Jengu  

Posted by Stella Clark

Jengu Cover
A jengu (plural miengu) is a water spirit and deity in the traditional beliefs of the Sawa ethnic groups of Cameroon, particularly the Duala, Bakweri, and related Sawa peoples. Among the Bakweri, the name is liengu (plural maengu). They are similar to West African Mami Wata figures, though belief in miengu likely predates most Mami Wata traditions. The miengu's appearance differs from people to people, but they are typically said to be beautiful, mermaid-like figures with long, wooly hair and gap-toothed smiles. They live in rivers and the sea and bring good fortune to those who worship them. They can also cure disease and act as intermediaries between worshippers and the world of spirits. For this reason, a jengu cult has long enjoyed popularity among the Duala peoples. Among the Bakweri, this cult is also an important part of a young girl's rite of passage into adulthood.

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