Wam

Lora Litvinova

Wam, commonly known as Kugama (glottocode: kuga1239; cf. also Blench 2009) is spoken in a number of villages in Mayo-Belwa LGA and Fufore LGA of Adamawa State. The speakers refer to their languages as ɲáː wàm ‘the Wam language’. The name Kugama is an exonym, but today it is regularly used by the Wam themselves when speaking in other languages.

People from Namzo Circumcision ceremony Wekuh festival

I started my work on Wam in January 2014 when I did my first field trip to Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, as part of research for my BA and later for my MA theses at St. Petersburg State University, Russia. In December 2016, I obtained a PhD fellowship from Labex EFL (project LC2 “Areal phenomena in northern sub-Saharan Africa”) for description and documentation of Wam.

National Chairman of the Wekuh Community Development Association, Zinas Esson, Chairman of the Kugama community, Eric Zinas, Representative of the Kugama community/Wakilin Kugama, Zaphania Baleri, Administrative Officer of Gengle State Development Area, Patricia Ishaya (Yola, 2017/03/10) Andrew Christopher Meeting with the Majority Leader of the Adamawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Musa Mahmud (Mayo-Belwa, 2017/05/25) Women of Legal-Bardu village and Lora Litvinova (2017/03/25)

During my first fieldwork mission to the Wam country in March–June 2017, I was warmly welcomed by the Chairman of the Kugama community, Eric Zinas, the official representative of the Kugama, Zaphania Baleri, other members of the community, as well as by the residents of Mayo-Belwa, where I stayed for the duration of my fieldwork. Throughout my stay I received a great personal support and guidance from the Administrative Officer of Gengle State Development Area, Patricia Ishaya. Thanks to the hospitality of the administration of Mayo-Belwa LGA and its Executive Chairman, Mohammed Bako, I had an opportunity to conduct my research in comfortable and safe conditions.

Head of hunters (Sindigawo village, 2017/03/21) Kugama Kpanyona Village (2017/03/14)

I had the pleasure of working with many Wam, especially with Andrew Christopher, Hanus Panti, Linus Pana Sambo, and Yunusa Filgona. I am deeply grateful to them for their lively interest in the project, their enthusiastic motivation, and their endurance during our fieldwork sessions.

Wedding (Legal-Bardu village, 2017/03/25) Circumcision ceremony (Kugama Arnado village, 2017/03/16)

I am also grateful to the Majority Leader of the Adamawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Musa Mahmud, for providing safety and comfort during all trips in the initial stage of my research as I had the luck to visit a number of Wam speaking villages in Mayo-Belwa and Fufore LGAs. Anthropological and geographical data collection would have been more difficult without these.

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