Unveiling Africa’s Hidden Mystical Tradition: Grandmasters and Lodges Ignored by the World
Little to no attention is given to it, but Africa, including Cameroon specifically, possesses a richer tradition and culture of mystical lodges and Grandmasters than the Western world can boast of. The origin and history of mystical lodges can be traced back to ancient Egyptian society, making it misleading that it took the visit of His Most Eminent Highness, Fra Giacomo Dalla Torre Del Tempo di Sanguinetto, to Cameroon in 2018 for African consciousness about their rich cultures to be stirred.
Prior to that highly publicized state visit, only a few Cameroonians were aware that a certain Shey Ngando Peter, popularly known as “Pee Bread” in Bamenda, the capital city of the North West region of Cameroon due to his involvement in bread production and supply, had been initiated into the Nso Nwerong secret society or mystical lodge in 2017. This initiation placed him in a position comparable to that of a Grandmaster. Nso is one of the prominent cultural and traditional tribes in the Western Grassfields of Cameroon and is also home to the mystical artifact “ngonso,” which was stolen during the colonial period and currently resides in a German museum.
It is worth mentioning that in Malta, the leader or initiated member of the lodge is referred to as the Grand Master of the Order of Malta. Similarly, in Nso country, the Nwerong grandmaster is known as the Grandmaster of the Order of Nsoland. Just as His Most Eminent Highness Fra Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempo di Sanguinetto underwent a lengthy observation period of almost seven years before being confirmed as Grandmaster, Shey Ngando Peter spent over five years unaware that he was being observed within the mystical lodge or Nwerong of Nsoland before finally being initiated into the grandmasters’ circles. Admission into both lodges requires a meticulous due diligence process.
In the case of Nsoland and other lodges, once the Fon, the divine and spiritual leader of the people, recognizes the potential of an individual to become a grandmaster, they inform other secret society members who then begin monitoring the individual to ensure their worthiness. Cult members pay attention to various factors such as selfless contributions to community development, social standing, ability to gather people, and a person’s fidelity, refraining from any form of infidelity, especially with members of the Nwerong society. Once these qualities are confirmed, the postulant undergoes visits and entertainments with other Shufais in the fondom, and the traditional ruler (Fon) officially summons them for the final initiation and public presentation. After the esoteric ceremony, the grandmaster is expected to only acknowledge their spouse and no one else.
Based on these processes, Shey Peter Ngando was elevated to the level of Grandmaster and bestowed the title of “Shey Biy Wong” of the Frontier and Fon’s Ambassador. It is worth noting that as of now, there are only six grandmasters of this kind in the Nso fondom.
Shey Ngando Peter and his peers from Nsoland are not the sole grandmasters produced by African mystical lodges. They exist in various fondoms and chiefdoms across Cameroon and Africa. However, the problem lies in Africa’s failure to codify and celebrate its traditions, leading to undervaluation and underappreciation. Africa has had leaders of mystical lodges in different villages without ever attributing to them the title of Grandmaster. The Kwifons, Nantang Yohs, Obasejoms, and other mystical lodges in our communities are legitimate lodges in their own right, yet they have never been recognized or celebrated. Consider that His Most Eminent Highness Fra Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempo di Sanguinetto gained worldwide recognition solely because his mystical lodge, the Order of Malta, is documented and has sought international recognition. It is no secret that what defines a mystical lodge, whether it is a Rosicrucian Order or Freemasonry, is the mastery of secret wisdom. Each village in Kom, Nso, Mankon, Bali, Mbumland, Aghemland, Bali, Ngemba, or Widikum has its mystical lodge and grandmaster. The character of a grandmaster lies in their honesty, truthfulness, sincerity, and service. Those who have even remote knowledge of Shey Ngando Peter can attest to his honesty, sincerity, truthfulness, and dedication to service.
The crucial question that Africans, especially Cameroonians, must ask is why Western lodges and grandmasters are presented as the epitome of grandmasters while Africa remains overlooked and underappreciated. Why does Africa fail to valorize its own? Are individuals like Shey Ngando Peter, Bochong Akus Bako, and various Kwifon and Nantang Yoh leaders not a source of pride for Cameroon and Africa? Do Nkwen and Mankon not harbor numerous native grandmasters and mystical lodges that deserve recognition and could surpass even the late most Eminent Highness Fra Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempo di Sanguinetto in terms of making the world a better place?
How do the concepts embedded in African traditional lodges, such as Nantang Yoh in my native Muteff village, compare to those documented and practiced by the Rosicrucian Order? What about the Kwifon, Chong, or Nwerong societies? How different is His Most Eminent Highness Fra Giacomo dalla Torre del Tempo di Sanguinetto from the famous Yola Muh, the once feared Grandmaster of the Nantang Yoh mystical lodge in Muteff, and now Shey Ngando Peter? If the foundational teachings and initiation principles of the Rosicrucian Order include subjects like the nature of the Divine, the origin of the universe, the structure of matter, concepts of time and space, laws of life, the goal of evolution, the human soul and its attributes, phases of consciousness, psychic phenomena, mysteries of death, afterlife, and reincarnation, along with traditional symbolism, what fundamental differences exist between these teachings and those of the Nwerong secret cult or Nantang Yoh of Muteff? It is a well-known fact that achieving complete Nwerong or Nantang leadership requires a minimum of five to seven years of tutelage and detachment from ordinary life.
In essence, becoming a Grandmaster in Africa, particularly in Nsoland, is an embodiment of beauty in one’s life and character. It signifies a life dedicated to serving others rather than oneself. Furthermore, being a grandmaster in Africa and Cameroon implies adherence to the Ten Commandments, especially the commandment “thou shalt not covet another person’s wife,” as exemplified by Shey Ngando Peter. Is there any mysticism beyond being a respected member of traditional institutions? By the way, is grandmasterism necessarily linked to mystical lodges and orders? Haven’t individuals who have excelled in the game of chess across the world been bestowed with the title of Grandmaster? Moreover, don’t most presidents of republics that gained independence from France receive the title of Grandmaster of the National Order of Valor?
In concrete terms, isn’t it time for Africa to reimagine and reinvent itself in order to reclaim its rightful place in history?