African art > African Rider > Sao Riders
The Sao civilization was found in a geographical area stretching along the borders between Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria. It is actually one of the oldest civilizations in West Africa. Subjected to successive onslaughts from their neighbours in Kanem and then to hordes from the east, the Sao had to abandon their lands to settle in northwestern Cameroon where they mixed with the indigenous people, thus giving birth to an ethnic group called Kotoko.Their descendants, Bakoko, Beti, Peuls and Laobés, although long-islamized, have retained pagan animist rituals normally incompatible with Islam. Indeed, some still worship the spirit of water, certain trees and stones.