Masa people

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Massa women, 1910.jpg
Photo of Massa Women and children. 1913.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Chad[citation needed]150,000
Christian (30%), Evangelical Christian (15%), Muslim (45%)

Masa people, also called Masana, Banana, or Yagoua are an ethnic group localized in Cameroon and Chad.

The Masa have an estimated population of 266,000 to 469,000, with the majority residing in Cameroon. Most of them speak Masana. The Masa form part of the Chadic people. [3]



Masa dance in Chad. Photo by Luiclemens

45% of the population is Muslim, and other 45% is Christian, most of which are Protestants and Catholics, over 40% each. [1][2] There are often clashes between the different religious groups.[1]

Formalised fighting over livestock or honour[edit]

In many cases there have been pitched battles between Massa from Cameroon and Massa from Chad. This clashes finish with many wounded. The battles are often caused by the theft of cows, because the importance of livestock in social relations and especially in marriage exchanges of the society, or by an act of adultery. Men who participate in them have helmets and clubs. They use sticks and stones as weapons and fight in lines while they are encouraged by women.[4]

In the battle between the two groups Massa, several rules must be met: collect the wounded from combat and not hit a man on the ground or who is wounded. The fighting must end at dusk. Injured people usually are cured by traditional healers, who cure through several techniques which they exercise with local resources. Women who participate in this kind of fight acquire prestige in Massa society.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Masa People". Joshua Project. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Masa People of Cameroon". People Groups. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  3. ^ People Groups. Retrieved June 03, 2013, to 14: 25 pm.
  4. ^ a b NCBI: Pitched battle in Gueme between the Massa of Cameroon and Massa of Chad. Retrieved June 03, 2013, to 14: 50 pm.