Cameroon is a country in western Africa bordered by Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea.
Cameroon is nicknamed “Africa in Miniature” because of its rich geological and cultural diversity. Cameroon has beaches, mountains, rain forests and savannas. The highest point is Mt. Cameroon, which Albion College’s First-Year Experience class visits each time they make the trip. Two of the largest cities, Yaounde (the capital) and Douala are also visited by the First-Year Experience class.
Cameroon is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups and is well known for its native styles of music and its successful national soccer (football) team.
Cameroon became independent in 1960 under president Ahmadou Ahidjo. Compared to other African nations, Cameroon has relative political and social stability permitted by the development of agriculture, roads, and other industries. Unfortunately though, large numbers of Cameroonians live in poverty as subsistence farmers, which is not uncommon throughout Africa.
Governmental power lies with President Paul Biya (1933 – ) and his Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement party, who was elected in 1982. Corruption in Cameroon is widespread, and Biya’s revision of the Cameroonian Constitution in 2008 allows him to remain in power.
As your interest in The Nwagni Project grows, we encourage you to research Cameroon. It is a vastly interesting place, very different from what we know here in the United States. We also encourage you to look past African stereotypes and see Cameroon for what it truly is — a beautiful and vibrant place filled with people who are filled with strength, hope and love.
Recommended Reading on African Issues
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Achebe’s first novel portrays the collision of African and European cultures in people’s lives. Okonkwo, a great man in Igbo traditional society, cannot adapt to the profound changes brought about by British colonial rule. Yet, as in classic tragedy, Okonkwo’s downfall results from his own character as well as from external forces.
Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone’s civil war, goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare.
Elkins, Caroline. Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya. New York: Owl Books, 2005.
This unforgettable account of the unraveling of the British colonial empire in Kenya is a major work of history detailing the prisons, work camps, and terror that the British imposed on millions just after World War II. It has chilling parallels to America’s own imperial project.
Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography–The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa. New York City: Free Press, 1998.
Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa’s most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to win a scholarship to an American university.This extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid is a triumph of the human spirit over hatred and unspeakable degradation. For Mark Mathabane did what no physically and psychologically battered “Kaffir” from the rat-infested alleys of Alexandra was supposed to do — he escaped to tell about it.
Richburg, Keith R. Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa. Orlando: Harvest/Hbj Book, 1998.
Keith Richburg, a reporter for the Washington Post, had paid his dues covering the urban neighborhoods of our capital city. But nothing prepared him for the extraordinary personal odyssey that he would embark upon when he was sent to Africa to be the Post’s chief correspondent on the continent. As he journeys from Somalia to Rwanda to South Africa, and observes with increasing horror the routine of murder, brutal dictatorship, and warfare, he is forced to face directly the divide within himself, between his African racial heritage and his American cultural identity. Borders.Com
Online Resources for Information on Cameroon
CIA World Factbook – The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
AllAfrica.com – All Africa is a website with infinite amounts of information on all African Nations, including news updates from a variety of sources.
Cameroon Radio Television – CRTV is a popular broadcasting company in Cameroon, with articles printed in English and French straight from Cameroonian sources.