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Abela is a simple form of greeting strangers and familiar people among the Ngemba people of Cameroon. It is usually interpreted as “How is it?” The response is “abongne,” meaning “It is good.” This is a common expression among the Ngemba, an ethnic group from the Northwest province, Cameroon. The Ngemba live in several important towns in Cameroon and comprise nearly 2 million inhabitants in Tuba, Mankon, Nkwen, and other towns in Western Bamenda province.

Among the Ngemba speakers are various family groups who use “abela” as a greeting. They are the Pinyin, Mankon, Awing, Bambulewie, Bafut, Bafreng, Mandankwe, Mbili, Mbambili, Mbui, Bamunkum, and Kpati. To these people, the word “abela” has an ancient meaning attributed to the interactions with strangers and other people. It ...

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