Shai Ngmayem

shai ngmayem 1 The Shai’s experienced a serious famine for seven years whilst on the Shai mountains. During these hectic periods the little that the household had only made up one daily meal. When the children of the community began to complain of hunger the parents used to trick the children by putting stones in the cooking pots and putting the pots on the fire. They will then tell the children to create more fire as these stones were different yams which needed much fire. The parents would then leave them to go look for Ngma (Millet) or any other food that would take them for the day.

When the parents returned from their search for food they would ask the children whether the food was ready?  When the children said ‘no’, the parents would then say that its because it was bad yam and that they have brought something better – at this point the children had gone hungry for the whole day.

Shai Ngmayem

So after the 7th year the community had great rains and as a result a bumper harvest in their Ngma (Millet) plantation and the community celebrated for a whole month. It has become an annual occasion ever since.


Special Thanks to the Shai Traditional Council for the article.

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By Naa Adjeley Tsofanye