Bakoko / Basso

The Bakoko, also known as the Basoo, are a Bantu ethnic group in Cameroon. The Bakoko of Cameroon are numbering 156,000 (, 2023), mostly concentrated in the Littoral Region in the southwest of the country. They speak the Bakoko language and are related to the Bassa people.

Bakoko People

The Bakokos, who are closely related to the Babimbis and Bassas of Cameroon, number approximately 150,000 people today and live in southern Cameroon. Most of them still live in rural villages, where they raise yams, maize, cocoyams, and vegetables, although substantial numbers now live in Duala, Edéa, Pouma, and Makak, where they work as laborers, craftsmen, and businessmen.

The Bakokos used to live along the coast, where they made their living as subsistence farmers and fishermen, but they were displaced by the Duala migration and pushed into the interior. During the years of the colonial empires, the Bakokos were fiercely anti-European, and they retain a strong sense of identity today.

They do not have a written language.

In their secluded environment, numerous rivers fed by heavy rains continue to expand the deltas, which flow into the Gulf of Guinea. Many of the swamplands are covered with mangrove trees and other vegetation. From the coastal flats, the Bakoko can see the plains gradually rise upward to inland plateaus.

The Bakoko are mainly subsistence farmers. They occasionally raise goats and sheep, but their cash crops include rubber, oil palms, coffee, tea, cocoa and bananas. Their main staples are cocoyams, cassava, maize and plantains. They eat dried and fresh fish and meat when available. They also enjoy tropical fruits.

The men normally wear Western-style clothing. The women wear both Westernstyle clothing and African wrappers (skirts) with a colorful head tie. Their homes are usually rectangular and made from wattle and daub (clay and cow dung mixed together). They also used sun-baked myd bricks. For those who can afford it, cement blocks are replacing the mud bricks.

Overlapping boards split from tree trunks, or sheets of corrugated tin, form the framework for their homes. Thatched roofs are gradually being replaced by tin.