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Cameroon 2015



These horsemen are riding in a fantasia, a dramatic display of horsemanship and costumery in the Sahel, in the far north of Cameroon. The riders, dressed in colorful flowing boubous, charge directly at the spectators, who are gathered in the palace courtyard of the lamido, or traditional ruler of Maroua. At the last moment, the riders rein in their horses to a sudden stop - just feet from the crowd. Shouting and rattling their swords in the air, they then turn and gallop off to the side. The horsemen put on this spectacular demonstration for honored guests and, at times, in competitions against teams from neighboring areas.
– © Babette (Babs) Pollard Jackson

République du Cameroun
West central Africa

Area 475,440 km2 (54th)

Arable 13%

Population 20,549,221(43/km2)

Gov’t Republic Multiparty Presidential Regime

Capital Yaounde (2.4M)

GCP/capita $2,400

Military 1.3% of GDP (114th of 195)

In poverty 48%

Life expectancy 55 yrs

HIV/AIDS 5.3% (610K living)

Literacy 71%

Languages English, French and 24 major African language groups

Religions Indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 40%, Muslim 20%

Agriculture coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, bananas, oilseed, grains, cassava, livestock, timber

Industry petroleum production and refining, aluminum product production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair

PCVs 1962–present

Peace Ranking 108st

Adult Books

Your Madness Not Mine: Stories of CameroonYour Madness Not Mine: Stories of Cameroon
By Juliana Makuchi, 1999

Paperback: 158 pages
Publisher: Ohio University Press; 1 edition (February 28, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0896802063

Book Description
Powerful portraits of postcolonial Cameroonian women, who probe their day-to-day experiences of survival and empowerment as they deal with gender oppression: from patriarchal expectations to the malaise of mal-development, unemployment, and the attraction of the West for young Cameroonians.

Kids' Books

The Fortune-TellersThe Fortune-Tellers
By Lloyd Alexander, Trina Hyman, 1992

Format: Paperback, 32 pp.
ISBN: 978-0140562330
Age Range: 3–8 years
Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition, 1997


Film: Man on the Bottom
Director: Christopher Baldi, 2007
Languages: English
90 minutes – Cameroon

From IMDB: This thriller features a cheating wife who blackmails her young lover, forcing him to help her plot the murder of her rich husband.


Documentary: Born This Way
Director: Shaun Kadlec, Deb Tullmann, 2013
Languages: French / English
82 minutes – USA / Cameroon

From IMDB: Born This Way is a portrait of the underground gay and lesbian community in Cameroon. It follows two young Cameroonians, as they move between a secret, supportive LGBT community and an outside culture that, though intensely homophobic, is in transition toward greater acceptance.

From the film’s website:

: There are more arrests for homosexuality in Cameroon than any other country in the world. With intimate access to the lives of four young gay Cameroonians, Born This Way steps outside the genre of activist filmmaking and offers a vivid and poetic portrait of day-to-day life in modern Africa. Lyrical imagery, devastating homophobia, the influence of western culture, and a hidden-camera courtroom drama mysteriously coalesce into a story of what is possible in the global fight for equality.

We met Steave Nemande, the founder of Alternatives Cameroun (the first LGBT center in Cameroon) at a Human Rights Watch event in Los Angeles. He told us about a very brave group of LGBT people who congregate at Alternatives. He described how they work and play there: doing HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, providing psychological counseling, and supporting people who are rejected by their families—but also throwing amateur runway fashion shows, dance parties, and soccer matches. And during all of this, exploring together what it means to be gay, lesbian, African, human—in a place where none of these things are simple. He said that he believed many people in that community were ready, for the first time, to tell their stories.

We traveled alone to Cameroon on tourist visas. We spok e
almost no French, the official language, and though we have both traveled widely, neither of us had ever been to Central Africa. We had no idea what kind of film we would end up with. We only knew that we would determine the structure and content by listening to the people who agreed to share their stories and their lives.


Documentary: Sisters in Law: Stories from a Cameroon Court
Director: Florence Ayisi, Kim Longinotto, 2005
Languages: Pidgin English, subtitles
104 minutes – Cameroon

Wikipedia says: The film centres around four cases in Cameroon involving violence against women. It shows women seeking justice and effecting change on universal human interests issues. It also shows strong and positive images of women and children in Cameroon. Portrays the lives of women in children in Cameroon and living by the Islamic law (Sharia law.) In addition, the cases that are examined within the film particularly deal mainly with the inequality of women and children. Specifically one of the children was beaten with a cane and the aunt was charged with child abuse.

Reception: Screened in over 120 film festivals around the world, and also in Art House cinemas in Europe and USA. It has won many film awards including the prestigious Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes film festival in May 2005, Best Documentary Film at Hawaii International Film Festival, Audience Award at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Best Documentary on a Contemporary issue, Grierson Award, Social Justice Award for Documentary Film at Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Best International Documentary at Real Life on Film Festival, Melbourne and Best Single Documentary, Royal Television Society.

For more films relating to Cameroon:


Vincent Nguini: Mavro

Focus Word

Focus Word for 2015 - "Water"

French (official): eau (eau)
Fang: mendim (men-dim)
Ewondo: (men-dim)
Pidgin: wata (wah-ta)

Tooled metal saddle emblem
Copyright © Julie Olsen

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