Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Looking for Yangke

Through a cousin’s DNA I was able to track my African ancestors to the Tikar, Fulani and Hausa tribes in Cameroon. Since receiving the results of the test, I’ve made two trips to Cameroon, the first in December 2010 and a second time in December 2011.
During my first trip, a Tikar king honored me with a Tikar name: Yangke.




On my second trip, a Cameroonian citizen gave me the deed to a small plot of land. My Tikar name and plot of land have helped deepen my connection to my African ancestors. Even more significant, are the Cameroonian people I’ve met who’ve reached out to me in friendship.

After the king gave me a name, he wrote it out, along with its meaning, on a small piece of paper:

“Yangke, princess born in the kingdom and chief of women.”

I keep the piece of paper with my Tikar name on my desk. It’s a precious possession. Until I discover the name of my African ancestor, I’ll call her Yangke, too.


On my first trip to Cameroon, I took my book “Something Beautiful” with me. After reading it at Cite de l’enfance School in the city of Kribi, I donated the book to the school’s library. I can’t wait to send them “The Granddaughter Necklace!”

Sharon has a new book, The River and Me. Learn more at American Girl about Evette and her passion for nature!