With bullets, Cameroonians answer the question of the importance of language in
In the same way children lost their lives in Soweto South Africa chanting “Away with
Afrikaans” on June 16 in 1976, Anglophone Cameroonians are fighting a staunch battle against the utilization of French in their daily lives.
Of course the instability in that Nation has much deeper roots than this, but at the core of the fight, is a chosen medium of communication and the refusal to conform or compromise by either party.
Cameroon, before its independence, was a colony of both France and Britain.
Though the country has been independent of its colonizers for 59 years now, the
separation which existed during colonialism, most evident in the use of English in some parts and French in others, threatens the internal stability of the country now more than ever.
Roughly 5million of Cameroon’s 25million strong population are English speaking, and it is this 5million that the Anglophone separatist group named the “Ambazonian Freedom Fighters”, seeks to liberate in its deadly effort to pressurize President Biya’s
Government to establish an English speaking state.
According to the Media more than 400 lives have been lost since 2016, but reports from Cameroonians themselves say the numbers are in the Thousands. It is the lives of these Thousands (and counting) that have me wondering how in tune we are with the heart beat of Africa.
It seems to me, that as Leaders, we lack depth when it comes to understanding and
learning from our histories as we execute our Democracies.
Citizens resort to choosing internal disruption and peacelessness when they are
To be in tune with the heartbeat of Cameroon at this present time, would be to
recognize that Cameroon is in need of preventative assistance from its neighbors and the African Union. We need to prevent Genocide.
President Biya himself has been reported by Al Jazeera to refer to the struggle with the Anglophone separatist group as a War.
War is a big word.
It is so big a Word in fact that the UN and AU refrain from it, and revert to lesser words like Conflict when describing situations like that which President Biya is faced with.
War says more about the state of mind of President Biya in regards to the situation,
than it does about the situation itself.
He will not surrender Cameroonian territory for the establishment of Ambazonia without a fight.
But what if surrender of territory is not the only option that President Biya has?
To prevent further Disturbances to the Peace in Cameroon, a true reflection of the
realities experienced by Anglophone Cameroonians needs to be undergone.
And their concerns need to be addressed as valid and serious issues which affect the
Population as a whole.
African lives have for too long been relinquished for the sake of ideals that we could
discuss and compromise on.
Language is important, even if it was not before.
Anything that Africans are losing their lives at this rate about, is important.
English is important in Cameroon.