What Chapter of Life are You On?

The practice of giving themes to a year is not a new one, it has been customary for many people across the world for ages. In Cameroon however, declaring themes for a year is fairly recent and has been made popular by Pentecostal Churches.  Most often these themes are prosperity-centered: My Year of Double Portion, Year of Overflowing, My Year of Abrahamic Blessings… A few years back at New Years’ time, I wondered why they never think of themes like My Year of Hard-work, My Year of Discipline, My Year of Jacob-like Commitment, or even My Year of Sowing Seeds
Of course, it is easy to conclude on why the latter themes would be less popular.
Growing older- particularly the part about growing older which involves awareness of death- it’s frequency, suddenness and callousness-  will mature you and have you reflecting on all those plans you made and the aspirations you have. This is what made me to first take on the themed years. Growing older and the desire to make sense of every year, fe…

So This is How it Starts?

When you watch Hotel Rwanda, one of your first thoughts is: this story is incomplete. How did they get there, that early scene? How do a people get to a point where it is ok to order machetes for killing other human beings they had lived with, worked beside, bought from, and sold to?
In years to come, you will read of other countries – or courtesy of Half of a Yellow Sun- of countries that were. You will listen to other people, through documentaries and interviews. Like the weathered father on that Al-Jazeera documentary narrating how he now searches for his son, fearing the young man has returned to Somalia to join the Al Shabaab. You wonder how that man could stand by and allow his child be radicalized. Your own parents would have slapped sense into you. With each story, you read or listen to, you questioned how whole groups of people reach that point. You know your people have never known true peace but you still wonder how it becomes normal for people to carry such a heavy load of h…

Happy Birthday Musings!

On this very date, in the year 2012, Monique’s Musings was conceived in a hotel room in Nigeria. I was returning home via Calabar from the Farafina Trust Workshop and was convinced by a friend of a friend to blog my ‘think pieces’ (which I had self-published as a newsletter and sold for 100 francs each). This friend helped me use my Gmail account to setup on blogger, and I posted my first blog post on the 26th of August 2012.

Today, 60 blog-posts and tens of thousands of page views later I’m still sharing thoughts on here, and proud of how the challenge of producing something every month has evolved my writing as well as helped me engage with broad-minded readers and thinkers.

On the occasion of this anniversary, I want to say thank you to followers and readers for encouraging me to use this platform to express myself and present my point of view on all manner of things. In celebration of this anniversary, I looked up my blog stats on my most read blog posts.This month you’re invited t…

What I Wish I Could Tell my Younger Self About Depression & the Things I Still Need to learn.

In Cameroon, you can be depressed for months without your roommate or neighbor being aware. Most likely this is not something limited to Cameroon, depression- emotional and mental health or the lack thereof is often overlooked in many countries around the world. But I can only speak for mine.The truth is you can suffer from depression without knowing it yourself, you may know something is different, something is wrong, you feel off, but you do not know what it is unless you have been made aware of such a thing being 'a thing'. It is life, you’d say. There are phases like that, you'll be told. 
As I considered depression of recent, my own experiences with it and those of my friends I thought to do a post on what I wish I had known, what I am still to learn. I hope it helps someone, in some way.
I wish I could tell my teenage self that:  
1-When they say ‘this too shall pass’ they mean it. It may not feel like it but time does dull the pain. This is not to say you easily forge…

Nude Pics, Sex Tapes and the Things We’re Not Saying

Nude pics? Sex tapes? Revenge porn is trending in Cameroonian social media spaces.
For us, it’s a fairly new phenomenon. In a country where sex talk is still something to be done in the dark or behind closed doors, the ease with which sexually explicit content is being shared among young and old alike is breaking carefully built pretenses of our morality vis a vis western society. More than once, I have read comments like “these young people are following white people in doing such things, this is not Cameroonian”. As is often the case, whatever is deemed immoral is not traditionally ours, but exported. Ironical given how most of the morals we adhere to are elements of foreign culture and religion literally forced on us during colonialism.  
But never mind that, I am in no way attempting to normalize the trend of nude pics, sex tapes, and revenge porn. It is ‘abnormal’, it is unprecedented in our context and it is definitely not OK. However as conversations around this problematic trend…

Takeaways from ‘The Struggle’

I recently wrote a piece for This is Africa on the lessons my experience of living under the Internet ban left me with. You can read the piece here
The internet ban was just a fraction of this protest, however. This ‘struggle’ which has gone on for over seven months experience has marked me in more ways than I can express. I am sure it has marked others just as much if not more. As I noted takeaways from the internet ban I considered other lessons this experience in its entirety should have taught us collectively as Cameroonians. This experience; the loss, the violence, the rifts, the ignorance, and crookedness it has exposed should be at the very least a learning experience. It should above all else challenge us to address things we let slide before, contributing factors to our current predicament we often overlooked.
Consider our Police….
For one, I hope Cameroonians now see the need to focus on the way we recruit our police and jailers. I hope we now find ourselves discontented at th…

Pssss....I hope you know I'm a Christian

I've been downcast since Sunday. What started as self-disappointment over my inability to capture what I need to say properly in writing has evolved into a wave of misery over things I have yet to achieve, yet to overcome, or may not even be able to change.

These thoughts sent me to my vault of spoken word videos, where I go watch what really inspired people produce (and further my miserable mood -of course) as well as renew my faith in myself by listening to the gospel in my favorite form- poetry.

I replayed some of my favorite spoken word performances: "Does anybody know you're a Christian" by Karness and "Almost (Saved)" by Ezekiel Azonwu among others.
As I envied their words, rhythm, and confidence in performing. I thought of my faith and how most times it's all that keeps me going.
Although I have a plethora of friends who do not share my faith (or any for that matter), who's reasons and stance I can appreciate. I still can't consider not b…