2. This month also holds World Book Day slated internationally for April 23rd. The Anglophone Cameroon Writers Association of which I am a part of is trying to get this day more recognition in the country. In the Southwest region we have a reading competition for youth to encourage them to read beyond the narrow scope of their school required texts. A lot of people say we do not have the reading culture in Cameroon and leave it at that. Well that culture like all forms of culture does not fall from a tree or get declared by a prophet. It is grown are bred over time. When you rear a child to think the only reason they should be reading a book is to ward off failure in an upcoming exam, you stump all possibility of a “reading culture”. Moreover when you force children to read a particular genre you destroy the genuine inquisitiveness and curiosity- prerequisites to learning. There is no “bad book” Let them choose what they want to read, magazines, newspapers and even comic books all of these are forms of literature. And for God sakes just because it’s not Shakespeare or Hemingway or Soyinka doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.
3. Still on the topic of books. A friend of mine asked recently what kind of books we have in Cameroon when I told her about the book drought I usually suffer from. I told her it is easy to find Harlequins, Mills and Boons, Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Daniel Steele and other pop fiction. With some added effort you may find a wider range of books such as Harry Potter, Alice In Wonderland, 1984, Alice Walker’s books, and Bill Clintons My Life. However the most popular and most accessible books would be the self help books. You can see a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad pass by you as you sit in a bus traveling to Yaoundé. You will see Stormie Omartian’s Power of a Praying… collection every time you walk by a book shop. When you see a bookshop know that either it has school texts or Christian devotionals and self help books. From Creflo Dollar to Pastor Adebayo EVERYONE AND THEIR FATHER HAS ADVICE TO GIVE!!!
4. In similar thought, have you noticed how most of these self helps are geared towards either garnering prosperity for men or getting/keeping a husband/home for women? When you step outside of church you see them strewn on the floor… 21 Things Every Single Women Should Know. Finding Your Soulmate, Power Of A Praying Woman/Wife, What Men Wish Women Knew, How to be the IDEAL Woman etc. One hardly ever sees books guiding men n relationships and considering that the female gender has been socialized from childhood on how to be a “lady”, care and nurture her other half you would think the books would be geared more towards those who need the advice- MEN!
5. And then I got to thinking what would we write in a self help book for men on relationships? The list became too long in my mind but mostly there are 4 categories