Nigeria, West Africa: Cham, also known as ‘Chum’, meaning brother, is a Lilliputian minority ethnic group in the southern part of Gombe in the Balanga local government area along Yola Road in Nigeria, West Africa.
According to Hassan Tom Firi, quoted by Albashi in The Socio-cultural Impart of the missionary Activities in Cham District of Balanga Local Government of Bauchi State 1990. The people of Cham migrated from Yamel in the Far East with some tribes like Lunguda, Tula and Dadiya in about 1777.
They came to Africa through Egypt, went to Nigeria through southern Borno, and settled at Kindiyo and Mwona (pronounced as mona), present-day Cham district, in 1880. Cham language appertains to the numerous Chadic languages (a member of languages of the Afroasiatic Phylum, together with Semitic, Ancient Egyptian, Berber and Cushitic spoken mainly in the Chad Republic, Cameroon and northern Nigeria) found across Africa.
The people of Cham are found in Gombe State and Adamawa State. But they are found in substantial numbers at Gombe in Balanga local government area with a district and an independent chief. The current ‘Nidu ‘king’ is James D. Chachi. Aside from being one of the most beautiful and enthralling languages that the world is blessed with, Cham is also one of the names of the towns of the tribe and the headquarter of the Cham district.
Cham’s industrious, hospitable, peaceful and united people are mainly farmers producing cash and food crops like cotton, groundnut and rice, Guinea-corn, maize, millet and beans, respectively. However, today they are found in virtually every sphere of both public and private businesses.
Traditionally they are animists and astrologists, but recently many have embraced Christianity and Islam. Despite this, the Cham people still hold on to some of their traditions and cultural heritage with pride, like the ‘Chigote’ festival, which is famous among the people and is celebrated every April of each year as an annual festival in Cham.