The Bakweri are primarily concentrated in Cameroon’s Southwest Province. They live in over 100 villages east and southeast of Mount Cameroon with Buea their main population centre. Bakweri settlements largely lie in the mountain’s foothills and continue up its slopes as high as 12,000 metres. They have further villages along the Mungo River and the creeks that feed into it. The town of Limbe is a mixture of Bakweri, Duala, and other ethnic groups.
There is an ongoing dispute between the Bakweri Land Claims Committee (BLCC) and the government of Cameroon regarding the disposition of Bakweri Lands formerly used by the Germans as plantations and now managed by the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC).
Terrain of the land
Thier population is much greater than 16,000. Before the German conquest of 1894, they were living in scattered ssettlements around the southern slopes of Mount Cameroon. There are very few mountains in West Africa, and none is as high as this (more than 13,000 feet). It is also unusual that it stands right on the coast, decending through a maze of foothill to the sea. At four degrees North of the equator, it is not high enough for permanent snow. Instead, winds loaded with moisture from 4,000 miles of Atlantic level precipitate copious rains, and swathe the slopes in mist and drizzle for many months of the year. Inside the clouded summit is an active volcano from which new craters burst out every few decades. The rain and he volcanic soil have made the the mountain area one of the most fertile in Africa, and the forest covers the mountain up to 6,000 feet. The Bakweri lived ( and live ) in the thickest concentration in a belt of villages between 1,500 and 3,000 feet above the ssea level, but the they occupied the whole base of the mountain below this very thinly, as far as the sea level.
The Bakweri are weather forecasters, and it is believed that they possess scientist who are able to alter the climate at will, for example, during special occassions, or the coming of high personallity. Generally, the area is cover with mist and drizzle, and several copious rains through out the year due to the presence of the Atlantic ocean. This region is having the equatorial maritime climate with temperature above 25%c which is very heavy with very high atmospheric humidity throughout the year. It is made up of elements of the three different tropical climate regimes which are equatorial with rainfall throughout the year, seasonal comprising of two seasons in a year that is the dry and wet and finally monsoon with great contrast between the seasons. The climate of this region is strongly affected by its altitude. The temperature is moderated by breeze from the Atlantic Ocean.
SOIL AND VEGETATION
The topography of this region is flat. It is composed of rudiments brought from the interior and also volcanic soil gotten from the weathered rocks during the eruption of mount Cameroon. The plantations that are located closer to the mountain benefits from the weathered basalt or lava and those beside the mangrove, the soil is lateritic. Further away from the north eastern parts of mount Fako, the soil is loamy and sandy.
The vegetation of this region is the forest types which have almost disappeared due to the exploitation by people for the cultivation of food crops and construction of houses for settlement, living only the swampy and less accessible areas.
Possible influences on lifestyle, clothing, food
Due to the equatorial maritime climate, and the high fertility of the soil, the Bakweri people are good agriculturalists, and their main source of income is from agriculture. They grow crops like cocoyams, and maize. Since the climate can sometimes be very harch, the Bakweri people wear long sleeve shirts, and thick pullovers and sweaters during almost the entire period of the year. Since they grow crops like cocoyams, their main diet is based on cocoyam. Their main dish is the kwakoko, and they have many other dishes, which get their spices from the high fertility of the soil. Also, due to the very low temperatures which are very frequent, the Bakweri donot have a lot of social activities like swimming, or playing tennis, but they have activities like mountain race which occurs in February, where places are warmer. Also, the Bakweri have restricted their dressing to “rapa”(loins), and shirts for the men, and also a loin or “rapa” for the women. For the men, this dressing can sometimes be accompanied by special hat,and a tie.