Showing posts from February, 2016

Barbecuexpo - Cameroon-style art gathering

Contemporary visual art is not only to be found in the upper scale neighborhoods of Douala. Désiré Pemeyeke, alias Mboko Lagriffe, recently held an art gathering in an out of the way neighborhood – in fact, so out of the way that we got lost trying to find it, and I was with a person who knows Douala’s meandering streets by heart. The gathering is named Barbecuexpo : no wine and cheese for Cameroonians! Grilled fish was the featured attraction.  Eugénie, the smoothie expert The setting was humble – a courtyard with a dirt floor – but one large wall was covered with the creations of several local artists, including the host himself; and an assortment of fabric bags, mugs, clothing, a table made with old tires, and sandals; packaged hot sauce, and a fruit smoothie stand held by a young lady named Eugénie. Mind you, this is not a country where there are a lot of smoothies, even less with beet juice included! Despite the distance from “Main Street, Douala” – not that w

West Cameroon - festive traditional dress

Women dancing in celebration, wearing matching "kabas" The neighborhood chief speaking to the community In December, I was invited to a weekend of festivities in Bamendjou, West Cameroon. The occasion was the honoring of my friend, Jeanne Ntopa, to the title of Mafeu. This title appears to have been the title for the Queen Mother, but as I understood it, can now be given to women who have done much good to their community and thus are elevated to Queen Mother status. Among the Bamileke from the region called the Grasslands by the German colonialists, there are many (related) languages. Thus the language spoken in Bamendjou is only barely understood by our Mafeu's own spouse, who is from the Dschang area. I understood nothing at all on the first day; however, I could sense the joy and pride during the Mafeu's neighborhood community celebration. On the second day, the Bamendjou traditional chief, in this title since over 60 years, spoke in French as he ackno