Education in most Muslim communities in Cameroon has been of little interest. The case is even worst for the female folks exposed to marriage as early as the age of 13. It is only recently, with the help of Government, Non- governmental Organizations, NGO’s and Human Rights activists that the cascade has begun changing.
The National Times makes a glance through this piece into the surge of female journalists in the Cameroon media. We engaged these exceptional cases which are increasingly exuding hope for others of same faith. It is in line with this year’s “Eid Mubarak” celebrated on Tuesday August 21.
Most are thankful to Allah for the courage and zeal given them to pursue their dreams and career as journalists. This they say starts from acquiring education.
Female Muslim journalists have broken the myth that surrounds girl education. They still continue to excel in their careers as journalist. A good number of them hold key positions in the society and are seen pursuing their career in diverse professions.
Raihatou Sali, journalist at the state broadcaster CRTV averred that, “Cameroon respects freedom of religion and as such I work with no constrains, even though some people doubt my language and articulation as a journalist because of my Mbororo background. I had to work on it to prove them wrong”. Sali asserted.
Sali said, her family played a vital role in her educational life. Her parents believe in educating a girl child before marriage.
Her message remains “believing in one’s self and striving for the best should be a guiding factor to attain the level one desires in life”.
The 25 year old Mbororo lady who hails from the North West Region encourages female Muslims to go to school, get a job and become independent before marriage.
Raihanatou Sali is just one of the brilliant Muslim female journalists who are bent on excelling in their careers.
Ache Goy Goy, another female Muslim journalist at CRTV Maroua evoked the issue of time management and challenges associated with her profession.
“I had difficulty in managing prayer time and work time which always coincides, and also there are times I’m being sent to cover a story in the mosque where women are prohibited from entering in the Muslim faith. Worst still; working at night which is inevitable as a journalist. A Muslim girl is not supposed be out at night. These are great challenges” Ache stated.
According Ache, aged 20, ” passion should be the driving force in pursuing your career because it is the only way that breaks all the challenges faced.
The native of the Adamawa Region encourages all the female Muslims to go to school. “They should not see Islam as an obstacle. Education is the key to all doors as it will help to reduce illiteracy rate in that part of the country”. Ache opined
Besides Sali and Ache, dozens of Muslim female journalists are nascent across Cameroon. They are making their mark even in the private sector.
Increased literacy campaigns from government and the civil society indicates that, the media landscape and other professions in Cameroon will see the rise of more female Muslims in the next decades. At the moment, the narrative is changing with more Muslim parents enrolling their female kids in school.
Muslims make up over 25 percent of Cameroon’s estimated 24 million inhabitants. They are present in all communities in the nation. Yet they have a strong hold in the North West, West, Adamawa, North and Far North Regions.
The rate of literacy is believed to be at extremes in the Far North Region of the country. Organisations such as the International Crisis Group, ICG have identified the low level of school enrolment, poverty and high crime wave as pushing some to embrace radical jihadists.