Tuesday, December 15, 2009
"The Anglophone Character Myth"
My paternal and maternal families hold regal rights in Ntenako, Manyu Division where I was born. In those days Sam Egbe-Achang played drums for animals to dance for our entertainment, and deep in the village, Ekpe was played underneath the Ma-mbi-mbi brook. I am the son of the soil who rushed out under the groans of thunder and the strikes of lightning, and swam in crocodile infested rivers as they sat on the other side and watch us swim. Deep in the forest for hunting expedition, we have crossed path with the lion and the jaguar without fear. Listen to me: I speak not as a stranger for I was born a Manyang speaking Kenyang. I did not know bread and tea for breakfast; I knew Fufu and Eru. I did not sleep on a mattress bed; I slept on mebohs (mud bed). In the morning and afternoon I trekked to and fro Presbyterian Primary School Ntenako- Ndekwai. On Sunday morning with my paternal family we went to the Catholic Church with the catechist- my granddad: the son of the sky who could walk barefooted on broken bottles and comes out unhurt. In church, we spoke Pidgin and recited Latin. In school we spoke English but could get an extra help from Kenyang. So I am English speaking. Yes, I am an Anglophone! The Anglophones have been kidnapped by carpe diem but they have a scapegoat: Francophones.
Let me start by faulting the title. The term myth is used in its extended meaning to mean false belief. This belief progressively became a folktale that has been told to successive generations that the Anglophone was more righteous than the Francophone, and that the demise of the Anglophone was orchestrated by the Francophone. Children are born, and they grow up believing the illusion. Consequently it is a folktale about the Anglophone perfect Character than myth. Here is why the folktale is fictional.
The failure to tar the Kumba-Mamfe road is not the fault of the Francophones but the Anglophones who embezzled the money and deceived the former president that the road had been tarred. In most of our secondary schools and high schools, those principals taking bribe were and are Anglophones. One would argue that they have been corrupted by their peers in Cameroon but why were they not enlightened by the education they took from overseas? Some of the nurses who take bribe in hospitals have never lived in a Francophone area. Our courts are all messed up by Anglophone lawyers and judges.
The corporations headed by Anglophones did not do well. Most of them stole the money and ran abroad with some of them actually now living in the US; parading themselves as success stories. There are some reasons why people get influenced: society, religion, education, calamities, and the nature of man. Let us say that if the Anglophones were not influenced by the first four at least the last one could do the trick. Let us use the presupposition method to attain to some logic:
Every human being sins.
Anglophones are human beings.
Therefore, Anglophones sin.
If they are human beings born with sin then by virtue of their sinful nature they do not need the Francophone to indoctrinate them into sin. Indeed "evil communications corrupt good manners" but that is when there is good and evil. In the case of the Anglophones and Francophones, both were and are as corrupt as each other. There is no guarantee that an Anglophone will rule Cameroon better than a Francophone for good governance does not depend on the type of language you speak. Leaders are born and made into great leaders not by virtue of the language they speak, but by the wisdom they apply in judgment. If the Francophones are the problem why do Anglophone groups with no francophone not do better then? Why did institutions where only Anglophones were leading not fare better? If Anglophones are better than Francophones why do their marriages too fail just like those of Francophones? I do not see how somebody will be smarter or more righteous simply by the language they speak or because they assimilate the Anglo Saxon culture.
If that was the case then countries where only English is spoken or which inherited entirely the Anglo Saxon culture will be the very best in Africa. It took “enlightened despots” like Rawlings to set Ghana on the track and Nigeria though not having anything to do with Francophone culture is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and actually won the trophy for two years.
Human beings cannot be superior to others by virtue of the language they speak. Consequently, Anglophones cannot have a better character to Francophones. People should not be treated as a group; they should be treated as individuals. There are very bad Francophones like there are very bad Anglophones. There are very corrupt Francophones like there are very corrupt Anglophones. To solve this Anglophone and Francophone folktale we must abolish this thought pattern.
I grew up in Douala but went to secondary school in GSS Nguti and High school in CHS Bambui (in English speaking provinces or Anglophone provinces). In Douala I walked, ate and slept with my brotherly Francophones friends like Armand and Bayard. Armand was Beti and Bayard was Yabassi. We did our mischief together and did our exploits together. Never did they ever show any weakness because they were Francophones or never did I ever show any strength because I was Anglophone. I lived in Yaoundé for 9years and saw very bad Anglophones like I saw very bad francophones. The time has come for us to live as one and treat people as individuals for what they do and not by the language they speak. Until then, it is a folktale to think that Anglophones have a better character than Francophones.
Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk
“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk).
Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk).
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