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Nggam ([ŋgam]) is a type of divination found among many groups in western Cameroon. Among the best documented is its practice by the Mambila people of Cameroon and Nigeria, in which the actions of spiders or crabs are interpreted by the diviner. The form used by the neighbouring Yamba people was described by Gebauer in 1964 based on experience in Mbem going back to before 1939, and more recently by Hermann Gufler (1996 and 2003). The crab form has been studied in north Cameroon by Walter van Beek (2013, 2015).


  • Blench, Roger, and David Zeitlyn. 1989/1990. A Web of Words. SUGIA (Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika) 10/11:171-186.
  • Gebauer, Paul. 1964. Spider Divination in the Cameroons. Milwaukee: Milwaukee Public Museum.
  • Gufler, H. 1996. Yamba Spider Divination. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford (JASO) 26, 43-67.
  • Gufler, H. 2003. Affliction and Moral Order: Conversations in Yambaland. (CSAC Monographs: Canterbury: CSAC.
  • van Beek, Walter E. A. 2013. "Crab Divination among the Kapsiki/Higi of North Cameroon and Northeastern Nigeria." In Reviewing reality: dynamics of African divination, edited by Walter E. A. van Beek and Philip M. Peek, 185-209. Zurich: Lit.
  • Van Beek, Walter E A. 2015. "Of whistling birds and talking crabs." In The Forge and the Funeral The Smith in Kapsiki/Higi Culture, 119-151. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
  • Zeitlyn, David. 1987. Mambila Divination. Cambridge Anthropology 12 (1):21-51. NB: this also appeared as a chapter in Zeitlyn's PhD which is online: Mambila Traditional Religion, and in a revised form in: Zeitlyn, David. 1994. Sua in Somié. Mambila Traditional Religion. Vol. 41, Collectanea Instituti Anthropos. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag.

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