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Bamenda from the mountain road into town
|Nickname(s): Abakwa, which of date is made of two tribes Mankon and Nkwen|
|Born in Pinyin village||Santa|
|Chief Town = Bamenda in Mezam Division||Northwest|
|• Delegate||Vincent Ndumu|
|Elevation||1,614 m (5,295 ft)|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
Bamenda, also known as Abakwa and Mankon Town, is a city in northwestern Cameroon and capital of the North West Region. The city had a population of about 800,000 people at the 2012 Cameroon Census, and is located 366 km (227 mi) north-west of the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé. Bamenda is known for its cool climate and scenic hilly location.
In origin the city is an amalgamation of three villages - Mankon, Mendakwe and Nkwen. The first was named for the Mankon people. An alliance of five ethnic groups founded a chieftaincy (a fon) known as the Mankon Fon.
Bamenda's principal ethnic group is the Tikar. In the past, the Tikar faced invasions from peoples in the surrounding hills, and between 1700 and 1800, they joined a confederation established by the Mbum for defense purposes. However, Bamenda also encompasses the Nguemba people
Bamenda was subjected to German colonialism in the late 19th century, and evidence of Germany's former occupation of Bamenda can still be seen today in structures such as the Fort at the Bamenda station. After the defeat of the Germans in World War I (1914–1918) the League of Nations shared German colonial territories among victorious nations. Western Cameroon was administered jointly with Nigeria under the protectorate of the British until 1961 when following a plebiscite it attained independence by joining then the already independent République du Cameroun.
Today, many of the city's inhabitants are English-speaking, and Cameroonian Pidgin English is the main language spoken in the shops and on the streets of Bamenda. Some Anglophone political pressure groups represented in the city such as the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) advocate secession from the rest of Cameroon, which is francophone.
As a provincial centre, the city has numerous markets, banks, and offices. The main industries are the processing of agricultural produce such as coffee. The local museum and shops display a wide variety of local baskets, beads, woodcarvings and bronze statues.
In Bamenda there are cultural sites such as the Mankon Fon's Palace with its newly constructed museum, and the Bali Fon's palace with its ancient architectural structures. The mountainous terrain around the city affords scenic views such as that from the mountain Sabga over the Ndop plain.
The city of Bamenda has road links to Yaoundé and Douala, as well as a disused airport. North of the city is the Bamenda Ring Road, a 367 km (228 mi) circular route through some of Cameroon's most spectacular mountains. Along this road is Mount Oku (3,000 m/9,800 ft), the Kimbi River Game Reserve, the Menchum River waterfalls, a huge chief's palace at Bafut, and a pyramidal thatched shrine at Akum (also known as Bagangu). The bamenda area is placed under the supervision of a government delegate to the council who is appointed by the head of state. He is appointed by presidential decree and presently is Mr. Ndumu Nji Vincent who served formerly as Technical Adviser to the Prime Minister
Over the years, Bamenda has been famous for having two teams that played in the First Division Championship. In the 1970s, it was PWD Bamenda and later in the 1980s, it was Camark Bamenda. With the fall in the influence and budgeting of public works department and Cameroon Produce Marketing Board, both teams fell from the limelight.
Bamenda is the seat of the largest opposition political party in Cameroon, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), and the home of its leader, John Fru Ndi. The SDF is Cameroon's largest opposition party and was founded in Bamenda. There is a large military presence throughout the city. On May 26, 1990, a group of Bamenda elites launched the party in Ntarikon Bamenda, despite a heavy police presence. However, the launching did not end without casualty. Six civilians were killed.
Bamenda is also the birthplace of The Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), a group that has been asking for the restoration of the former British Southern Cameroons, a territory that covers the English-speaking provinces of North West and South West. The SCNC was born in Bamenda in 1994, after the All Anglophone Conference (AAC2) issued the Bamenda "Declaration" in which it had asked the government of President Paul Biya to respond to all anglophone grievances stated in the Buea Declaration of 1993 or face the wrath of the people of the Southern Cameroons.The Cameroon government failed to respond to the Bamenda Declaration and since then, the SCNC has categorically maintained that it now considers the restoration of the independence of the Southern Cameroons to be final and irrevocable .