By Ndefru Melany and Fongoh P Ayeh in Mbengwi
The culture of the Momo people has been brought to the limelight through costume, cuisine and dance by the North West Regional Assembly at the launch of its Peace and Development Initiative (PDI) project in Mbengwi last Friday, March 10, 2023.
Professor Anjoh Fri Manyi Rose is the Commissioner for Education, Sports and Cultural Development at the North West Regional Assembly and Coordinator of the PDI project in Momo. She was marvelled with what she saw during a visit to the exhibition stands. The visiting delegation enjoyed fibre bags woven by young Meta boys and girls and marked dresses (togho).
Decorated with the national colours of green, red and yellow, the handmade crafts didn’t just end at being exhibited but on the spot, many were bought.
The excitement became greater when the cuisine of the Momo people was also on display. The flavour and aroma from the various traditional dishes enticed all, wetting their appetite and none could resist having a bite.
On menu were porridge cocoyams (nangtari) and plantains, unpeeled cocoyams (nangponopon), “etep”, “meumbange”, “iwagi”, pumpkin, “njamanjama”, egusi pudding, aerial yams and others. The dishes were served from wooden bowls (fuku’u) using wooden spoons to the councillors, politicians and elites that were part of the launching ceremony on plantain leaves and all ate with their fingers.
The munching process of every mouth left onlookers wishing they too could have a taste. Fresh undiluted palm wine gulped from cow horns was used to push the bolus down the oesophagus. It was finger licking good as every eater smacked their lips in total satisfaction for eating local meals most hadn’t seen for years.
On the Mbengwi municipal stadium where the event took place, Momo traditional dances also stole the show, the likes of Mukonge, Mbaghalum and Ekara from Njikwa. Sounds of xylophones, drums, rattles and ululations of various rhythms spiced the atmosphere of the division over the week end.
A special anniversary cake of egusi pudding embedded in dried plantain leaves was cut after spelling the word PEACE. The taste of the pudding they say is in the eating reason why no attendee could resist having a bite of the peace pudding.
It should be recalled that the cultural festival was preceded by a capacity building seminar for peace crusaders and actors of community decentralised activities in Njikwa, Batibo, Andek, Widikum and Mbengwi that was held a day before and the refreshment at the seminar was made up of only traditional dishes, no rice, no salad.
At the end of the two-day event, mouth watery cash prizes were awarded to all who partook in culinary, dress marking and bag weaving exhibition plus traditional dance.