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New Forms of Life in the Debris of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Within the context of the absence of effective state sovereignty and the presence of numerous armed struggles for power, Nande traders have managed to build and protect self-sustaining, prosperous, transnational economic enterprises in eastern Congo. This book discusses the commercial enterprises of the Nande trust networks and the subsequent transnational community they have produced, thereby challenging the assumption that a ìweak stateî or a ìfailed stateî or even a ìcollapsed stateî can be presumed to signal a ìfailedî society. It demonstrates the fact that several sovereignties and property right systems can coexist side by side, reinforcing each other ñ an idea which seems inconceivable for those with a normative view of governmental institutions and state sovereignty. Rethinking the question of African state formation, the study contributes to the formulation of a more rigorously transnational and local paradigms in the study of post-colonial African state formations. It constitutes an original contribution to critical theory of societal responses to processes of state implosion, and the anthropology of new social formations that emerge when states disintegrate, especially in war-torn Africa. The book also discusses issues related to the dynamics of conflict, new state formation, transnational trade network, ethnicity, and global political and economic governance. In the midst of abundant anti-ethnic literature on African studies, this study posits that there may be a renewed usefulness and necessity in theorizing the salience and continuing production of ëethnicí differences in a manner that challenges the notion of ethnicity as merely a devious and divisive invention of colonialism that must simply be overcome.
In this carefully thought-through anthology, Bole Butake brings Cameroonian poets of different generations, gender, regions, backgrounds and interests into conversation not only among themselves but more especially with poets from other parts of Africa and the world. This is a testament on the universality of poetry. It is an invitation for those in tune with poetry to reaffirm its magic and to spread the warmth of its embrace in celebration of a common and boundless humanity.
The Cameroon Condition brings together three seminal essays by George Ngwane, one of the most renowned, committed and daring Anglophone Cameroon writers. ìThe Mungo Bridge,î is a stinging indictment of the tenuous relations between La Republique du Cameroun and the Southern Cameroons ñ a marriage gone sour right from the honeymoon. It raises hard questions on the failed union, and is uncompromisingly courageous in the solutions it proposes. This popular essay was first published at a time when it was risky to be open and critical, especially on what has come to be known as The Anglophone Problem. ìThe Anglophone Fileî discusses the narrow and barren politics of belonging that have exacerbated divisions and controversies among Anglophone elites, turning them into political fodder for the Francophone dominated state. The essay suggests ways out of the divisions and intrigue that have kept Anglophones permanently at daggers drawn against each other, and facilitated their exploitation, humiliation and marginalization. The third essay, ìFragments of Unity,î concerns the South West Region, whose leaders Ngwane criticizes of political opportunism and of a chronic lack of vision and fortitude with regard to the socio-economic development of the region. It calls for a leadership free of the docility, mediocrity and praisesingerliness. These are powerful essays that have attracted praise and criticism alike. They are essays to leave few indifferent. Their continued relevance to current debates makes of them a most read.
A Test of Anglophone Solidarity
This book richly documents the battles fought by the Anglophone community in Cameroon to safeguard the General Certificate of Education (GCE), a symbol of their cherished colonial heritage from Britain, from attempts by agents of the Ministry of National Education to subvert it. These battles opposed a mobilised and determined Anglophone civil society against numerous machinations by successive Francophone-dominated governments to destroy their much prided educational system in the name of 'national integration'. When Southern Cameroonians re-united with La R?publique du Cameroun in 1961, they claimed that they were bringing into the union 'a fine education system' from which their Francophone compatriots could borrow. Instead, they found themselves battling for decades to save their way of life. Central to their concerns and survival as a community is an urgent need for cultural recognition and representation, of which an educational system free of corruption and trivialisation through politicisation is a key component.
This book brings and blends together a dozen scholarly articles published by the author since the 1970s. It sketches two different yet related stories: first, that of one of the most ancient and prestigious African civilizations, the antiquity and sophistication of which are becoming more and more prominent as field research unfolds their many facets. Second, the story of the researcher himself, who has had to alter and shift his approach to that civilization as he got to meet Grassfielders, colleagues, friends and scholars who changed his views about the Grassfields kingdoms and their people. This book bears witness to those many encounters. Historical and anthropological research is not only a question of relevant theories and methodologies. It is also a human endeavour made of networks and friendships.
Memories of an Authentic Eye Witness
The Cameroon Political Story is a long journey through the eyes and actions of the author himself. It is a mix between Mbileís memoirs, a bit of his biography and the Cameroon political story, heavily weighted in favour of that part of the Republic formerly identified as Southern Cameroons, later West Cameroon, now South West and North West Regions. The story is told in the interest of the Cameroonian youth and scholar who have often complained of the inadequate recording by political leaders of the life and deeds of their times. It is the story of an African boy of humble village beginnings who rose to participate in the making of a modern political community. It is hoped the book provides useful knowledge on the history, growth and constitutional evolution of Cameroon, a country which after more than a century of administrative metamorphosis settled to its present statehood in 1961, a Cameroon reborn.
This book deals with the important subject of governance and development. Even more significantly, the book has the merits of critically evaluating the concept of good governance in an African context, identifying the internal factors that impinge on good governance and development, and proposing solutions. It provides empirical evidence on the extent to which inappropriate governing strategies are the main internal obstacle to development in Cameroon. The authors discuss factors contributing to precarious and problematic governance from multidisciplinary perspectives, and demonstrate the extent to which such inadequacies impede positive social change. To promote effective development, the authors argue for the implementation of a good governance strategy that comprises, inter alia: adopting appropriate development strategies; decentralizing administration to make for popular participation and ensure accountability; taking the necessary steps to fight corruption; and ensuring the enforcement of property and cultural rights.
Initially considered something of a black sheep within the Anglophone Cameroon literary genres, the Anglophone novel has gradually grown to carve out a respectable niche for itself in the Anglophone Cameroon sub-system, imposing itself in a way that makes it impossible for critics to ignore it. Now a vibrant genre, it even threatens to overtake drama and poetry, both of which have enjoyed more critical attention. This book is a study of how Anglophone Cameroon has contributed in extending the possibilities of the novel as a literary form, and of some of the established conventions necessary for a fruitful evaluation of the growing body of the Cameroonian novel in English. In this eclectic and compelling book, Ambanasom sets out to achieve three primary objectives: to introduce the reader to the extensive body of Cameroonian novels in English, to re-examine the distorting and limiting criteria upon which the critical assessment of the Cameroonian novel in English has so far been based, and to bridge the widening chasm between literary theory and actual critical practice. To achieve these objectives, Ambanasom begins by elaborating an alternative and flexible theoretical framework which he christens the 'Socio-Artistic Approach' and which, according to him, is 'concerned with both a text's thematic, moral, cultural or ideological issues, on the one hand, and its central literary analysis, on the other.' He then proceeds to use this new critical framework to examine twenty-seven major Cameroonian novels in English. There are critical voices, already emerging within the Anglophone Cameroonian literary circles, calling for rigorous teaching and practice of theory in the interpretation of literary works, setting in motion a critical discourse. Such a call is salutary, and welcome. Those university lecturers whose responsibility it is to teach theoretical courses should take this call very seriously, moving from theory to hands-on practice. This book is Ambanasom's contribution to that critical debate.
Management and Resolution, 1981-2011
At independence, Cameroon and Nigeria adhered to the OAU principle of UTI POSSEDETIS JURIS by inheriting the colonial administrative borders whose delineation in some parts was either imperfect or not demarcated or both. The two countries tried to correct these anomalies. But such efforts were later thwarted by incessant geostrategic reckoning, dilatory, and diversionary tactics in the seventies and eighties that persisted and resurfaced in the nineties with a more determined posture. On two occasions, the border conflict almost boiled over to a full-scale war. First, in May 1981 when there was the exchange of fire between Cameroonian and Nigerian coast guards and second, in February 1994 when Nigeria marched her troops into Cameroonís Bakassi Peninsula. Elsewhere in Africa, border incidents like these have often degenerated into war. But Cameroon and Nigeria together with the international community managed these protracted incidents from escalating into war. This book examines the part played by the disputing parties, Cameroon and Nigeria; the mediation, conciliatory and adjudicatory role of third parties; and the regional and international organisations, in the process of the resolution of the border dispute from 1981-2011. The study situates the nature and dynamics of the dispute historically, and comprehensively explores in detail its causes, settlement and resolution.
This book addresses Cameroonís culture, education and language policies since independence, scholarship on and vigorous debate about them, their bearings on different visions of national development, and their place in the political struggle between autocracy and democracy since 1990. A synoptic view of half a centuryís key experiences, issues and fault lines emerges.