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Southern West Cameroon Revisited Volume Two
This book argues that Southern Cameroons up to the late 1960s had extensively developed an evolved mature, political culture. It was amazingly led by a range of: simple, visionary, austere, honest, peace-loving and realistic leaders, almost without exception; vintage products of their epoch. Distinguished by good governance; throughout it organized frequent free, fair and transparent elections, peaceful handover of power and enjoyed free primary and adult education. It was further crowned with an ideal, efficient civil service, literally, corruption free. In fact, the period, 1955-1968 in the history of Southern Cameroons qualifies as a ìGolden Ageî for that nostalgic state, whose citizens were repeatedly referred to as ìnice, peace loving, loyal, good and hospitable peopleî by administrators, missionaries, visitors and those who got to know them closely. The most remarkable observation however, was that finally made by Malcolm Milne, the greatest critic, who noted that during his last couple of years in the Southern Cameroons administration, he dealt with: ìPeople of high intelligence who knew exactly what they wanted.î Of the civil servants, he maintains that they had greatly enriched his time in the colonial service; ìThere was something very special about that corps; their service was their watch word.î This superlative description by Malcolm Milne was being made of a combination of the people of the present North and South West Regions, whom he saw as a socio-cultural, economic and political unit. It is therefore obvious that from 1955 - 1968, Southern West Cameroon came close towards becoming an ideal state.
The Half Century of Cameroonís Bicultural Experience
The bicultural polity of Cameroon has become problematic over the years. In addition to the increasing marginalization experienced by its English speaking component in many domains (politics, administration, economy, culture), it is facing mounting inequality and disarray despite the nation-building aspirations at reunification in 1961. This book examines the very basis of the union crisis by tracing the causes to the asymmetrical nature of negotiations between the contracting partners ñ the founding fathers of the union ñ and the politics of guile and force that has characterized the regimes in YaoundÈ. From a federal model that takes the equality of the contracting parties as a given, the polity has developed into an ethno-regional patchwork designed by its architects to be essentially unequal in nature. Consequently, the segmented Anglophone community can exist only in contradiction within itself. They have been worked into the regimeís statecraft of consciously maintaining or re-activating ethnic boundaries inherited from colonialism. An analysis of the cultural and linguistic dimension of the union shows contrasting drives between the assimilation/attempts to dominate by the French-speaking component and resistance by Anglophones. The analyses further show the projected harmonization and rollback by the State, the creative blends and the crystallization around continuing or reproduced colonial experiences, a fierce competition between elites with a drive to impose the culture of the demographically dominant and a refusal to accept the idea of a linguistic minority. The contentious experience, Yenshu Vubo argues, can still be remedied by reforms in a politics of possibilities.These reforms must be ready to re-examine the constitutional basis of the union by revisiting the often dismissed question of the form of the state defined as ìone and indivisibleî (a new federal architecture as requested by several political voices). Institutions should be restructured to attend to diversity issues and essential linguistic differences while consolidating any strategic gains of the union such as the creative blends and the acceptance of specifi cities of each community, statutory equality of citizenship and the essential clauses of the fi rst federation.
selected cases from the records of the Emir of Kano's Judicial Council
Thus Ruled Emir Abbas is an important new research tool that reveals much about daily life in Kano, the wealthiest and most populous emirate of the African Sokoto Caliphate. It contains a selection of Kano Judicial Council documents, as well as their English translations, that deal with matters such as land disputes, tax collection disputes, and theft. These documents are invaluable resources that reveal much about Kano social, economic, and political life before the region came under the influence of colonial institutions, law, and language. This selection of records for more than 415 cases, along with their translations, will become essential reading for those interested in Nigeria’s past and will certainly become a standard work in the field of Nigerian history and anthropology.
Faced with a deepening crisis in their universities, African students have demonstrated a growing activism and militancy. They have been engaged in numerous, often violent, strikes for improvements in their deteriorating living and study conditions and the introduction of a democratic culture in the universities and society as a whole, including the right to express their views, organise in student unions and participate in university management. This book focuses on a recent violent strike action in Cameroon’s state universities, with special attention to the University of Buea – the only English-speaking university in the country between 1993 and 2011. Such a detailed study on student strikes is still rare in African studies, and maybe even more important, this book pays special attention to certain elements that have been of great significance to the strike but are often overlooked in narratives of other student actions in Africa, namely the use of cell phones, differences in gender roles of student activists, the religious dimensions of the strike, the central role of some public spaces like bars and cafés for the planning and execution of student strikes, and the power of the photocopier. The book goes far beyond simply documenting the various protest actions of students against the state and university authorities. It also provides ample room for comments from journalists and other civil-society members and groups on various aspects of the strike.
The following pages, initially prepared for limited circulation in 1961, contain brief extracts and summaries of those parts of Eugen Zintgraffís book NORD-KAMERUN (1895), of most interest concerning the colonial Bamenda and Wum Division. Zintgraffís book, the first by a European about the Grassfields, has not been translated and is hard to get second-hand. In using these notes the following points should be borne in mind: Zintgraffís knowledge of Bali (Mungaka) and Hausa was very slight, and his discussions of character, motives and political institutions are consequently superficial and open to criticisms. He had no means of checking what he was told, or thought he was told. He had no previous knowledge of any similar culture and no training in ethnographical method. He was, however, a good observer, and his descriptions of tools, dress, weapons and the like, can be regarded as fairly reliable. Finally, it must be remembered that Zintgraff wrote the book to justify his own actions and to support that small but influential section of public opinion in Germany which favoured rapid imperial expansion. A full account of the actions and motives of Zintgraffís opponents in the Kamerun Government and in the Colonial Bureau of the German Foreign Office has not been written: we only have one side of the story. But there are some suggestive points made in Rudinís GERMANS IN THE CAMEROONS and others referred to in these notes. What is perhaps most striking about Zintgraffís account is the fact that the people of the Western Grassfields were not so isolated from one another or their neighbours as might be thought. A network of trade-friendships covered the country and big men exchanged gifts over long distances. These links must be set beside the inse¨curity due to raids and slave-catching, and are well worth investigation.