World Book Day is 4th March, and we want to share some of our suggestions for top reads by Cameroonian authors.
‘Your Madness, Not Mine: Stories of Cameroon’ by Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abbenyi
A collection of short stories focused on the lives of ordinary women in a postcolonial Cameroon. The stories explore the topics of female empowerment, patriarchal oppression and unemployment in a male-dominated world. The characters in these stories talk in English, French and local dialects and the book has been praised as giving a good introductory insight into the way Cameroonians talk.
Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abbeny is a Professor and a writer. She was born in the South West Province of Cameroon, grew up in the North West Province and moved to Canada and later the United States. She is the first Beba woman to be awarded two doctorates.
‘Prisoner Without a Crime’ by Albert Mukong
A memoir written by Albert Mukong, a Cameroonian dissident and human rights crusador who spent six years in prison under the rule of Ahmadou Ahidjo, the country’s first president. The memoir shares his experiences of some of Cameroon’s worst detention centres and gives an insight into the punishment and discipline that dissidents faced under Ahidjo’s rule.
Albert Mukong was a journalist and an opponent of the one-party system in Cameroon. He was Secretary General of the One Kamerun party.
'The Old Man and The Medal' by Ferdinand Oyono
Probably one of the most famous books from a Cameroonian author, The Old Man and the Medal is a satire on colonialism in Africa. Published in French in 1956, the novel follows the story of a village elder who is informed he will receive a medal from the French colonial government. The book opens discussion around colonial politics, class and race and also provides insights into Cameroon life and values.
Ferdinand Oyono was a Cameroonian diplomat and served as a minister in the government of Cameroon, as a Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1997 and a Minister of State for Culture from 1997 to 2007.
Foot Prints of Destiny by Azanwi Nchami
This is a historical novel set before World War I, which explores the stories of a group of young individuals in Africa in the pre-war period. The novel explores the possibilities and loves of youth and the experience of Africa’s youth in relation to the history of colonialism in particular. Azanwi Nchami was born in the North-West region of Cameroon and Foot Prints of Destiny is her only book.
'The Amputated Memory' by Werewere Liking
This song-novel explores the story of Halla Njokè and the preservation of her memories and how she remembers and forgets moments in her past in order to build a better future and reclaim her sense of self. The book focuses on the themes of a patriarchal society, colonial influences and Cameroonian traditions.
Werewere Liking is a writer, performer and playwright born in a small Cameroonian village and now living in the Côte d'Ivoire. She received a Prince Claus Award in 2000 for her contributions to culture and society and The Amputated Memory received the Noma Award in 2005.