While male versions of early encounters with European education abound, her autobiographical novella, Ngonda is the first by a woman.
Marie-Claire Matip offers a view of the challenges she faced because of school attendance: the difficult adaptation to the French colonial school, the aspirations it created and the resulting conflicts with traditions that governed the lives of her mother and grandmothers before her. Joseph Owono offered a forceful protest against the harm caused to women through polygamy, especially bride-price and child marriage, in his feminist novel Tante Bella The novels that followed were neither anticolonial nor overtly political; they continued to draw attention to the situation of women in this period of cultural change: their lack of autonomy, their thirst for emancipation and their adaptation to modernity.
The first of a long line of Cameroonian novels set abroad, in Bebey's novel the Accra market women rise up against the corruption of the newly independent government. With greater access to education, writing offered women a means to analyze, express and respond to the pressures that limited their agency. Her influential father-like those of Matip and Ahiga-Ahanda below who were paramount chiefs-could not fail to see the value of education for his daughter. Jacques Kuoh-Moukoury had risen through the ranks from colonial clerk to ambassador to France and penned an autobiographical novel, Doigts noirs Completed a few years after Matip's novella, it did not appear until Despite her westernization and resulting autonomy, Kuoh Moukoury's protagonist in Rencontres essentielles , , is nonetheless overshadowed by her sterility and adherence to the traditional belief that only motherhood will make her wholly a woman; this and other handicaps destroy her marriage.
Her novel is also about a young western-educated couple who, upon their return from abroad, experience reverse cultural shock because the educated status of the protagonist's wife is not recognized, while both clash with the ruthless competition and corruption in the capital. La Brise du jour , Lydie Dooh-Bunya's only novel, is an autobiographical coming of age story that focuses on the inner conflict created by precepts of imported religion Protestantism and the romantic love the adolescent narrator feels for her cousin; at the same time it evokes social problems women of all ages face because of the tyranny of male domination see Ekotto.
L'Oiseau en cage is a coming of age story that illustrates the importance of female solidarity in combatting patriarchy. Like the protagonist in Ngonda, the novella written by Marie-Claire Matip, in this novel, Ekobo is one of the rare girls who attend school. Earning top grades, she begins to believe in her own value and agency only to have her growing freedom curtailed by her father who uses her educated status to secure a good bride price. She escapes the 'cage' of marriage through her friendship with other women, a crucial step that leads towards her emancipation.
Like her, Dang and the other protagonists in Vies de femmes are victimized or abandoned by the men in their lives see Nfah-Abbenyi At this time the growth and development of literary criticism and analysis by university-trained Cameroonian women began to develop alongside increased creative writing by women. A publisher of their own. However, German funding to CLE specifically for fiction writing made publication accessible to local writers; due to political unrest in Cameroon, cautious editorial choices and writers' self-censorship, a limited range of topics were addressed in literary works.
However, within ten years of its founding CLE had become the largest publisher in French on the African continent, with titles by 60 authors, 40 of whom were Cameroonian Schaaf 86, Philombe also founded the writers' union, APEC, was its president for twenty years, and wrote the first Cameroonian history of his country's literature, Le Livre camerounais et ses auteurs , I Philombe's published works dealt with the oppression of women, love relationships, bride-price and marriage, religious conflicts and superstitious beliefs in addition to the conflicts between modern and traditional lifestyles and the transition from one colonizer to the next.
However two of Philombe's works dealing with political oppression remained unpublished; when those manuscripts were discovered he was incriminated as a subversive and incarcerated several times between and They were responding to the political climate while at the same time attempting to situate themselves within the context of independence. Today it publishes over a dozen titles per year, from creative works to scholarly publications from a wide range of authors see "Paul Dakeyo".
By the s mastery of French was no longer a privilege of the educated few, but part of the cultural fabric of Cameroon. With this development, Cameroonian literature became more autonomous, empowering writers to deal with a wide array of topics and genres ranging from murder mysteries, and politically sensitive portrayals of Cameroon's corrupt political class and its ruthless pursuit of power, to patriarchy's violence against women; with-in between-the search for a coherent post-colonial identity and the adoption of new narrative strategies.
Also residing in Paris, Yodi Karone Alain Ndongo Ndiye, , based his novel Le Bal des Caimans on a trial that took place during the early years of the Ahidjo regime; in it he portrays the nightmarish world of the postcolonial government's prisons and questions a justice system that condemns both of his protagonists, the rebel and the priest, who had combatted poverty and despair, each in his own way; the rebel is executed, the priest imprisoned for life Bishop Les Chauves-souris marked Nanga as a critic of the excesses and corruption of Cameroonian society: its protagonist Robert Bilanga, values money and power above all else; like those who inhabit the capital, he is rapacious and ruthless in his efforts to get ahead.
During this decade groundbreaking female perspectives were added to the literature of francophone Cameroon.
She is perhaps the most productive and controversial of the Cameroonians abroad; winning prestigious literary prizes, accused of plagiarism, long ignored or undervalued by critics at home, she has amassed a considerable corpus, having published a novel nearly every two years since Ngolwa.
Using graphic language to depict sexual and psychological violence inflicted on her female protagonists, her use of narrative voice underscored the hopelessness of life in poverty for young marginalized women who yearn for love and a better life, but who are valued by their families solely for their commercial value bride-price, prostitution. Writing from the Ivory Coast where she has lived since , Werewere Liking - was largely unschooled in western education but grounded in her own Bassa culture.
A multi-talented artist, with an international reputation she founded the artistic cultural center Village Ki-Yi M'Bock where she is playwright-director. LAmour-cent-vies is also an experimental text that uses a blend of elements from traditional epics eg. Soundjata and the life of contemporary heroes Ruben Um Nyobe to build a powerful female figure, the grandmother Madjo, who-through ritual-saves her weak and spineless grandson, a figure of contemporary Cameroon, on the verge of committing suicide.
He goes on to become a successful, respected artist.
Cameroun mon pays. Eboussi Boulaga , F. Abiabag, Issa. Observations from Cameroon. I take a look at myself at the barber's hard by and wonder. Rosello , M.
At the close of the 's Liking, and many of the above writers continued to hone their writing; whether published abroad or at home, new writers joined their ranks; their works further enriched and diversified the literature of Cameroon. European colonization-first German, then French and British-obliged Cameroo-nians to submit to many changes; with the appropriation of their land, and their oral traditions largely dismissed, there was little choice but to adapt to the written means of expression imposed by their colonizers. Added to this, the multiplicity of Protestant and Catholic missionary endeavors, British, Swiss, German, French, American-each with its own cultural contribution and bias-could not fail to add new elements to Cameroon's ethnic cultural mix, while at the same time provoking skepticism to pronouncements and ideas from abroad.
Christianity, Negritude or French influence, Cameroonian writers deftly questioned values whether Western or Cameroonian, old or new, as they sought to demystify the obstacles to progress and autonomy. The novels of the s supplanted the earlier collections of folk tales and pro-French poetry, revealing for the first time the untenable nature of Cameroon's colonial universe; writers of the s and s critiqued patriarchy, neocolonialism, and corruption, while they experimented with form and some began living abroad. Women writers soon played a key role in shaping Cameroon's literature by questioning the practices that restrict not only women's lives and potential but also those of all Cameroonians.
And finally, writers lost the reverence for the French language that once characterized their elders, imparting an unmistakably Cameroonian flavor to contemporary fiction. For a discussion by Cameroonian scholars of Cameroonian literature and essays by writers both at home and abroad, see the volume Critical Perspectives on Cameroon Writing edited by Hansel Ndumbe Eyoh, Albert Azeyeh and Nalova Lyonga.
Among the Bassa the specialist is the Hilun, or Hilun player and known as the Masomandala in the south coastal area Kouo In the Colonial Institute was founded in Hamburg Rudin Lebensbereicht eines Afrikaners. For a different view of literary criticism in Cameroon, see Kom Its aim was to produce Christian literature Schaaf. For an analysis of this phenomenon see Jules-Rosette.
Njami is a noted critic and curator of art. For a discussion about Cameroonian writers who live in Paris, see Cazenave. Mongo Beti. Ackad, Josette. Le Roman Camerounais et la critique. Paris: Silex Adotevi, Stanislas. Libreville: Lion, Biloa, Edmond. Berne: Peter Lang, Bishop, Stephen L.
Legal Oppositional Narrative. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, Bjornson, Richard.
Bloomington: Indiana U P, Le Roman camerounais et ses discours. Paris: Nouvelles du Sud, Cazenave, Odile.
Coulon, Virginia. Dehon, Claire. Diabate, Naminata. Dongmo, Christophe. Dooh-Bunya, Lydie. La Brise du jour. Ekotto, Frieda. Stanford: Stanford U P , Esuruoso, Asoka and Philipp Khabo Koepsell, eds. Arriving in the Future: Stories of Home and Exile.
Berlin: GmbH, Critical Perspectives on Cameroon Writing. Fandio, Pierre. Paris: L'Harmattan, Ikelle Matiba, Jean. Adler und Lillie in Kamerun. Joseph, George. London: Longman, , Albert S.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins, , Jules-Rosette, Benetta. Champaign, IL: Univ.