Bilingualism Commission Wants Ban On The Words “Anglophone,” “Francophone”

Yaounde(National Times)-Cameroon’s National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism (NCPBM) has proposed to the government  to ban the words “Anglophone,” “Francophone” from  state vocabulary.

This is one of the proposals experts proffered Thursday April 25th  during  a colloquium staged in Yaounde seek ways of enhancing multiculturalism in the face of modernity. The session were held under the theme “ multiculturalism in Cameroon at Crossroads  between tradition and reality”

Experts aver that, words “Anglophone”, “Francophone” are foreign to Cameroon and are a source of the divide witnessed in the country today. To them Cameroon is a multicultural country with hundreds of ethnic groups and people should be identified first as Cameroonians and not tagging them with what they call foreign words.

They argued that, Cameroonians are not native speakers of English and French and rather, national languages should be taught and promoted in schools and other public places.

The Commission also proposed to the government the creation of a Ministry of Multiculturalism and Living Together so as to promote values of national unity and living together. Government was also advised to create a National Day of living together wherein the cultural values of Cameroon would be showcased and aspects of living together hailed.

Some of the members who are historians said the country’s history is not known by many, therefore emphasis should be on teaching the history of Cameroon as one people. However, the members carefully refrained from directly touching on the ongoing war or the form of state.

Since the Musonge Commission was set up in January 2017 to seek for solutions to end the Anglophone conflict, it is the first time it is organizing such a brainstorming exercise. However, majority of the resolutions of the Commission have ended in the cupboards of the institutions.

Last year, members of the Commission were in Bamenda were they got first hand testimonies of the ravaging effects of the war and how to manage it. However, the proposals which mostly represented the plight of the common man have never seen the light of the day even though the Chairman of the commission promised to present them to President Paul Biya.

Since the advent of the war in Anglophone Cameroon, the usage of words have been problematic. Immediately Atanga Nji was appointed Territorial Administration Minister in 2017, he banned the word “Anglophone,” “Francophone.” In an investigative paper last year National Times uncovered a similar situation with the state media as Journalists were also prohibited from using such words.

University Don and Historian, Willibroad Dze Ngwa in a chat, argued that those, rejecting the words are politicians who are suppressing the reality. He said the present day North West and South regions used to be British Southern Cameroons under Nigeria.

“Upon reunification with La Republique du Cameroun in 1961 it became known as West Cameroon while former La Republique was called East Cameroon. And after 1972, the two restive regions have become known as Anglophone regions which are different from other English speaking areas of Africa”.Ze Ngwa stated.

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