THE IDENTITY AND CIRCUMSCRIPTION OF MAMFE DIOCESE
Blessed Pope John Paul II erected the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mamfe on February 9 1999 as the fourth and youngest Diocese in the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda, Cameroon. The new Diocese was cut out of the Diocese of Buea. It covers the following civil circumscriptions:
- Manyu Division with headquarters in Mamfe
- Lebialem Division with head quarters in Menji-Fontem
- Nguti Subdivision in Kupe-Muanenguba Division with headquarters in Nguti
All of these in the South West Region of the Republic of Cameroon
The Address of the Diocese
Diocese of Mamfe
P.O. Box 120, Mamfe,
South West Region,
Republic of Cameroon
It is located in a corner of the deep tropical forest of Cameroon, and has a population of about 550,000 spread over some ten and a half thousand (10,500) square kilometers. It is bordered to the West by the Diocese of Ogoja in Nigeria, to the East by Dschang in the Diocese of Bafoussam, to the North by Widikum in the Archdiocese of Bamenda and to the West by Kumba in the Diocese of Buea.
The main tribes of the Diocese of Mamfe are: the Bangwas, the Banyangs, the Ejaghams, the Mundanis, the Mbos, the Bassossis , and the Ekot-Nbges.
The seat of the Diocese is in Mamfe which is a city and capital of the Manyu Division of the Southwest Region in Cameroon. It is located 60 km (37 mi) from the border of Nigeria, on the Manyu River. It used to be known for its bad infrastructure, especially the roads, which however were recently tarred and presently are in a good condition, within the city limits. The roads leading in and out, however, remain un-tarred and are difficult to impassable during the rainy season. As Mamfe is in a river valley, humidity can be over 90% and temperatures can exceed 120 F (49°C) during the Dry Season (February – April). During the rest of the year, temperatures remain in the 80-90s (27 to 37°C) and only fall during the Rainy Season, sometimes to 70F (21°C).
Because of the bad roads around the Diocese, access to the rest of Cameroon is limited to about six months of the year. Travel within the diocese for pastoral duties is equally very challenging.
Accessing Akwaya Parish, for example, requires the Bishop and his Priests going through Nigeria to re-enter parts of the Mamfe diocese in Akwaya sub-division. In order to administer to some of the population within the diocese, including most of Lebialem Division they have to travel via the North West and Western Regions.