SCOTT SEMANS WORLD COINS


KWADJA IRON HOE MONEY



    Information on African traditional moneys is widely scattered. Thanks to Sven-Olof Johansson for discovering this information on the "hide" shaped large double hoe often attributed to the Mambila. Following is a quote from Open Frontiers, the Mobility of art in Black Africa by Rene A. Bravmann, p.84, U of WA Press, 1973:

    The Kwadja of the northern sector of the Nkambe Division of West Cameroon are a blacksmithing group of cardinal importance. They produce a wide array of iron products and in the past were responsible for the manufacture of iron plates, which were used through the western grasslands of Cameroon as a medium of exchange. Such Kwadja plates, according to Gebauer, were commonly found in the 1930s and 1940s among all Kaka peoples of the Upper Donga Valley and were also utilized by the Mambila, who resided on the plateau just north of the Donga River.

    The Mambila, anxious to obtain this valuable currency, willingly traded salt, beads, and imported tobacco (the last coming from Nigeria via the Hausa routes originating along the Benue River). Despite the increasing popularity and availability of British currency in the Nkambe district in the 1950s, the Kwadja plates were still utilized and highly prized. Gebauer relates that during this period the headmaster of the Baptist Mission School at Mbem was able to purchase three times as much food for his students in the local markets by using the plates rather than the British currency.


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