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The Ultimate Guide To Cameroon’s Arts And Cultures

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Cameroon’s arts and culture is rich and varied. Cameroon has been colonized by many different European nations over the years, which makes it an interesting country. Cameroon cultures are one of the most diversed in Central Africa, with a population of more than 26 million people who speak more than 250 languages.

To help you get to know this vibrant and multicultural country better, I want to immerse you in the traditions and culture of Cameroon. Haven visited all the 10 regions in my country Cameroon, I hope you will gain a better understanding of what makes Cameroon such a peculiar place to visit by learning more about Cameroon cultures.

Geography and location

Cameroon is located on the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. Its area is 465,000 square kilometers (179,527 square miles). To the west and north lies Nigeria northeast is Chad and to the east lies Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and to the south lies Congo.

The climate in the jungles of the south and west is hot and humid, cooler in the grassland highland regions of the north-western and west provinces, and in the Sahel and savannah in the north it is warmer and drier. Located in the Center province is the capital, Yaoundé. It has experienced increased conflict between immigrant groups particularly the native Beti and the Bamiléké and rapid growth.

The main ethnic groups in Cameroon

  • The following tribes make up the Bantus group: Pygmies, Bakundu, Beti, Maka, Douala, Bassa.
  • The following tribes makes up the Semi-Bantu Group: Tikar, Gbaya, Bamileke, Bamoun.
  • The following tribes make up the Sudanese Group – Toupouri, Mafa, Moundang, Shoa Arab, Massa, Mousgoum and Fulani (Fula or Fulbe).
  • Baka (pygmies) pygmies, Fulani, Tikar and Bamileke are the dominant ethnic groups are the. Cameroonian culture originates from these different groups.


​​Cameroonian Languages

Cameroon has 230 languages. This includes 173 Niger-Congo languages, two Nilo-Saharan languages, and 55 Afro-asiatic languages. The latter group is divided into 142 Benue-Congo languages ​​(of which 130 are Bantu languages), 32 Adamawa-Ubangui languages, and one Western Atlantic language (Fulfulde).

French and English are official languages, a legacy of Cameroon's colonial past as a French and British colony from 1916-1960. In reality, very few Cameroonians speak English and French, in spite the nation’s aspirations to be bilingual. The government has established several bilingual schools so as to improve understanding of English and French.

Cameroon is a member of La Francophonie and Commonwealth of Nations. Pidgin, or Kamtok English, has been in many ways been Cameroon’s lingua franca since the 1880s. It is commonly used as a way to improve communication in this bilingual country with some 250 native dialects.

Kamtok has several variations depending on where it is being used: by Bororo cattle traders, in the south-west of the country, in the French-speaking parts of the country, in Catholic churches, and in the grass fields.

Architecture Urbanism and use of space

Major cities include limbe, Yaoundé (capital), Bafoussam, Maroua and Garoua, Nkongsamba (terminus of the railway through the southern colonial plantations) and Bamenda (capital of the western and north-western provinces), Kumba and Douala (maritime and industrial center). Several monuments of national unity are located in Yaounde.

Most small towns in rural areas and villages have a central market which, depending on the size, can host daily, bi-weekly or weekly markets. Most markets have separate sections for and men's products (bush meat and lifestock) and women's products (palm oil and agriculture).

Official buildings were often located along the central axis through smaller towns or near these markets. The architecture varies from one region to another. In grasslands and tropical rainforests, poto-poto (earth plaster on wood frame) and rectangular adobe buildings with thatched or tin roofs are common.

Traditional grassfields architecture was built with "bamboo" (raffia palm fronds spines); a rectangular or square building with sliding doors topped with a conical thatched roof. The king's door frame has intricate carvings. In the north, round mud buildings with thatched roofs makes up the traditional architecture.

Walled enclosures often include separate storerooms. Concrete tile structures, iron grillwork and corrugated iron roofs replaced other housing forms across the country. In public places like polygamous residential courtyards can be found most of daily life. Among races with strong beliefs in occult powers and malevolent, privacy is often suspected.


Major occupations in Cameroon - Cameroon jobs

Agriculture is the main occupation in Cameroon with a long history in culture of Cameroon. Many grain crops such as beans, corn, etc.; Fruit plants such as oranges, pineapples, plantains bananas; Vegetables to name a few. Cameroon is equally a big food exporter to Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Gabon, and the Central African Republic.

When asked what they do for a living, most Cameroonians answer that they “just managing", in the sense that they have no permanent job or source of income. Cameroonians have a reputation for hustlers and due to limited employment they tend not to be picky but very versatile in the job market. Cameroonians carry the hustling skill even beyond their borders.

Kinship, family and marriage

1. Marriage

First marriages among many ethnic groups have historically been arranged with varying veto power degrees by potential mates, but individual choices that emphasize marriages are increasingly common. While the Fulani are more endogamous, most of the southern groups prefer exogamous marriages. Though not always economically achievable Polygyny is a goal in many groups. For the companionship and mutual aid that a co-wife can provide, some women prefer small-scale polygyny.

2. Domestic unit

Throughout Cameroon domestic organizations vary. Rural polygamous unions consist of a male householder surrounded by his children and his wives. Women and children usually sleep in separate apartments within the complex. Child-rearing by a close relative (a form of childcare) is common in both urban and rural areas.

3. Inheritance

As do local inheritance rules, the kinship organizations vary widely. The inheritance of movable property is often separated from the inheritance land. Since marriage provides access to land, the inheritance of wives often served as a form of old-age insurance for childless women. Traditional titles and honors may be inherited among many group.

4. Kin group

Most northern groups are patrilineal for example the Fulani. The kinship organization of most Bamoun, Bamiléké and Grassfielders is described as dual lineage or patrilineal. A notable matrilineal exception is the Kom of the Grassfields. Most patrilineal are Forest Peoples.

Cameroonian Sport

The Cameroonians are world famous for their football success that began in 1982 when the indomitable Cameroonian Lions, in their first appearance, were knocked out of the 1982 FIFA World Cup unbeaten. Led by the legendary Roger Milla, in their second appearance in 1990, Cameroon then beat champions of the FIFA World Cup Argentina to reach the quarter-finals, setting a world record for an African football team.

For both men and women in Cameroon, soccer is an obsession. Football unites all corners of Cameroon even as male-dominated sport. Every day of the week there is a football game on the TV screen in the bar. Football is not the only Cameroonian sport evethough it is an integral part of Cameroonian culture.

Cameroon Etiquette

Compliments, the use of first names, and greetings are an important part of daily etiquette in most regions of Cameroon. Everyone should be greeted with a handshake or by name at meetings. An important symbol of trust and hospitality across the country is serving and receiving food.

Throughout Cameroon Respect is shown to the elderly. During an audience with a chief, the protocol of speaking and sitting is highly developed in areas with hierarchically organized cultures (Grassfields, Bamiléké, Banoun and Fulani).

Religions in Cameroonian

An active part of Cameroonian culture is religion. About 40% of Cameroon's population consist of Christianity, with all Christian religions actively represented, both Protestant and Catholic groups. The visits of current and former Popes to Cameroon show how Christianity is highly active in Cameroon.

20% of Cameroon's population is made up of Muslims. Cameroon's Islamic community is very active and strong throughout the country and even more active in the north. Indigenous religions or ancestral cults is practiced by about 40% of Cameroon's population, commonly known as traditional religions of African.

Secular Celebrations

Labor Day (May 1), National Day (May 20), Youth Day (February 11), and New Year's Day (January 1) include public parades attended by officials and partisans wearing commemorative clothing and dance groups as well as school children.

Cameroonian Arts

1. Cameroonian Fashion

Haven arned the nickname "mini-Africa", Cameroon has a diverse climate giving rise to the many variations of the country's traditional dress. The majority of the population in the northern region is Muslim. Therefore, head covering and free-flowing traditional clothing are very popular.

The south is forested and sees more rain; the people of this area wear richly decorated embroidered fabrics with many frills and details. Pagne is a Cameroonian traditional dress. These wrap-around garments are worn by women in a variety of ways, including carrying children, and are often heavily decorated or patterned.

Another traditional garment worn by women, the kabba which is a loose, flowing dress having wide sleeves. A traditional two-piece male garment in the tribal and southern regions of Cameroon is called quartre pouche. Baggy pants and shirts are made from matching fabrics and often have matching hats and square pockets.

2. Cameroonian Literature

Cameroonian literature also reflects the Cameroonian cultural diversity. Some of the most famous works are: works by world famous writers Mongo Beti and Bernard Fonlon, Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono, The Crown of Thorns by Linus Asong and The White Man of God by Kenjo Jumban and others.

3. Cameroon Foods

Cameroon is country of agriculture. Depending on which region of the country you are in you can get variety of Cameroonian food. The staple food is fufu or rice served in some kind of sauce with fish or meat. Grilled seasoned fish cooked over charcoal served with manioc sticks (feuilles), fried plantain chips are popular, most especially when dining out.

4. Cameroon Music

Be sure to pack your dancing shoes even when you'll want to leave your winter clothes behind because music is the Cameroonian lifeblood. Music is the lifeblood of Cameroonian culture; restaurants, Bars, offices, churches, hotels, whatever. You might think even a bus stop is a huge club as all genres of music shine in full swing.

It is not uncommon for pedestrians to start dancing in the streets, carried away by their latest hits. Cameroonian music varies among ethnic groups: the Botol Dance from the northwestern region of Bamenda; Bikutsi from the Yaoundé area led by Les Tetees Brulees; the Makossa from the Douala region, led by the legendary Manu Dibango, are the most famous and more.


5. Cameroon is equally famous for handmade and crafts creations

Cameroonians can create truly unique pieces of objects and arts as a multicultural country. From woodwork and sculpture to textiles and ceramics; the dedication and craftsmanship required to make these crafts are second to none other. By making these traditional crafts, the Cameroonian people not only keep their culture alive but also the visual identity of the country.

A huge part of Cameroon’s commercial, religious, and even decorative identity is made of Crafts, with different regions possessing unique styles and specializing in different crafts. Woodworking, carving, and beadwork is popular in the western region of Cameroon, while ceramics and pottery is popular in the northwestern part of the country.

The state of social and physical sciences

In the social and physical sciences, in addition to the university system, there are several institutions for applied and basic research. Many are funded and managed in coordination with research agencies from donor nations, NGOs or the United Nations.

Social and physical sciences are popular among students of the university. Due to insufficient resources of library, students formed their own organizations to create entirely student-run subject-specific libraries.

Bottom line: I hope this write up about the arts and cultures In Cameroon has given you a better idea of ​​this wonderful country and the lives the Cameroonian people.


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