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Mbakara is a word in the Annang/Efik and Ibibio language used for those in the western world. (Waddell, 1891) Rather than be seen as a normative category, it is rather the description of a relationship between Africans in the west African coast of Calabar and their caucasian counterparts from the west that they traded with. The name, Mbakara, has been interpreted by various writers as a shortened form of the phrase Mbaka nkara in Annang and Ibibio meaning "divide and rule". Among these groups as elsewhere, westerners came to be identified with colonialism.


Mbakara was the highest grade of Abon, a masqurade representing the spirit of the dead among the Efik of the Cross River Basin of Nigeria, and was introduced by Asibong Ekondo in about the fifteenth century. Individuals who initiated in the cult could not take the title until they were deemed fully qualified and few could attained the position. . Membership was not an issue since by law no European could be accosted by the Abon or Ekpe. Usage of the title soon passed into the popular discourse and carried the connotation of power, influence and authority. Slaves taken from the area took the name with them and addressed the white Europeans as Mbakara. In the Caribbean and part of the deep south of the United States where the slaves were sold, the name was anglicized and it became Bacra, Buckra and Buckaroo and referred to a white master, slave hunter or some one with authority.


Further reading[edit]

  • Waddell, Hope Masterson (1891) Twenty-Nine years in the West Indies and Central Africa. London, Frank Cass.