Dibussi Tande (Buea, February 1993)
By the demon's spell they seemed possessed
By their mythical idea they were obsessed.
Theirs was to be the envy of the world
A nation with the best of two worlds.
This hazy concept was seen as "the" solution
And towards it they tolerated no contradiction.
Then came the unforgettable day of decision;
They happily dumped the Great Federation
For a strange and uncertain union
While the world looked on in amazement
Like guinea pigs they prepared for the great experiment
And prayed it wouldn't be a failed experiment.
But very soon the dream turned sour
As the feared Aryan complex took over.
Though equality was pronounced abstractly
Reality made them inferiors concretely.
"Crush them!" was the majority's war cry.
Alarmed the minority sent out shrill cries
But too late: they had been trapped...
For three decades they watched in dismay
And endlessly cursed that infamous day
Their dreams shattered and set aflame
Their lives never to be the same.
Their natural resources unearthed
While they remained the scum of the earth.
Today they bask in abject poverty
A people with no authentic identity
A minority deprived of its dignity
And callously cheated of its property
The helpless victims of majority rule.
The scorned prophet's predictions have come true...
But hope has not died out completely
Their status they'll change radically;
Theirs shall be a federation
A balanced and equal union
Or the dreaded Third Option
Shall be the only solution.
Culled from No Turning Back: Poems of Freedom by Dibussi Tande (Forthcoming, 2007). Originally published in Cameroon Post, Feb. 28, 1993.