The Mvele people occupy the North -East part of the Centre Region of Cameroon and South of the Sanaga (precisely at the borders of the sanaga). It is bounded in the North by the Savannah of the “Haut Plateau” Department, in the South by the Mfoundi Department and in the West and South West by the Department of ‘’Nyong et Mfoumou’’ and Lekie respectively. The surface area of the region occupied by the Mvele has been evaluated to 2850km2. It is a transitional zone between the Savannah and the forest and the relief of the area is constituted of an escarpment boarded with hills and other massif mountains. The structure of the relief encloses chalky ground and soil used for the production of small bricks. The Mvele are found in three different Divisions in the centre region of Cameroon;
- Mbam: we can find one part of the Mvele in the Mbam division of Cameroon precisely in the Ntui sub division. The total Mvele population here is estimated at 1900people
- Mefou: we can also find the Mvele in the Mefou division precisely in Awae and Esse sub-divisions. There are 15400people in Awae and 16800people in Esse.
- Nyong and Mfoumou: The Mvele’s are also found in this division precisely in the Akonolinga sub division and has 2500 people living in this locality. We can thereby say that the Mvele tribe has a total population of 36600people.
The region falls completely within a type A or Guinea-type type climate. This gives the region high humidity and precipitation, with rainfall averaging 1,000-2,000 mm each year. Precipitation is highest in the southernmost portions and diminishes toward the north. Temperatures are fairly steady, averaging 24˚ for the entire region except for the northwestern portions of Mbam division, where they fall to 23˚. The region also experiences equatorial seasons, alternating between rainy and dry periods. The long dry season begins the year, running from December to May. After this comes the short rainy season, which lasts from May to June. The short dry season comes next, from July to October and then year ends in the long rainy season from October to November. North of 5˚, the dry periods last up to four months.
How Climate Influences their Lifestyle
- On Food:
The above climatic condition has favoured the intensive cultivation of food crops especially cassava and what is often referred as okok. These food crops are cultivated in the area because of the climatic condition which favours its cultivation and these foods are greatly eaten in the region. It is considered as their main food. Also, due to the hot humid climate, plantation agriculture is also carried in the community. Plantain is also eaten in this area because the climate favours its cultivation. In addition, the climate of the region has favoured the cultivation of maize which has made the people of this region to adapt themselves in eating it. They use maize to cook ‘’sangha’’ which is also considered as one of their main food.
- On Dressing/clothing:
As we said before, the way people are dressing today is completely different from that of the ancestors. The people in the ancient days just needed something to cover their sex. They used banana leaves to cover their private parts. When the region was later colonised by the Germans, their dressing code totally changed as the colonizers imposed their way of living and dressing on the people. So from the time this people were colonised, they changed their way of dressing. They now dressed normally; they don’t just cover their private part as the ancestors did, but their whole body.
The climate of the region has also influenced their dressing style. As the area alternates between the rainy and the dry season, these people change dressing style during these periods. In the rainy season, people wear big clothes like coats and pull overs because places are cold while in the dry season, people put on light dresses because places are hot. So, we can say that these people dress with respect to the climate.
Settlements in the Mvele community are traditionally configured along roads, resulting in large numbers of houses near the road with forest beginning directly behind them. The traditional house is a rectangular structure made of mud bricks and thin posts. Roofs are sometimes made of thatched raffia palm, but they are more often of corrugated aluminum, iron, or tin today.
The Mvele can easily be distinguished from the other Beti tribes because of their physical appearance. One can easily recognise them with their height and there are naturally slim. We can rarely find small and short people among them.