The need for this thesis became apparent while interacting with students during training courses organized by SIL (the field branch of Wycliffe Global Alliance) and CABTAL (the Cameroonian Association for Bible Translation and Literacy) in the North West region of Cameroon. Quite often during these courses the topic of traditional practices would come up and discussions could go on for hours. These traditional practices are inspired by African Traditional Religion (ATR). By then I had already lived and worked for many years in Cameroon (twenty-five at the date of this thesis). These discussions helped me gain much insight into the cultural background of the people with whom I work. It also helped me understand that although they were Christians and involved in the work of Bible translation either as translators, linguists or literacy workers, it did not necessarily mean that ATR had no influence on them any longer. Some of them admitted they were still involved in some of the traditional practices that take place in their communities. Others had distanced themselves from these practices, but were not able to give a clear biblical perspective as to why they no longer wanted to be involved. I discovered that especially the mortuary rituals play an important role in their communities. In fact, the coordinator of one of the projects told me that these rituals are at the heart of the culture and are inspired by ATR, and particularly the ancestral cult. In addition, through my marriage to a Cameroonian from one of the language groups in the North West region, I had gained further insight into the deeply-rooted beliefs about the ancestors and their perceived role in the lives of the living. I had experienced close-at-hand the fear this instills in people and how much money they will spend to perform rituals and consult diviners in order to determine the cause of problems and to satisfy the perceived demands of the ancestors.

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