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