Find the word definition


The Afo-A-Kom (Mbang) is the foremost symbol of the Kom people of the North West Region of Cameroon. The carver of this statue is unknown but it is speculated that Afo-A-Kom was carved by the second traditional leader (Foyn/Fon)of the Kom people in the 1920s.

In the 1960s, the Afo-A-Kom was stolen from its sacred grove at Laikom (the seat of the Kom people, where the Foyn resides) by one of the princes with the help of some elders and sold to a middle man who later on sold it to an art dealer who took it to the United States of America. The Kom people believe that the Afo-A-Kom possesses mystical powers and that shortly after it arrived in the US it began disturbing its new owners by destroying everything around it. Its new owner took it and threw it into the sea but only to get back home and see the Afo-A-Kom. He took it to a New York art gallery where he sold it for circa 15 million CFA, while there; another American Warren M. Robbins, an arts collector saw and recognized it from his visit to Cameroon and raised an alarm. He raised funds together with some Kom elite in the US to purchase from the Manhattan art gallery the bearded icon called Afo-A-Kom, considered sacred by the Kom people which had been taken from the Laikom hill-top village in Cameroon in 1966. Returning the figure, Robbins was welcomed by Nsom Ngwe, the then Fon of the Kom people, the President of Cameroon, Ahmadou Ahidjo among other dignitaries.

During the reception of the statue in Yaounde, Ahidjo suggested to Fon Nsom Ngwe that Mbang be kept in the National Museum in Yaounde but he replied that if the President can provide enough space in Yaounde for him to go and bring the Kom people to stay with it there, then he would accept the president’s proposal. The president found out that the Kom and the Afo-A-Kom were inseparable as such he made it possible for it to be taken back to its habitual residence at Laikom. However, it was briefly put on display at the Tourism Office in Yaounde and later on transported by air to the Bamenda. It was then ferried by a delegation of the dignitaries of the region back to Fundong where it was handed back to the Kom people.

It is now in the Laikom palace where it is put on display annually for the Kom people.