IndexAfricaCameroon → Beti / Eton


Featured: (Nso’, Beti / Eton, Maka, Etap, Pangwe / Fan, Baifa / Banen, Fali, Mouktélé, Bangwa, Bali, Baka


Ombolo (1990)[1] has offered a detailed psychoanalytic account of beti sexuality, the prime tribe analysed was Eton (South central Cameroon). In infancy, the labia are stretched and the vaginal canal is conditioned (p190), leading to the artificial rupture of the hymen. The infant’s life is free of trauma in a sense that he “prend connaissance en douceur, progressivement et naturellement, des réalités génitales et il ne nous semble pas par conséquent possible de définir, par rapport aux Beti, un stade phallique spécifique pendant lequel l’enfant investit dans l’érotisme génital par la masturbation infantile”. The latter would not be punished. Parental nudity is observed by infants. Until their separate socialisation from age 5, the sexes live together “dans la promiscuité”; thereafter, they might still meet for play. At puberty, a complete course in Beti sociology is to ensure a successful integration in adult society (see also Ngoa, 1975)[2]. This includes a preparation for sexual life during various rites (Ombolo, p218-25).

It seems remarkable that this almost 400-page psychoanalytic discussion on African sexuality has no arguments, outside a general lecture in Freudian theory, on sexual expressions in the “latent” child.










Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Ombolo, J. (1990) Sexe et Société en Afrique Noire. Paris: Éditions l’Harmattan

[2] Ngoa, H. (1975) Les rites féminins chez les Beti region du centre-sud au Cameroun, in La Civilisation de la Femme dans la Tradition Africaine: rencontre / organisée par la Société Africaine de Culture, Abidjan, 3-8 juillet 1972. Paris: Présence Africaine, p242-55