Friday, November 18

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


With a Motto : Peace, Work, Fatherland. What is said about 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. A song that is sang 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 singing it on 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 whether or not  it fosters equal representation and integration.

In my view, the Cameroon national anthem; the French or English version privileges maleness. In this light, 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 very first verses in the anthem, it begins by glorifying maleness, as the country's legendary visionaries, freedom fighters, and how no tongue can ever appreciate the greatness and wonders of their works. And Cameroonians and all will work to make these sons and men prosperous.

The National Anthem, a National Mantra that empowers Maleness to maintain Power
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.