Heroine Adoma - Cameroon - African Pantheon


What I hope to do in my 'Goddess and Heroine Series' is shed some light on the lesser known Goddesses and Heroines; at least those that aren't spoken about in Western society. And to begin our journey, we will start with a Heroine from Cameroon in the African Pantheon: Adoma.

Adoma is a folkloric Heroine. She was the ideal daughter except she refused to marry and this greatly angered her parents. Because of this, she evolved into a bit of an outcast. 

Anyhow, across the Mbam River, there was a festival where all the young people in the village would go and Adoma joined in. Unfortunately, when everyone got to the banks of the river, no one would let Adoma ride in their boats.

Left behind, Adoma sulked by the river until a crocodile appeared. He encouraged her to climb on his back. Eventually she agreed and he took her below the water and dressed her in finery before taking her to the festival.

When she arrived, she caught the eye of plenty of suitors because of how well the crocodile dressed her. The men competed for her attention. She refused them all until she felt like dancing. 

She took a flute from the bag a crocodile gave her and when she began to play it, the party attendees started stuffing the bag with money. The second it was full, it disappeared. Once it was empty, it was ready for more. And so it went for the rest of the party. The money was transferred to the crocodile, still in the river, who was counting it all.

The party ended and multiple suitors wanted to take Adoma home. Instead of accepting anyone's offer, she left with the crocodile who once again took her below the waves and outfitted her in impressive clothing. 

Upon her arrival home, Adoma relayed her story to her family. Hearing the tale, her older sister decided that she too wanted a fortune. She traveled to the riverbank, but when the crocodile appeared she said that he was smelly so he ate her.

I think this tale offers insight into expectation. Adoma was expected to marry and yet she refused. Maybe the crocodile saw something in her spirit that made him want to show her how following her own path can lead to unexpected riches.

There's also the difference in how the crocodile was treated. Adoma made no comment on his appearance or smell. Her sister on the other hand was eaten because of her statements. This makes me think of the old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover."

What do you think? Why do you think this story of Heroine Adoma has remained in the African Pantheon for centuries? Comment below!

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