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« Available Soon... "Scribbles from the Den" the Book! | Main | Charlotte Mbango: The Day the Music Died »

June 02, 2009


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 mbako aloysius

This is a very salient point to raise. This absence of Anglophone writers is part of a machination to undermine the elite from the former west Cameroonian and I have argued that it's not per chance. Very pointedly was the omission of Anglophone Cameroon history from the History of our country by none other than the president of the republic and that was in his famous interview on France 24 television. For him, the story of Cameroon started with French colonization and independence from that one colonial power. How else would you expect the French or anyone else to learn the true history of the Cameroons except through it's president?
I often wondered why we are regarded as a tribe rather than part Cameroon with the same tribal mix as the rest of the Country. On one occasion I challenged my boss Dr Maikano Abdullai then Minister of defence on this issue. This was when addressing us young military doctors he mentioned a list of tribes from the originally French part of Cameroon and ended up with Anglophone, the last tribe. When i reacted by saying Anglophone was not a tribe he retorted dismissively saying it is the same thing. From my experience, working in different parts of Cameroon it repeatedly occurred to me that my minister's impression of tribes was the one held by most Francos. I set out experimenting with children of different levels of primary and secondary education and found the same tendency. On one occasion when i made this revelation to my friends in front of one of our bosses, a general, they all thought it was not true. While sitting on the spot I randomly invited seven children of different classes and asked each of them to name some Cameroonian tribes they knew. My friends and my boss were astonished or pretended to be when all seven gave similar replies but more so mentioning Anglophone at the end (the last tribe). This is not surprising when you look at what they are taught in history, civics and geography; we are not mentioned anywhere. If for many decades the system avoided any mention of Anglophone tribes, Academics, politicians, writers etc, it is my belief that it is intended rather than by dint of an accident. Ahidjo had created a system which fenced us out of the political discuss. Whenever an Anglophone tried to participate in the national debate, he was automatically seen as being divisive, "Le Biafrain".
There need to be a radical change in this mentality as even now, as noted by the author, no mention is made of Anglophone historians, novelists, poets,film makers, musicians etc. There needs to be a push from Anglophones to patronize our writers hand down the baton of our history and achievements to the next generation. Don't count on government.


I find sense in Kangsen's article and arguments in the following points:

1) “Nganang wonders how it is possible that a francophone student can complete nursery, primary and secondary education without in as much as having read a book by an Anglophone Cameroonian author… But that aside, by calling it an intentional attempt to brainwash, and in so doing tacitly exposing the bureaucratic gate-keeping, power plays and behind-the-scenes-maneuvers that go into making the decisions about what books are read in both Francophone and Anglophone schools, Nganang rebukes that faceless and opaque body—ultimately responsible for the kind of literary free flow he would have liked to have in his formative years”… see my interview of see my interview in PALAPALA issue 4 of February 09, 2009 and didn’t I observe that: "It becomes more lamentable for the Anglophone writers, some of who suffer the above plus the fact that little effort is made(forget the vast mouthing about national integration) to reciprocate by including their texts in the Francophone curricula in translated or original forms".

2)"And if writers are the masters of language, then they ought to determine what ends language ought be employed, especially against a system whose execution of power is asphyxiating, divisive and repressive. In the case of the state of Cameroon, where these Anglophone Cameroon writers live, the language of power is French. Power speaks and laughs in French". Well, said, Nganang suffers from same pathology of majorities. This disease blinds them, as a resultant of their experience that is conditioned outside the frame of minority suffering & marginalisations, in nsuch a way that their consciousness is no longer competent enough to decipher the subtleties of the marginalised “other”. He mistakes their truths for whinings! They know where the boot pinches, he doesn’t.

3)"But do we have writers from Anglophone Cameroon who while speaking truth to power—knowing that power wraps itself in a French flag— still project a heightened sense of artistic integrity and universal appeal? Yes they are..... However, the most disconcerting aspect of Nganang’s essay is the perpetuation, however unintended, of the notion that the English speaking Cameroon experience is defined solely by its relationship to its French-speaking brethren or its group status in Cameroon":You prove it amply that Nganang has not done his homework in reading Anglophone Cameroon literature across the board, like the intellectuals he criticises for passing preposterous judgments on the quality & quantity of Anglophone Cameroon literature. It is literature that is universal in most works, especially works by Anglophone women and young writers.Nganang's reading was surely targetted and parochial.

4)"The average English speaking Cameroonian wakes up everyday at dawn, and like everyone else has to contend with a litany of modern problems; school fees for children, sickness, gas prices, food prices, rent, corruption, election rigging, electricity, drinking water, capital flight and crime": Largely true, and it seems Nganang read our literature with preconceptions that controlled his judgments, especially as he never cited any work to prove his point as you just done here with relevant quotations!Such references would have confirmed his "real" reading of the literature as opposed to "preconceived" and "received" reading!

AS for Mr Mbako, your analysis & experiments are interesting. they tell us much in so few words.

Ma Mary

Colonel Mbako. It is of note that you task Southern Cameroonians to take their cultural and historical destiny into their own hands and not count on the government of Cameroon, whose interest ab initio was to cause us to dissolve and disappear.

I think we are already taking that destiny into our hands, because if you look just in this blog, there has been a veritable deluge of books just in the last two years from our authors. If you check Afrigator, the African blog aggregation site, our blogs are the first four in ranking from Cameroon. That means the medicine that you recommend, dear doctor is already being taken, and we are moving ahead, and very strong and dominant because we are doing it on our own and not waiting for our hand to be held.

Nganang makes some interesting points, and I congratulate him for opening his eyes, but he still makes one mistake in supposing that we need francophones or the francophone establishment in order to be complete. No we do not and they need to remove those road blocks that they have deliberately put in the way. They teach their children lies about us, as your little research project clearly shows.

Isoke Mbongo

If you like, writers are masters of the language they can control, just like the good doctor said. And the language of power in Cameroon is indeed French, just like the doctor said. French is also the way power speaks and laughs in Cameroon. So Dr. Nganang spoke very well.
If you have ever served effectively or benefited from any meaningful service in Cameroon, chances are that you or somebody else had to have either spoken or tried very hard to understand French. I submit to you that that is power and that that power speaks eloquently, and laughs defiantly in French. It goes to bed drunk and wakes up no good; drenched in French and power. I think there is everything wrong with this type of power.

The fathers of the budding nation sold the fallacy of a prosperous bilingual pearl to a trusting people on both sides of the Mungo. Think what a true bilingual Cameroon in the heart of Africa can be. Think about what an equally yoked couple put and get in the promise of marriage.

If you plan to get married, you must of necessity speak a language which your spouse can understand; otherwise you must avail yourself with the intoxicating medicament, here referred to as power, the power that shamefully speaks his own to death.

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