U.S. Rehabilitates 450-Year Bafut Ancestral Shrine

Ambassador Michael Stephen Hoza encouraged the preservation of the world class treasure in Bafut Palace.
he event was the rededication of the restored Bafut ancestral shrine or ‘Achum’ with about 35 million FCFA funding by the United States Embassy in Cameroon. Achum, which is the central shrine of the 600-year-old Bafut Palace where oracles are consulted, recently suffered ruin that required restoration.

It was against this backdrop that the U.S Ambassador to Cameroon, His Excellency Michael Stephen Hoza was in Bafut recently to inaugurate the new look shrine and salute local skills that partnered to produce what he recognised as a world class treasure that should be preserved for posterity. It took some 10 months to complete restoration work.

It was a day to advance the culture and traditions of Bafut people with His Majesty, Abumbi II and the Mayor of Bafut, Langsi Abel Ngwasoh, saluting the generosity of the U.S government. The Cultural Affairs Officer in the U.S Embassy, Merlyn Schultz and Cultural Specialist, Yaah Gladys Viban, accompanied Ambassador Michael Stephen Hoza to Bafut.

The Project Directors, Prof. Raymond Asombang and Ernestine Lukong, explained that it was all about the restoration of the ancestral pyramidal house, publication of a catalogue of the Bafut Palace Museum and royal book, improvement of drainage and the erection of a security wall around the shrine.

Its structural integrity had deteriorated over the years, accentuated by the weakness of the traditional conservation method used. Prof. Raymond Asombang sounds off that restoration work now takes the Bafut Royal Palace closer to featuring on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

From the look of things, the rehabilitation has prolonged the life of the shrine to about 50 years before further work could be considered. The partnership for restoring the ancestral shrine is dates back to October 29, 2014, when the then Public Affairs Officer in the U.S Embassy, Robert Quiroz II, handed over a cheque of 30 million FCFA to the Bafut Manjong Development group for rehabilitation works.

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