Chamba Iron Currency Nigeria
The Chamba, whose number today is estimated at 20,000, live south of the Benue River. They are socially divided into small centralized kingdoms, each headed by a king assisted by a council of elders whose powers are regulated by male and female secret societies. The Chamba kings are also assisted by royal women who serve as queens. After circumcision, young boys received an initiation that included the teaching of secrets. Each clan kept the skulls of ancestors, who were responsible for the prosperity and fertility of the lineage. Besides celebrating the ancestors, the vara cult celebrated the tutelary spirit, a personification of the first mala, or the paternal aunt of the chief. At the time of the masked celebration, she appeared in public, as well as at the funerals of members of the lineage; she would dress in the guise of a masked man in a fiber costume.