The Akum people from their ancient civilization were nomadic in style. This means that they were wandering from place to place, because of inter-tribal wars that caused relative instability to many people. Also, they went in search of fertile land, food and animals. It was not until the Akum people settled on their present site that they experienced the value of stable life. In fact, their lifestyles changed. It is to be noted that this sudden change in lifestyle, particularly, ending the nomadic habits of many tribes during this period was occasioned by the advent of the colonialists. Their presence among us also brought an end to tribal wars through military intervention. They forcefully established village boundaries which obliged people to live and build within their given land space. These limitations forced the Akum people psychologically to change their nomadic and hunting habits to farming and other gainful social and economic activities.
Akum people, especially the men, are naturally very proud, hard working and hospitable. A majority of Akum people are Christians, either of the Catholic or Presbyterian denomination, which are the two dominant faiths implanted in the land. There is no doubt that other religious movements have found their way in the land just in the past few years.
The Name “Small London”
During the colonial days, the expatriates who came to work in the Cameroons took the Akum people into much confidence as domestic servants. A walk down memory lane invokes the names of Mantah Mutsuh, Stephen Teneng and John Fruh Ngum Chumba as the very first Akum people to serve as domestic servants. These three had performed so well that any colonial master who arrived the country was always being directed by his predecessor to get a domestic servant from Akum (Bagangu). As such, within a very short time many Akum young men were engaged in this profession. The remuneration was not very encouraging but it was a prestigious job to cook for the white man. Associating with the white man made those of them to copy their employer’s ways of behavior, of speaking and manner of dressing. And because most of these colonial masters were from England and spoke English, they were conceived as Londoners. Akums, as domestic servants forcefully learned to speak and understand some English, an advantage that the people of the neighboring villages could not attain. Their neighbors admired this and were also jealous of them. They were most of the time very neat and clean in their white Khaki up and down with sandals. In their homes they displayed empty whisky bottles and passed as civilized individuals. All these aspects of the new life of the Akum man drew the conclusion from their neighbors that they were behaving like people from London…meaning the “white men”
On the other hand this kitchen job robbed the Akum man of looking forward to some other engagement. The Akum man did not see schooling as the gateway to greater horizons in future until later on. Another peculiar attitude of the Akum man as domestic servants was great fun in merry making and pride. This aspect of their lives was most apparent whenever their colonial masters were away on annual leave and had to return overseas. This also afforded the domestic workers a full month of rest within which they had to show off among their tribesmen as supermen. During this time they returned to the village where they often organized “cock-tail” parties. And the appellation of this recreation period “cock-tail party” usually frightened their ignorant brothers. It was a high sounding word even among the clerks and teachers in the district offices and village schools. They did not also know what it meant exactly. Some believed it was a party for cock tails.
During such parties they often invited the clerks who served in the colonial offices to join them. The music they played and danced was cha-cha, high-life, rumba etc. and they did it exactly like their masters. It was at these times that they attracted the most beautiful girls in the village who anxiously fell in love with them for obvious reasons. They were considered as black white men. And as a result, it is to be remarked, the most beautiful girls in the village at this time could only get married to domestic servants. Above all, it was the clerks who coined the name “Small London” only get married to domestic servants. Above -all, it was the clerks who coined the name “Small London” for Bagangu, by which Akum people have come to be called wherever they are found in the Republic.
However, when it dawned on the Akum man to embrace education, the following were the first to obtain it: Nkwentie Munah, Mofor Doctor, and Asaah Ndeh.
The following were the first to join the army: Mofor Ntankeh Petro and Moses Azuh, Asabafor.