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Where are the Women in the National Anthem: The Case of Cameroon

Even the Motto is Peace, Work, Fatherland. So, where were the Mothers of the Fathers?

Like any nation on this planet, its national anthem is symbolic. A national ritual representing the values and beliefs of that nation. The reason it is sung during most official and some informal occasions.

The Cameroon Anthem is however no exemption to these national rites. For it is sung countless time in one day, especially during school devotions, or in the military camps/ barracks or each moment the country’s flag is raised up. Asides from the college and military environment, it is also a must-sang song before any official and semi-official events would start or closed. Therefore, making it becomes a national mantra which is always incarnated.
Though Cameroon anthem exists in both French and English, it is worth noting that the content is different, except for the rhythm which is the same.

Personally I find the Cameroon national anthem more complicated than what it implies. Nonetheless, my main concern is not about its multifaceted versions but how it fosters equal representation and integration.
In my view, the Cameroon national anthem whether the French or English version privileges maleness; I am referring to the ascribed attributes of masculinity which represents ‘manhood’ to be - power, authority and influence, with the she being the subordinate.

For example, in both versions (French and English), the only mention of women is found in one of the last verses which is seldom sang. –and there it advocates to “Foster, for Mother Africa, a loyalty”. -
While, in the first verse of the anthem, the most or commonly sang rhyme glorifies maleness, as legendary visionaries and liberation fighters. And also on how no tongue can ever appreciate the greatness and wonders of their works. For Cameroonians and all will work to make his sons and men prosperous.

Thus the reason our national struggle for equal rights and equal opportunities for all, especially between women and men successes are slow, because the national mantra empowers maleness to maintain power.

What do you think?

Comments

Stella Paul's picture

True, but

Dear Zioh

Sometimes, touching upon itself can be a symbolic move forward. So, by spotting the absent women in the anthem you have kind of broke a taboo. Congrats on that and thanks for letting us know,as well as provoking us to look for similar emptiness elsewhere.

But, I would also go one step ahead and ask, what is the solution here? The songs were obviously not written today (for that matter, there are hundreds of other literature where women are missing), and since they were first written, the world has changed, at least its women have. Does that mean we demand a new national anthem? or an edited version?

Just trying to know your opinion.Because to come up with a solution adds more brilliance to highlighting a problem. And I know you have that in you to be a provider of a solution!

Love

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

zoneziwoh's picture

Absolutely!

Dear sister, you have just raised a very pertinent and curious point. I agree with you 100% that sometimes touching upon it is itself a way forward towards creating positive change. I also agree that it shouldn't be only talking with little or no actions. Personally, I will recommend a modification / revision of the anthem. acknowledging the basic fact that nothing is unchangeable, so too is the national anthem. It is true,these lyrics or words were written decades / century ago depending on the situation/ happening/ experience of that time. In fact, if you look at most African States' anthems, you will realize that 3/4 of them were all tuned towards colonialism and independence and not about the future for a ' contemporary' better/ secured Africa. That is to say, an Africa whose leaders are citizen-centric and not self-centered.

Africa today is not Africa in the 50s, 20s etc. The leaders of that time advocated for independence and the moment this was attained, there was the feeling of accomplishment. Which didn't foresee the today's challenges. (I stand to be corrected. This is just my observation and opinion). So, Like I said earlier on, change needs to occur. Africa (most African nations, Cameroon most particular) needs to evolve and embrace the current situation. and not stagnant with the ancient ideologies which to me is often not progressive.

Once more, thank you for your lovely contribution. In deed, this is just a start-up to a meaningful conversation that would be recorded from our reactions to this article.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

AchiengNas's picture

Dear Zoneziwoh, I am so proud

Dear Zoneziwoh,
I am so proud of you because I know you as a young woman passionate about women issues. Your passion is directly linked with the mission of WP, I can not wait to read about your vision and the many stories you have for us.
Good luck in this journey sister.

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

zoneziwoh's picture

Thank you:)

Thank you. we are into this all together. I appreciate your supportive kind words. May we all be blessed with the strength and wisdom to continue in representing women's issues at the highest level, any time.

Thank You!!!

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

usha kc's picture

Hi Ziwoh,, thank you for

Hi Ziwoh,, thank you for letting us know about . I appriciate your courage to raise such strong voice and good luck for your journey to change !!!

love

zoneziwoh's picture

great to know

I am pleased to know this article has been very knowledgeable. What an amazing way to appreciate cultural diversity.

Thank you dear sister. we are together.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

MaDube's picture

Great post

You young lady are a very perceptive individual. Indeed we reinforce negative perceptions through things that we never really take note of such as national anthems yet we could also foster positive mindsets and attitudes towards women and their value in society if we include these things. Great post. I miss you :-(

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