I mentioned at the rally before the British Embassy why we are not Anglophones, but Southern Cameroonians. It seems I was not well understood by some, who felt excluded. Here is a simple way to understand the distinction I want us to make.
The words Anglophone and Francophone refer to language not to citizenship. Citizens of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa who speak English are Anglophones. However, they are not Cameroonians just because they speak English.
In the same way, citizens of Gabon, Chad, Senegal, are Francophones because they speak French, but by being Francophones does not make them Cameroonians.
Since 1961 and as part of the economic, social, political, judicial and cultural genocide Yaounde wants us to perpetrate on citizens of the former U.N. Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons, the regime has insisted on identifying us as Anglophones.
They want us to believe the lie that we are the one and the same people, and that we only happen to speak two different colonial languages.
They are fleeing from the truth and that truth is that we are two peoples. I am not the one saying so. We have been recognized as two different peoples by the African Union-accredited Court of African Peoples based in Banjul, The Gambia. The ruling that court issued recognized the second of the three elements we need to have a country.
We already have a territory (Southern Cameroons; not the North West and South West Regions); we have been recognized as a people (different from the people of La Republique); and the only thing left is for us to reconstitute our government which our first dictator and colonial master, Ahmadou Ahidjo, illegally toppled in a coup in 1972.
To determine who you are, here is some advice that helps:
If you, on the one hand, consider yourself a citizen of the country (territory East of the River Mungo) that was known as La Republique du Cameroun under French colonial rule or protectorate, then you are a Camerounian or a Camerounese.
On the other hand, if you consider yourself a citizen of the former Southern Cameroons (territory West of the River Mungo) which became independent on 1 October 1961, then you are a Southern Cameroonian.
If you want to know how well the regime has used this official lie to try to destroy the statehood of Southern Cameroons, consider three recent explanations:
1. Minister Atanga Nji, who speaks fluent French and no doubt owes allegiance to La Republique, wants to reduce our cause to language and, to that effect, recently claimed that there is no Anglophone Problem in Cameroon. Minister Nji is right. We have a Southern Cameroons Problem, not a language problem.
2. Trying to convince everyone that our cause is all about language, the regime in Yaounde paraded the Secretary General of OHADA at Unity Palace saying he had hand-delivered the English translation of the French Colonial Empire’s Treaty for Resolving Business Disputes (OHADA). Our problem is not language. It is colonial enslavement of the citizens of Southern Cameroons by La Republique du Cameroun.
3. Hoping to cash in on the official lie to dilute the statehood problem we raise, a Minister like Fame Ndongo, has been heard claiming on CRTV that one of his children who apparently speaks English fluently is an Anglophone. Yes, he is Anglophone, but he would have to support Southern Cameroons and fight colonization by La Republique to qualify as a citizen of Southern Cameroons. By doing the things he does, a Minister like Atanga Nji is basically telling us that he is a citizen of La Republique; not Southern Cameroons – although he is an Anglophone. Many or most Anglophones appointed by President Biya owe so much allegiance to him and La Republique that they must never be considered as representatives of Southern Cameroons at any talks.
Please, never forget that Yaounde has been very happy to insult Southern Cameroonians by calling us “Biafrais”, “Les Bamendas” or “Ennemis dans la maison”. They have also called on us to go to Nigeria, whose anthem they often accuse us of singing, if we don’t like the slave status they would like to reduce us to. The reason Yaounde has done this is because “purists” in the Yaounde regime consider us either less than deserving of full, equal citizenship of Cameroun – with a “U”, not “O”.
Like the slave masters of yore, the dictatorial and colonial regime of Yaounde is only acting offended today because the regime does not want to call us by the name we were given at our political birth. They don’t want to call us Southern Cameroonians.
No slave master has ever wanted to call their slaves by their names at birth, because that name carries the trappings of your birth and by using it you can claim and be proud of your heritage.
Like slaves carried across the Atlantic in slave ships and forced upon arrival in the USA to take the new name the slave master gives, the regime in Yaounde prefers we do not remember our name at birth. They don’t even want us to remember our origin.
As in the case of Kunta Kinte, made world renown by the star of the same name in the slave film series, Roots, the regime in Yaounde has given and called us the slave names of “Biafrais” or “Les Bamendas”, or “les Anglos”. They have called us everything, but who we are: Southern Cameroonians. They are terrified to know that we have not only reverted to our name at birth, but more importantly, that we have found our voice and won’t accept anything less than being considered equal.
We must #Resist the colonialism La Republique has imposed on us for 55 years already. Enough is enough. #SouthernCameroonsShallOvercome!
Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert (Yindo Toh)