Crushing Issues Face Cameroon

For this blog post I came across a newspaper article from 1960 on Cameroon and the political and economical issues their president and nation was facing at the time. The title of this newspaper article is “Crushing Issues Face Cameroon: Outlook for new state held poor”. It was written by Homer Bigarts who is an American Reporter that worked for New York times from 1929 to 1972. This article starts out with Bigart’s introducing the topic of the major issues occuring in Cameroon. In 1958 Ahmadou Ahidjo was elected prime minister of what he renamed his nation as, the Republic of Cameroon. Early in his term he was faced with a huge decision that could eventually lead him to losing his seat in the next election. This decision was surrounding a rebellion from the south and how he would go about handling it. Bigart’s states, “He must either crush a rebellion in the south with ruthless tactics risking international censure or treat with the Bamileke rebel leaders and legalize the outlawed Union of Cameroon Peoples, a move that could un-seat him in the April elections”(Bigarts). Everyone was curious to see how this young leader wou’d handle such a big decision that could potentially turn his nation against him and create serious disapproval amongst the land. The ruthless tactics that this newspaper article is referring to are acts of violence with help from the French Troops. Not only is he using force against his own people but he is also using support from the country they just so recently gained independence from. This was not a good look however it is hard to say for sure what went into this decision process. It is definitely way more complex than I have researched. But I do know that no person in a nation, even if they are on the other side of the nation, do not want to see their own people being attacked by word of their leader and the troops they just gained freedom from. All that being said, the article gives insight that locals and people focused on the topic have signs to believe that Ahidjo is going to chose the ruthless tactics over legalizing the outlawed Union of Cameroon Peoples.

 

I found this article on the New York Times archive and found it interesting because it gives an idea of the struggles that were taking place politically and what the government leaders and president had to face in their job. Earlier in the semester we talked about power and leadership in the nation. We also talked about some of the responsibilities these leaders and authority figures had. But what was interesting to me was how some of these conflicts were internal and were issues occuring within the nation. Cameroon shifted from having foreign issues to now internal issues once they were granted freedom. In the beginning of this article Bigarts states that, “Cameroon seems least likely to succeed”(Bigarts). Proving that Cameroon really was facing issues that were causing rebellion and revolts within the nation. Being that this article comes from the New York Times and from a man of 43 years of experience, I found it to be very credible and non bias. He is an American reporter with no ties to the land of Cameroon and has done the research to publish many pieces on major topics like this in the African region. Overall this article was very informative and interesting when discussing authority and the issues they faced.

 

By HOMER BIGARTSpecial to The New,York Times. “CRUSHING ISSUES FACE CAMEROON.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Jan 25, 1960. https://muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/docview/115211235?accountid=40980.

 

Music Significance in Cameroon (1980)

In my research I came across a short piece about music in Africa and specifically the country I have been focusing on, Cameroon. Cameroon did not gain its independence until 1955. So all my prior research has been more geared around annexation and foreign colonialism. However now that the time period changed and Cameroon gained its independence after WWII, the articles begin to be more appealing and unique. Things such as music and culture and independence finally are present. In the piece I found, Pie Claude Ngumu speaks about the significance music has in carrying on culture and traditional from older generations. Before Cameroon was a free nation they had no technique to “preserve their art in writing”(Ngumu). Ngumu goes on to explain this idea that music and oral traditions, “embody messages of wisdom directed at all generations” and “serve as modes of thought which can richley nourish our creativity”(Ngumu). Throughout this writing Ngumu focuses on the power of music, and the significance it holds on the tradition and history of Cameroon as well as many other countries in Africa. I chose this article and found it interesting because of its connection to our recent conversations in class about music. In class listening to the music of the people from all over Africa, you get a sense for the passion they have in their lyrics and the genuinity within their writing. These songs all tell a story or have a direct message for as certain person or group of people. In class the one song was about orphans and children that grew up without parents. These songs come from people with similar experiences and that are singing about their life and what they learned. They are doing this because it is a part of their culture. They want the younger generation to succeed and be happy. They want tranquility and music is one tool that these African nations used in an early time when technology was not nearly what is is today and or present in some of these areas. Using music as a tool to carry on tradition and messages to people is an amazing thing to note in history and shows the meaning within their culture.

This article was written by Pie-Claude Ngumu, who is a director who specializes in African
(Cameroon) documentaries. Or at least one in the 80s. The research he had to do in order to direct a documentary on the nation of Cameroon holds enough value to make me trust this source and find it credible. The piece this article was taken from was found on JSTOR and was published in 1980. It was published by the International Library of African Music additionally adding credibility and value to the writing. While reading this, I tended to agree a lot with Ngumu’s accusations and felt that he truly understand the concepts he is debating. Overall this piece is very informative and not tough on the eyes. It makes sense, is easy to read and holds a lot of cool value that is especially interesting because of its relationship to our recent in class discussions. I would suggest it to anyone that wants to further their knowledge on music and its importance to certain African cultures.

 

http://www.jstor.org.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/stable/pdf/30249742.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Abd2ad8cdb24c1e37a0e7755e518c1991

 

Ngumu, Pie-Claude. “A Standard Model for Transcribing Traditional African Music in Cameroon.” JSTOR, 1980, www.jstor.org.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/stable/pdf/30249742.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Abd2ad8cdb24c1e37a0e7755e518c1991.

Blog Post #2

This article is not so complex, however talks about something that was important at the time in Cameroon, which is the bird presence in Cameroon and its neighboring countries. This article was written in 1927 by Oscar Neumann, a German Ornithologist. At the time German annexation was still present in Cameroon. In this article, Oscar explains the misconception of bird identification in the area ane the difference in species flying through Cameroon and its nearby countries. The main distinction he focuses on is the coloring on the crown and upper hind neck. Cameroon species have a more earthy brown tone to them. Giving them their individuality and identity in relation to other native species.  Although this topic is not that in depth and important to society, it gives readers an idea of the nature there a little bit as well as things that were abundant in this land. Birds being one of them, as well as the interest in fish. Similar articles were found about fish being discovered in the area and their location. This article lists the names of a few bodies of water in the region giving the audience a better knowledge of where Cameroon is geographically and the nature it holds. Bodies of water such as the Uam River, the Shari, and the Ubangi. He explains the difficulty in identifying these species and which direction to look for other species..

This source comes was pretty difficult to examine and extremely difficult to extract information from. There is not a lot of important stuff going on however there is always some form of takeaway. This author and Ornithologist, Oscar Neumann, is credible and has the experience and title to state the facts and opinions he states. A lot of his research during the time of this article was not complete. Meaning a lot of it is hypothesis and or mental notes he took along the way. Although this information is not all set in stone and exact, it has a smaller message. The takeaway from this is simply a hint of the nature and culture that is relevant in the nation of Cameroon.

In this piece, Oscar aims to inform the readers about his findings and about the nature they see everyday. He states facts and uses proof from encyclopedias and cites them. These cited sources help make the article even more credible and reliable….Even though this information is not ground breaking, it was one of very few to choose from in better understanding the Cameroon culture in the early 1900s. It also shows German involvement in this nation and the presence of European colonialism. At this time Germany’s annexation over Cameroon was in full affect. I chose this article because truly it was very challenging to find another interesting one, and because it has to do with nature. Which in my mind is very relevant and important in understanding one’s culture and background. Now obviously Neumann describing different species of birds does not wrap up all the nature in Cameroon but is a specific topic that during this time was important enough to be documented.

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European Alcohol, History, and the State of Cameroon (Kamerun)

The article used for my research focuses on the European history and the importance of alcohol in the years Cameroon was foreinly governed. It explains foreign affairs as well as mainly honing in on alcohol and how it was the primary resource stimulating the economy at the time. In the year 1884 Kamerun was annexed as a German Colony. Immediately after that, alcohol demand became one of the most important goods helping Germany govern the territory. Bottled Alcohol beverages became the focus in German Imperialism. Taxing liquor, many times “Schnaps”, was what gave Germany the leverage they needed to maintain annexation and accumulate capital. This article talks about the alcohol production and consumption in the Republic of Cameroon. The emphasis Germany put on the alcohol economy and the demand amongst the territory helped stimulate these “contemporary african economies” and gave Germany the leverage over colony of Cameroon. The revenue generated from this European imported alcohol was beginning to be the main item stimulating economy as well as taking up a large percentage of West African colonies imports. Bottled alcohol was so easy to be transported and sold anywhere making them almost a form of currency. At the time foreign Traders and businessmen wanted slaves and to do that, they needed these commercial items. “‘These were bartered and circulated along indigenous exchange routes. In the context of the West African coastal slave trade, alcohol became so important that one traveller observed that rum-carrying coastal vessels, seemed like “one long baroom”’ (Cherrington cited in Pan 1975, 7). A barroom is a local bar populated along, what this quote described as a rum-carrying coastal vessels. This shows the importance as well as the prominence alcohol really had on Germany’s annexation and control over their newly governed colony.

This secondary source is credited by the Cambridge University Press. Located in England. The Author is Susan Dudik, a once professor at Denison University. In my research, it was hard to find the right source with that was credible and had a minimal amount of bias. When deciding if this piece was credible or not, I decided to research the author and her credentials. She is a Associate Professor at Denison University with a focus on “black studies” and “international studies”. On her page in a short biography she explains in a quote her goal as a professor and her background. She goes on to explain her love for western Africa and the research she had done on not only European involvement but specifically alcohol and its importance. Her research was done at University of College London as well as a BA at the College of William and Mary and Indiana University. This is a woman who knows what she is talking about and has done the years of research in order to enlighten people on the topic. One thing I did question when using this source was that Cambridge is in London and at the time of Germanys annexation, England was trying to gain control of Cameroon as well. Germany was already in control and did not give up any rights to England however they tried so some bias or negativity could come from a place located in England. If it was written by a German press it might have different focuses however, Susan Diduk to me is not bias due to that situation in history.

I think this piece helped me a lot in understanding better how colonialism worked and how certain people were basically forced to live a certain lifestyle. Soon this good swept the streets and became a demanded good by both the people of Cameroon and the white travelers or businessmen. Reading this really opened my eyes to how something so simplistic and tangible like bottled beer and liquor could run a colony and essentially give one group of people leverage over another. To this day alcohol is a huge factor in nations all around the globe. That has not changed. However it is cool to understand the roots of these African countries and how they started. Many of them were founded and built on a good as simple as alcohol.

 

Biography

Diduk, Susan. “European Alcohol, History, and the State in Cameroon.” African Studies Review 36, no. 1 (1993): 1-42. doi:10.2307/525506.