The Jengu Mer


“Aileana wast a blue-back, with light grey sides and white upon her belly, bearing a thin band of blue that passed over her nose and under eyes. These Mer wert slight of build, long and fast, spinning through the water like torpedoes.”


A jengu is a water spirit and deity in the traditional beliefs of the Sawa ethnic groups of Cameroon. They are similar to West African Mami Wata figures, though belief in┬ájengu likely predates most Mami Wata traditions. In the earliest days, jengu-worship centred on the water spirits as the source of four boons: crayfish, the end of the rainy season in one of the world’s wettest regions, victory in the pirogue races, and protection from epidemics of disease.

Aileana is the Jengu character in the novel.

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