Bamileke Fishing Spear

Originally for fishing but now used as a dress adornment to attend festivals and ceremonies…
Tribe: Bamileke

Origin: Grasslands Cameroon

Approx Age: Early – mid 20th century

Materials: Iron, wood

Dimensions cm: 153 long

Ref. Number: 1122

A barbed Bamileke fishing spear used originally for fishing, but nowadays and for many years spears like these have accompanied folk as a type of dress code for ceremonies and festivals. The photo at the bottom of the page shows just this. The photo was taken by a dear friend of ours Abdel Aziz Gbetnkom at the Foumbalan festival in 2018.


The Bamileke are primarily farmers, growing maize, yams, and peanuts as staple crops. They also raise some livestock, including chickens and goats, which play an important role in daily sustenance. Women, who are believed to make the soil more fruitful, are responsible for the tasks of planting and harvesting of the crops. Men usually help with the clearing of the land, and practice some hunting. Throughout history, the peoples of the Grasslands were part of extensive trade routes connecting with the seaport of Douala and through trans-Saharan traders including the Fulani and Hausa to the north. European histories mention trading at Douala between Cameroon Grasslanders and Dutch and Portuguese traders in the early 17th century.

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