beti cultural and linguistic group. Some 660,000 people consider themselves Bulu, although more than 800,000 speak the language.

Bulu People

The Bulu of Cameroon are numbering 1,290,000 (Peoplegroups.org, 2023)

They live not far from Kwele, with whom they share cultural similarities. They practiced a ngi ritual against sorcery, in particular, against poisonings. Ngi is the gorilla, a fearful animal, with whom the candidate identifies after he has been accepted into the association.

These peoples are collectively called the Fang (q.v.). “Bulu” is a loosely defined term that designates one of the three major subdivisions of the Fang. The Bulu constitute about one-third of the Fang living in Cameroon.

The origins of the Bulu are not clear; they may have moved southward with other Fang peoples from what is now southeastern Chad because of pressure from the expansionist Fulani to the north. They were also attracted by the opportunities for trade with European colonists to the south. The southward migration of the Bulu toward the sea was halted by German colonial forces in the late 19th century, and their thrust into what is now northern Gabon was stopped by the French at about the same time.

The Bulu live in a region of equatorial forest. They grow crops of cassava and corn (maize) and supplement these with a wide variety of vegetable leaves, plantains, palm oil (and palm wine), and wild mushrooms, insects, and other gathered products. Hunting has also been a very significant pursuit among the Bulu. The Bulu live in the best cacao-producing area of Cameroon, and their income from this crop is substantial.

The Bulu’s clans are determined through patrilineal descent, and religious societies and age grades provide social cohesion and identity beyond the village. In late colonial years, the Bulu founded a formal tribal union with all clans represented and efforts coordinated for social welfare. American Protestant missionaries have had a great influence, and Bulu sculpture and other arts have been redirected from religious purposes to a flourishing tourist market. Both the profits from cacao and the schools established by early missionaries have meant that the Bulu have long participated actively in the economic, political, and intellectual growth of Cameroon.

Bulu People



Bulu is a Bantu language of the Bulu people of Cameroon. The language had 174,000 native speakers in 1982, with some 800,000 second language speakers in 1991. Its dialects include Bene, Yelinda, Yembana, Yengono, and Zaman. Bulu was formerly used by colonial and missionary groups as a lingua franca in the region for commercial, educational, and religious purposes, though it is today becoming less frequent in those spheres.

Bulu belongs to the group of Beti languages and is intelligible with Eton, Ewondo, and Fang.



Most of their masks are in the form of a human face, some with horns. They have geometrically formed human heads, mostly colored white and black.