African art > Coins in bronze, black iron and other materials > Mafa Currency
Mafa Currency (N° 22976)
The Matakam also called Mafa are a population of Central Africa, especially present in the extreme north of Cameroon, also in Nigeria.
They are known to have been the first in contact with the German settlers. Monotheists, they believe in a "god of humans" named Jigilé whose spelling may vary. Nevertheless, they remain animists and therefore seek to attract and retain the benevolence of the forces of nature.
The ancestors being the mediators between the world of the living and Jigilé, the Matakam therefore practice ancestor worship.
In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made using cowries, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, particularly iron. These primitive currencies were used during commercial and social exchanges, for dowries in particular, but could also constitute objects of parade or throwing weapons.
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