Muyang people


Muyang / Myau / Muyeng (Cameroon)

The Muyang of Cameroon, are numbering 44,000

They are part of the Chadic people cluster within the Sub-Saharan African affinity bloc. This people group is only found in Cameroon.

Their primary language is Muyang.

The primary religion practiced by the Muyang is Folk Islam, a syncretistic belief system that blends traditional elements of Islam with superstitious practices such as warding off spirits with incantations and magic amulets, and reciting verses of the Qur'an to bring about miraculous healings.

The Muyang are part of Kirdi people.

The Kirdi are the many cultures and ethnic groups who inhabit northwestern Cameroon and northeastern Nigeria.

Muyang people


First mentioning of the name ‘Moyung’ (Muyeng) appears in Denham 1926 (1985:175). Rohlfs (1875:50) mentions the ‘Muengdje’ (Muyeng). Moisel (1912-13, map 1:300,000) speaks of ‘Mujenge’ Muyeng referring to the name of the massif. No etymology of the name Muyeng has been brought to our knowledge so far. The founding ancestor’s name of the dominant clan of the Muyeng is ‘Anohay’ (Richard 1977:36) or ‘Anouai’ (R. Lukas 1973:11), and no lineage of any of his descendants seems to carry a name from which the ethnic name Muyeng can be derived. However, the name of the language is muyang (Barreteau 1984:165), which allows us to assume that the ethnic name reflects the name of the dialect they speak.



The Muyeng inselberg is situated about 5 km east of the cliffs of the Northern Mandaras with the Mada as their western neighbours. The Muyang massif consists of three main blocks: the Mont Mouyingue in the west 850 m high, the Mont Gouada-Gouada 841 m, and Mont Mouyen in the northeast (Richard 1977:30). The massif stretches about 6 km from west to east. The cantons Muyeng and Palbara belong to the arrondissement Tokombere, department Mayo Sava.



Today population is around 40.000 (

The population figures found in the literature vary a lot. Hallaire & Barral 1957:57) counts for 1961, 6,888 Muyeng, but Hallaire (1991:26) speaks only of 5,411. Boulet et al (1984:119) count 9,000 Muyeng, whereas SIL (1982) speaks of 15,000. According to Hallaire (1991,fig5) the population density of the Muyeng is between 40 and 99 inhabitants per square km.



Barreteau (1984:168ff) classifies muyang together with wuzlam (Uldeme), mada and melokwo (Mokyo-Molkwo) as a dialect of mafa-south. The SIL website ethnologue mentions muyang as one dialect of Biu-Mandara, A5. (

Muyang is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in and near the town of Tokombéré in the department of Mayo-Sava in northern Cameroon.

The Muyang (15,000 speakers) traditionally inhabit the Muyang massif and the neighboring massifs of Mougouba, Gouadagouada, and Palbarar, which are inselbergs in the plain northeast of Tokombéré (in Mouyengué and Palbara-Goudouba cantons of Tokombéré arrondisement, Mayo-Sava department, Far North Region). (



Mouchet (1947:102) argues convincingly that all six Mboku local kingroups share one and the same language and the same customs. We assume that they still refer to themselves as Mboku in linguistic as well as in ethnic terms. This is surprising since they all moved in from different areas (Hurza, Mofu, Mada, Doulo, Giziga) not longer than about 200 years ago. Hallaire (1991) does not mention the Mboko as an ethnic group on her list (p26) but on her map (fig3), whereby Boulet at al (1984:115,119) do clearly recognise them as an ethnic group.

Vincent (1981:285) recognises the Mboki/Mboko as an ethnic unit and groups them together with the Meri, Zulgo and Gemjek. She refers to them as ‘Tsklam’ and classifies them ethnically as a sub-group of the Mofu-Diamare. Vincent explains that the ‘true’ or Mofu proper (Durum, Duvangar, Wazang) call ‘the peoples who live nextdoor to the north ...Tsklam’ (Vincent 1991:60). Vincent does not know the meaning of the word, but Muller-Kosack (1997:129) informs us that the Mafa mean by ‘tsekam’ a regional chieftaincy of loosely associated villages.



Most important literature is Mouchet and Vincent, although Vincent does not explicitly describe the Mboko as an ethnic group. Her main ethnographic interest are the ‘true’ Mofu and questions remain open whether the expression Mofu-Diamare can be maintained in the way it has been constructed by Vincent. From the point of view of linguistic studies it remains to be seen whether Barreteau’s inclusion of mboku into mafa-northeast is sound. No specific ethnographic study of the mboku language has been conducted so far.