Most work on the political implications of hometown associations has focused on male elites. This contribution attends instead to the gendered varieties of hometown associations, exploring variations in the bases of shared identity among six Bamiléké women's hometown associations – hailing from Ndé Division, Western Province, and organized in both elite and neighbourhood-based non-elite associations – in Yaoundé, Cameroon. It suggests several ways to reconceptualize hometown associations and belonging. Addressing the situationally specific ways Bamiléké women use and interpret ‘home’, the unit of belonging, it differentiates among actors and associations by gender and status. Viewing the autochthony debate from the perspective of allogènes, it reveals that the emotions of memory, marginalization and recognition are central to belonging, understandings of home, and involvement in hometown associations. Finally, it suggests that differences in associations’ network structure affect both orientations and actions toward the home place, and at times an ‘ethnicization’ of ‘home’. The non-elite hometown associations exhibit the dense, bounded networks of ‘urban villages’ and strive to bring ‘home’ to the city. Members of elite hometown associations are urbanites, developing social networks consisting of more diverse and specialized ties, which may account for more universalistic discourse about bringing ‘development’ to the hometown.