Kombe people

Kombe / Ndowe

Kombe / Ndowe / Combe / Ngumbi / Playeros

Kombe people or Ndowe are an African ethnic group, members of the Bantu group, who are Coastal people of Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and Gabon.

They are native speakers of the Kombe language.

Population estimated (2015) was 300,000-400,000

País Ndowe (Ndowe Country) occupies the coastal región and the islands of Corsico Bay on the Gulf of Guinea, forming Litoral Province of Equatorial Guinea.

Kombe people map

Ndowe is a name broadly given to the Bantu-speaking coastal people of Equatorial Guinea.

The two primary ethnic groups who speak the Kombe language are:

The Spanish referred to them as playeros, or "beach dwellers."

Historians believe that these groups began arriving on the coast from the upper Ubangi River between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.

Settling along the Mbini, or Muni, River and its affluents and the beaehes, they fished, hunted, and grew cassava, malanga, and plantains.

Living in scattered village communities linked by lineage and clans, they were inereasingly dominated by the more politieally centralized Fang and prevented from settling inland. Despite frequent confliets, intermarriage between the Ndowe and the Fang was common, as it was between the Ndowe and the Bayele "Pygmy" peoples. The most unifying forcé among Ndowe communities was the transethnic Bwiti, adopted at the end of the i8oos, which promotes "one-heartness" among its followers.

When European slave traders became inereasingly active in the región during the late fifteenth century, the Ndowe first fled inland but Iater returned to act as middle- men between the Fang and Europeans. Foreign diseases and the return of the Fang following the end of the slave trade decimated the Ndowe. Under Spanish Colonial Rule in Equatorial Guinea, the Ndowe's subordínate posi- tion vis á vis the Fang was sustained, though they were also protected from Fang dominance. At the 1967 Constitutional Conference, the ethno-nationalist Ndowe Union advocated for Ndowe representation. But soon after independence the following year, the Ndowe became a subject of the Fang-dominated government's repression.

 

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