No-Internet Cameroon: Two months on

On the evening of 17th January 2017, two regions in Cameroon- one of which is my permanent domicile- were indefinitely cut off from internet access. Today marks two months. The government claims it "had to take drastic measures to curb the spread of false information and extremist messages". This could be debated. However collectively punishing over 4 million people by limiting their freedom of speech, hindering their business operations and so much more just because our government cannot stand bad things being said about them? That is not debatable. It is just wrong, short-sighted and dictatorial.  I have no doubts that if Cameroon were a lot more united. If my people had a stronger sense of social justice, this would not be happening. The other eight regions would not have taken it in stride that two were being silenced. Both Anglophones and Francophones make up the other eight regions. If we had even a tenth of self-respecting government administrators, this would not be…

What’s happening in Cameroon? Learning, I hope

On the 10th of October 2016, Lawyers in two out of ten regions in the country went on strike/industrial action, after giving the government fair warning in 2015. For two weeks they sat home and did nothing. No one paid them any mind, in fact the Minister of Justice insulted them. They took permission to hold street protests (confirm) and after successfully marching across Commercial Ave (with a crowd of people joining them out of curiosity) their union president gave a speech calling for the end of the protests, thanking his colleagues and police who he claimed had “behaved like police of America and Britain “. He praised them prematurely it seems, because by the time he finished the police aimed teargas at their group to disperse them.

Well two weeks after that incident teachers- the most populated occupational field in the nation- decided they would go on strike too. To support lawyers and to bring attention to their own issues with the government’s attempts at harmonization which t…

The Silent Majority

August of this year shall make five years of my blogging here on Musings. It was in August of 2012 during a trip to Nigeria for Chimamanda’s Farafina workshop that a friend of a friend, Martin Takha first introduced me to the world of blogging. Helping me with everything from the Gmail account to deciding the first template I used for a couple of years. As Cameroon’s ‘blogosphere’ has become crowded with a plethora of people aspiring to be Cameroon’s Linda Ikeji, I am proud to say I’ve stayed true to myself and the purpose of this blog. A dual purpose actually; to ensure I write regularly and to create platform through which I could share my views, defend my opinions and if possible tell a side of our story which may be otherwise missed as popular mediums echo a single often incomplete story.
I have promoted blogging through my youth advocacy as a means for young people to get their voices heard. Through BetterBreed Cameroon I have preached to young people on the necessity in telling …

Imagining My President's New Year Message- A Christmas Wish

I have been unable to do any real writing for weeks now. Between losing several friends and experiencing a peaceful strike turn into a brutal scary revolution, 2016 is leaving me drained. As I assess the year in these last days, I can only compare it to Sour Cream and Vinegar flavored Pringles. It has fed me but left a bad taste in my mouth.
My musings this month have ranged from existential questions (Is this life so fleeting, so unpredictable? What’s my Life Purpose again and what’s in it for me?) to political debates (How to best explain to outsiders and the fellow Cameroonians who don’t understand what the Anglophone problem is, Is this revolution on the right course etc.). Several pieces could be written from the thoughts this month has brought. But as I said, I am drained and I just want to think happy, hopeful thoughts.
Every year, on the 31st of December Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon for 34 years now, makes a New Year’s speech. In fact the first ‘Musings’ post of 2016 w…

Straight Outta My Bookshelf: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

I consider myself an avid reader, but I must guiltily confess that I read as means of escape and entertainment than I do for the purpose of learning. For this reason it took me a while to get into literary fiction in general and African literary fiction in particular. Literary fiction is great with its ‘classics’ like Bronte’s Jane Eyre or  Sembene's God’s Bits of Wood, but not what I’d call ‘fun, curl-up-on-the-couch reading’. Though I have read and appreciate aspects of the likes of Oyono’s The Old Man and the Medal and Ngugi’s Wizard of the Crow the books I have re-read, the books whose covers are worn from being carried around everywhere are those whose plots were structured to entertain me rather than pass on some satirical message. Pop-fiction is popular for a reason and up till a few years back I couldn’t say there was an African equivalent to the western pop-fiction I binged on as a young reader. Today the story is different, I can list a wide array of contemporary African…

An Ode to Those We've Lost

Last month I visited the United States briefly. After having spent almost seven years of my childhood there and returning home to Cameroon indefinitely, this trip was my first in fifteen years. Messages from friends spanned from "watch out for the police" to "buy me shoes" to " we hope you're coming back". One particular writer friend wrote me asking how long I was traveling for. When I told her I was just going to be out for just over a week, she had this to say: 

"Ah okay. I'd been worried that we've lost another πŸ˜œπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Not that I would have told you if you were moving. I'd just have said congratulations and all the best and stuff like that. Then wished I had all African Presidents on speed dial so I could berate Biya for losing [another] top brain"
It is this comment in particular and the experience of the trip which inspired this post. 

I traveled for a conference, my first academic conference. I was happy, proud of the achieveme…

Murdering Poverty: A review

Ever heard of the ‘development-aid debate’? Well unless you are a follower of politics, news, or a scholar of the humanities, you may not recognize the debate in so many words. While the average African citizen has most likely questioned the motives of international agencies dishing out aid and the method used in dishing out aid to developing countries which constitute most of the continent, the layman wouldn’t necessarily term it the ‘development aid debate’. Terminology aside, it is one and the same thing, and this debate is what Arrey E. Ntui delves into with his inaugural publication Murdering Poverty: How to fix aid. With this book, Ntui sets out to offer a simple, creative rendition of the development aid debate and initiatives for the turnaround of aid for the successful ‘murder of poverty. The author situates his book within the fields of development, development economics and international relations. However there is no definition of these concepts nor is there a guiding theor…