So I was wondering what to blog about when a facebook chat with a new East African friend inspired this. She asked me what Cameroon was famous for and though the automatic response as per the popular joke is:
“Football, drinks and corruption- in that order”,
I really wanted to give her something to say wow! I mean I wanted to brag on my fellow paysans the way I imagine Kenyans do when saying “You know Obama right? I pass by his grandma’s place every day, she’s so motherly!” But I didn’t have any big time bragging details after all I don’t know if Eto’os grandma is even alive not to talk of where her house would be!
Anyways the chat session sent me on a joy ride to find us some braggerly details. I have a previous post on a few Cameroonians worth noting “We Need New Heroes” so this one comes up different in that; I’m not going to restrict myself to people- every who, where and what that could be traced to Cameroon and in my knowledge will be listed. Also, those people who are listed here are not necessarily all heroes/heroines, just all famous! Some of these are common knowledge but some I hope you can use sometime when you are in dire need of bragging about your homeland, you can say “You know….”
1. Paul Biya
Well to start with, His Excellency Paul Biya. I said I was going to write what we were famous for I never said it had to be a good thing right? Cameroon is famous for having the 3rd longest reigning president in Africa. If you are ever comparing “who has it worse” with another African (for those who don’t know this would be equivalent to MTV’s Yo’ Momma but rather than bashing each other’s moms you’ll be bashing each other’s countries, hmmm or your own). Well you could play this as a trump card “My president has been there so long, If you tell someone ‘I wish you Paul Biya’s reign’, you have wished them eternal life!” There you have it folks! Unless one of Mugabe’s people are in that group you will be crowned winner J
2. Manu Dibango
Now for something you can beat your chest over. While the Kenyan’s may “you know Obama…” at us, we can easily come back with “ You know The guy who sued Michael Jackson and Rihanna over music copyright? Yeah well he’s a Cameroonian and he used to live in my neighborhood” Well the last part might be an exaggeration but how would they know? Manu Dibango aka the Godfather of Makossa transcends borders and though all may currently lay claim to his music, he is proudly famously Cameroonian, thank God!
3. Roger Milla & Samuel Eto’o
Ok here come the footballers, I just grouped the most famous together. At any point in time, anywhere in the world, you have automatic bragging rights you the names of the “Legendary Football Striker” and the “World Best Paid Football Player” Milla and Eto’o. If you want to go overboard and risk coming across as obnoxious you may go on to list Alex Song, Patrick Mboma, and Thomas Nkono.
4. Therese Kuoh Moukouri
Who was the first woman to publish a novel in all of Francophone Africa? A Cameroonian!!!! All Camer feminist please beat your chests proud over our very own Therese Kuoh the feminist author who wrote essential encounters, the first novel to be written by a woman in francophone Africa. Another first for us to call our own!
5. Issa Hayatou
If you still need more big names to prove Cameroon is not a small country (as though the names change geographical borders), here is Issa. The Cameroonian former athlete and sports executive has been the president of the Confederation of African Football since 1987. In 2002, he ran for president of FIFA but was defeated by current president Sepp Blatter, (you don’t need to mention the defeat part lol!). He is still Vice president of FIFA World Soccer body.
Now to the average youth who likens popularity with Hollywood, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian etc the above Famous might not cut it. So this sectionis for all the teen and tweens in age or just in mind who need someone en vogue to brag about. To my young camers in the diasporas who are usually looked at with a queer eye after saying “I’m Cameroonian”, you can drop wide hints with the following braggerlylines: “Did you know David Guetta’s wife is Cameroonian?” Catherine Lobe, now Cathy Guetta was born on the 27th of March 1963 of a Cameroonian father and a French mother. She is an entrepreneur and actress. She got married to the international celebrity David Guetta in 1992 and has two kids Tim Elvis and Angie.
You could also mention world famous musicians; Charlotte Dipanda, and Richard Bona… And if that doesn’t get you far, there is also Josh Blue of the NBC’s Comedy Central and winner of Last Comic Standing (season 4) who proudly lists Cameroon as his place of birth… There is also Cameroonian supermodel, Marion Gako who has been on the cover of Vogue… And of course if you are really desperate to brag you can mention Hollywood personalities Quincy Jones and Blair Underwood who have supposedly traced their roots back to Cameroon. Well that’s enough names for a bonus right?
1. Mount Cameroon
Cameroon is geographically famous for having the highest point in West Africa; Mt. Cameroon. Which is also an active Volcano with the most recent explosion haven occurred 13years ago
2. Waza National Park
Waza which is located in the far north province of the country Is a site which also sets us on the map. The park is flooded with lions, elephants, giraffe, birdlife and antelope in and is said to have some of the richest fauna and flora found in Africa.
Cameroon is widely famous for Bakassi! It is our very own Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Peninsula that put this “peaceful” country which our late Bate Besong nicknamed the “Switzerland of Africa” into armed conflict with neighboring Nigeria is a sure place to name and get recognition… hmm just be careful when bragging about this around Nigerians oh! That scar is yet o fully heal.
OTHER FAMOUS MISCELLANEOUS
Cameroon is widely advertised as THE African Bilingual country, well we are officially bilingual and we can claim bragging rights there but don’t make the mistake of claiming we are the only African bilingual nation. Afterall here is Seychelles with English and French, Rwanda with English, French and Kinyarwanda, Equatorial Guinea with Spanish, Portuguese and French, Djibouti with Arabic and French as official their languages among others
2. World Cup
Cameroon can also be famously noted for haven been the first African national team to make it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 1990 . Be careful when bragging on this one though, you may be reminded of our national teams recent disgraces.
3. Lake Nyos
Though we have not been on CNN BBC and the like of recent (despite elections and our generally existence) we were once the center of media limelight and global speculation with the tragedy of Lake Nyos. When this crater-lake in the Northwest Region of Cameroon, suddenly emitted a large cloud of CO2, which suffocated1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby towns and villages in 1986, Cameroon had international attention and pity all at once. Cameroon is also noted for having two out of the only three such “Killer Lakes” world-wide known to explode when saturated with carbon dioxide in this way. The others are Lake Monoun, also in Cameroon, and Lake Kivuin Democratic Republic of Congo.
hmmm love this blog #Tox- virgile
So good! You help me rediscover much of my countries riches with humour!
I must say, I have learned a lot about Cameroon from this lol. Which is sad to say. But the way things are currently going on in our country does not motivate one to be enthusiastic sometimes. I had no idea about the suing of Michael Jackson and Rihanna. Not to talk of the actress who made it on the cover of vogue. Thanks Monique for sharing :-).
Thank you Tox!
Glad I could!
very educative informations.. I've learn alot from this. Thanks
Great. Cameroon is probably most unique for tobacco. I get my shock every time I land on American magazines and find the most expensive and prestigious cigars being touted as grown in Cameroon. Cameroon beats every other country, arguably, for the exquisite quality of its tobacco plant.
Very informative, thanks for sharing.
Thanks Monique for making me rediscover my country and making me more proud to be Cameroonian. Am so proud of our football and national parks. woow!! I didn't know of lake Manoum. Those are stuff that put us on the spot light. I love Cameroon.
Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. north Carolina author