Together as One

Filmmaker:  Kilian Lamtur Tanlaka

Year of production: 2013
Location: Kumbo, Cameroon
Duration: 39 minutes.
Sound: mono
Language: Lamnso’, English
English Subtitles

“Together as one” shows the social use of kola nut in Nso’ society.

Nso’ is the biggest Kingdom of the Western Grassfields and an ethnic group in the northeast corner of Cameroon’s North West region. Its capital Kumbo is where the ruler (Fon) lives. The Nso’ population counts Christians, Muslims, and followers of “indigenous” religious beliefs. This film shows what a thing, a nut or a natural resource, can mean to people. Kola nut is an item around which the feeling, experience, sense, and lived “reality” of belonging, togetherness, being together, unity, oneness, friendship and peace is being expressed.

The kola nut thus plays an important role in bringing very diverse people together, irrespective of their religion, village, quarter, or thoughts.

In this sense, kola nut brings about a feeling of togetherness, fellowship, and belonging to a group.

Copyright: 2013  Visual Cultural Studies, University of Tromsø

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ABSTRACT This thesis is about the consequences of kola nut use amongst the Nso’ people. It offers an analysis of the socio-cultural context where kola is used and its cultural significance. The sense of unity, togetherness, and belonging is one of the issues that is connected to the production and reproduction of the social world we are engaged in. Thus, this study on kola nut practices is all about how identities power and gender roles are constructed and re-constructed around the practice of gathering, distributing and chewing of kola nut. The use kola nut in various social situations contribute to the sense of construction and re-construction of Nso’ identity and belonging. I decided to follow many people to fully grasp element enabling me understand the meaning of kola nut use in a diverse society. From what I saw during my fieldwork in all the settings where kola nuts were being shared in Nso’, I discovered that kola nut practices are important in understanding successful integration of the Nso’ people in the sense that whether they are literates, illiterates, traders, farmers, scholars, Traditionalists, Christians, Muslims; they all share and eat kola nut. It is about the construction and reconstruction of social identity despite the forces of modernization and globalization.

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