The blacksmiths of the so-called Kirdi peoples of the Mandara mountains of Northern Cameroon and adjacent parts of Nigeria produced this variety of throwing knife, similar to the large F-shaped throwing knives from Chad, but with a triangular construction. Too dull and heavy to be useful as a throwing knife, this type was reserved for use as a prestige item, ceremonial instrument, and dancing element.
In their role as utilitarian weapons, these throwing knives were primarily used for personal protection on journeys and at night. They formed part of the attire of the adult male and were also used as dancing ornaments handled by men, and sometimes also by women. This model – a transitional form between a functional throwing knife and a ceremonial object – was developed by the groups inhabiting the Mandara mountains.
This knife comes from a region inhabited by an amalgam of rather small tribes who are called ‘Kirdi’, ‘Haabé’, and ‘Fali’, by their neighbors and adversaries; these terms basically mean ‘barbaric pagans’ or ‘heathen folk’. The proper names of the tribes who use this knife type are Marghi, Guduf, Lamang, and Podok (Westerdijk, The African Throwing Knife, 1998).