Cameroon’s Cultural diversity
Cameroon is located by the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa. Nigeria lies to the west, Chad and the Central African Republic to the east, and the People’s Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon to the south. Its area is 179,527 square miles (465,000 square kilometers).
The climate is hot and humid in the forested south and west, cooler in the highland Grass fields region of the West and Northwest Region, and hotter and drier in the savanna and Sahel of the north. It has 10 regions. Yaoundé is the capital.
The population is growing at an average annual rate of almost 3 percent, with declining mortality and high fertility. Thirty-eight percent of the population lives in urban centers. Cameroon known for its cultural diversity has always been term “Africa in miniature” meaning that, all the endowments found in other African countries, a bit or if not all can also be found in Cameroon, but in this articles, we would focus on its cultural plurality.
Cameroon has an approximately 250 local languages. Pidgin English functions as a lingua franca in the English-speaking area. French and English are the official languages. The sharing of cooked food is one of the major ways to cement social relationships and express the high value placed on human company. Sharing food and drink demonstrates hospitality and trust. Social support networks among kin and friends, particularly between country folk and their urban relatives, are held together symbolically with gifts of cooked and uncooked. Most often, food Sacks of beans, maize, or peanuts “from home” can be seen on the roofs of bush taxis traveling between the countryside and urban centers. In many regions, men and guests eat before women and children. Hand washing is part of the etiquette of meals. Whether from a separate dish or a common pot, a small ball of porridge is formed by three fingers of the right hand and then dipped in sauce. However, westernization has led families to eat together around a common table, using separate place settings and cutlery.
Generally in Cameroon, men have higher social status than women. They have more rights with regard to marriage, divorce, and land tenure within most local systems of social organization and more access to government bureaucracy and the courts. polygamous family is legal and common in Cameroon. However, women may have informal power within households, enforced through their control of subsistence activities and their role as conduits to female ancestors.
. Most southern groups prefer exogamous marriage, while the Fulani tend to be endogamous. Polygamy is a goal within many groups but is not always financially attainable. Some women prefer small-scale polygamy for the company and mutual aid a co-wife might provide.
In Cameroon, much of daily life occurs in public areas such as the courtyards of polygamous compounds. Privacy is often suspect, especially among peoples with a strong belief in malevolent and occult powers.
Domestic organization varies widely throughout Cameroon. Rural polygamous compounds are composed of a male head of a household surrounded by his wives and their children. Wives and children usually sleep in separate dwellings within the compound. In both urban and rural areas, child-rearing by a close relative (a kind of foster arrangement) is common.
The organization of kinship varies widely, as do local rules of inheritance. The inheritance of land is often separated from that of movable property. The inheritance of wives may serve as a form of old-age insurance for women without grown children, since marriage provides access to land. Among many groups, traditional titles and honors may be inherited.
Most northern groups, such as the Fulani, are patrilineal. The kinship organization of most Grassfielders, Bamiléké, and Bamoun is variously described as patrilineal or dual descent. The Kom of the Grassfields are a notable matrilineal exception. Most forest peoples are patrilineal.
One of the ten regions in Cameroon is the Northwest region with Bamenda being its major city. In the northwest, Bafut, Mankon, Nkween, Bali, Kom are some of the popular tribes in this region. This region is very much diversified and admired because of its cultural inclination and cultural history which still prevail in Cameroon today. They are well appreciated in their traditional outfit and diversified dishes highly visible everywhere in the country and overseas too. Within the northwest region, its taboo for a child or a woman to eat the gills of a chicken, its meant only for the elderly and it’s a show of respect. Palm wine is highly consume in the Northwest region. Common dishes in this region are Achu and yellow soup, Corn fufu and caticati, Fufu and Njamanjama (hokiberi),Yam, plantain and ndole. Polygamous marriges is very popular in rural certains especially with the notables (village elders). Women don’t speak to Chiefs or fon directly except otherwise or if initiated in the palace.
In the south west region, Kumba, Buea, Limbe. and Manfe are the major cities though with distinct in disheses and cultural rights, but very similar in their dance styles, traditional outfits, speaking tone, ceremonial celebrations and public treatment of their chiefs. In Buea and Limbe, the dominant tribe are the Bakweris “commonly refered to as people of the mountain”. Its within this cities that Mount Cameroon is located. The presence of this Mountain has attracted and encourage lots of tourists influx in these towns. Traditional dishes famous in the southwest are Kwacoco Bible, Kwacoco-Banga soup (Bakweri), Water fufu and eru (bayangi-Mamfe) Limbe has witness great transformation over recent time because of its accompanying long stretch beaches, sightseeing sea-sites and mountain top views. People in the southwest do a lot of fishing and hunting. Popular dance is the southwest region is the njoku dance (dancing with elephants). Women don’t speak to chiefs or fon directly except otherwise or if initiated in the palace.
Food taboos vary by ethnic group. The Bassa for instance in the central region with Yaounde being the major city, like to serve a gourmet dish of viper steaks in black sauce meant to be ate by all, whereas, in the Ewondo (Beti), only the oldest males among may eat viper. Popular meals in this region are Mpu-fish and Mbongo chobbi source, eaten with plantain or yam. Miondo and fish is desired too. Pwondo dance is very common to see being p4acticed, song and danced within the centre region.
In the coastal region which is highly inhabited by the Doualas. The centre region is the economic capital of Cameroon applauded as the region with the highest number of people. Douala has very nice public attraction sites, attractive buildings and roundabouts. Business or better still, entrepreneurship is major trend in the coastal region. Most spoken language amongst the two official languages in this region is French and in the outskirts, you hear a lot of local languages being spoken like Bassa and bamileke.
In the west region, Bafousam is the major town. Bamums are everywhere in this region. They hold their chiefs (fons) in high esteem. Common to eat here is koki and plantain. the style of housing is mostly pyramid in shape.
In the North, Adamawa and Far north region, Fulanis are common. Fulani is the major local language spoken in these two regions. A cattle rearing is the main practice. Cann-drink is highly produce and consumed by the inhabitant. They love sleeping in groups on a mat. This group of people don’t attarch much desire in material luxuries. horse ridding is popular and traditional dances often involve horses to galvanize the ceremony. Within this certain, women right is not really visible. Breast ironing and girl circumcision is common practice but lot of government measures is curbing the situation though still very present in far off certain. Children merry at very early as from 10 or 12 years old. Its common to see very young girls nursing their children and also easy to see infants already living as wife and husband. Girl Children are often sent in for marriage as compensation of debt. Cow milk drilling is highly practice and sold for livelihood. This group of people loves to dress in robes. These regions total the greatest portion of Muslims in Cameroon unlike in the regions where Christianity is dominant.
In the east region, the people’s culture are likely to those of the centre region. People in the east region are mostly Foubanist. Maka in the east, practice divination and/or perform public autopsies to determine the cause of death. These peoples are particularly concerned with death caused by witchcraft. In the south Region, common are the pygmies and family is their major activity and source of income.
In the south region, the people mostly common are pygmies. Farming and hunting is their primary activities. Because of the heavy timber presence in this region, most groups always combine to help a brother or sisters.