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Prof Victor Ngoh is an Anglophone and Southern Cameroonian.




There has been much debate on social media and within the Cameroons on who is an Anglophone. This debate has been going on for years. Most people have attributed different definition of who is an Anglophone. The publisher of BaretaNews , Mark Bara will like to make its position known, albeit in details on who is an Anglophone. I think this should be the generally accepted view of an Anglophone in the Cameroons. It is very important to make this very clear because most persons as we learned have been impersonating Anglophones to get jobs. We are going to begin by making some basic terms known.

According to the basic definition in most dictionaries, this is how an Anglophone is defined “consisting of or belonging to an English-speaking population especially in a country where two or more languages are spoken “. This is the dictionary definition of an Anglophone. However, in other for us to understand who is an Anglophone in the Cameroons context, we must dish off the dictionary definition and embrace the political and socio-cultural definition to fit into the Cameroons context.

Let us do some recalling. It is important that before we move into the crux of the matter, we should understand that the present Cameroon is made up of two Cameroons. While I will spare the legality of the Union and historical background how they came together which off course is not important to this write-up, let us focus on the local and most basic history we all know. We know that on 11th February 1961, a country known as Southern Cameroons voted to gain independence by joining Cameroun or call it La Republique Du Cameroun (present day French Cameroun). On 1st January 1960, La Republique du Cameroun gained her independence from France. On 1st October 1961, Southern Cameroons gained her independence from Britain. We also know that both countries had a separate government, separate constitutions, culture , police force etc.

After the so-called reunification, Southern Cameroons was engulfed by La Republique du Cameroun and the state was finally abolished on 20th May 1972 after the referendum. It should be noted that before 1972, we had immigrants from La Republique du Cameroun who crossed over and settled in Southern Cameroons. They most often have lived there till now, they brought forth wonderful children. We are told that the constitution of Southern Cameroons at that period makes it legal for all those born in the land to be Southern Cameroonian by birth. It goes without saying that all those born in Southern Cameroons now North West and South West regions before 1972 are automatic Southern Cameroonians. So what about those born after 1972 when the federation was abolished and Cameroon became a unitary state with one single nationality? Are they Southern Cameroonians? This will be dealt with below.

So Who is an Anglophone?

Based on this historical narrative, an Anglophone in the Cameroons is NOT linked to language, it is not linked to culture or whether you study in English or not. An Anglophone is linked to a geographical region, it is ancestral. An Anglophone in this present Cameroon represent citizens from former Southern Cameroons and all those who were born there before 1972. Therefore, it goes without saying that, Cameroonians whose parents come either from North West, South West or both are Anglophones including those born there before 1972. Investigations have revealed that Prof Victor Julius Ngoh, Cameroon historian whose parents migrated from La Republique du Cameroun was born in Southern Cameroons before 1972 referendum. Considering that the laws of the land at that time recognizes all those born to be Southern Cameroonians by birth, we can logically conclude that Prof Victor Julius Ngoh is a Southern Cameroonian by birth and the same time a bonafide Anglophone. This is only true if we go by this logic and if the Constitution of Southern Cameroons expressly said so.

Therefore, to conclude, an Anglophone is not someone who speaks English as defined by the dictionary. An Anglophone is linked to the citizens from Former British Southern Cameroons now North West and South West, therefore, an Anglophone is a Cameroonian with ancestral links to either North West, South West or both or someone born in Southern Cameroons before 1972.

What about those born after 1972

It should be recalled that the state of Southern Cameroons or call it West Cameroon was dissolved after the fake 20th May Referendum. Like I said earlier in my opening statement, I do not wish to go into the legal arguments of the referendum. Let us remain with the present status quo so that you can understand where I am going to. So, after the 1972 referendum, Cameroon became the United Republic and in 1984, Paul Biya took the country back to Republic of Cameroon-the name La Republique originally had at independence. Activists argue that Cameroun by virtue of this act pulled out of the union with Southern Cameroons- that is another debate for another day.

So all those born in Southern Cameroons now North West and South West Regions to people who are not from these two regions (Francophones) after 1972 till date are NOT Anglophones whether they must have lived all their lives there or attended Anglophone education. This is so because, as earlier defined, Anglophones represent people from former British Southern Cameroons, that is those whose parents are either from NW or SW or those born before 1972. For those born after 1972, they cannot be called Anglophones because there is no state anymore in existence called Southern Cameroons ( it is under occupation), the laws of Southern Cameroons cannot apply anymore and so those born there cannot claim they are Anglophones unless it is by blood. This will be true if and only if the Southern Cameroons state is restored, nationality laws restored and such persons could then claimed their birthright as Southern Cameroonians or Anglophones. Therefore, these persons born in Anglophone Cameroon are English speaking Cameroonians but NOT Anglophones (please remember the context in which Anglophones have been defined and not by dictionary definition).

My dad who lived most of his life in French Cameroon, speaks and write perfect French, all Anglophones born in French Cameroon, speak and write perfect French-these persons are Anglophones but French Speaking Cameroonians. They are not Francophones and Francophones in French Cameroon will never refer to them as such.

I hope these explanations could settle some doubts about who is an Anglophone or not. It is not meant to breed division but to continue the political discuss that in the Cameroons, we have two set of persons- Anglophones and Francophones representing the two areas that supposedly came together in an “illegal” union.

I should also state that it is because of this confusion that groups who are seeking for the independence of Southern Cameroons came up with the name called AMBAZONIA. They did this to avoid the confusion of who is an Anglophone or not. To them, an Anglophone in Cameroon is anyone who speaks English, therefore , An Ambazonian will be a citizen from Southern Cameroons (Anglophone Cameroon) . This is where I disagree with them because the political realities on the grounds do not say so. If we go by the logic that an Anglophone is anyone who speaks English or studied in English, then we as a people are lost because most issue will be given to these persons who are not from NW or SW but because they speak English. We see that already and just last week, the GM of CAMAIRCO confirmed that most people who were employed by the company as Anglophones were actually not from NW or SW region. They impersonated themselves as Anglophones. I am of the opinion that, it is not a wise thing to use Ambazonia in the current struggle. Should Southern Cameroons regained her lost independence, the people shall choose what name befits them.

La Republique Postal Stamp

To conclude, prolific Cameroon writer comrade Dibussi Tande summarises this write up with a picture (attached) and a text. Hear him:

” Here is an official stamp commemorating the independence of French Cameroun or “La Republique du Cameroun” on January 1, 1960. Look closely at the map to see what is missing. If you, your parents, grandparents, etc., were not citizens of the geographical territory depicted on this map in 1960 (look carefully!), but are today part of what is known as the Republic of Cameroon, then you are “Anglophone” or a citizen of the territory formerly known as Southern Cameroons/West Cameroon. However, if you, your parents, etc., were citizens of this strangely shaped country (without the “hunchback”) in 1960, then you’re Francophone.
See also article 45 of Law No. 1968-LF-3 of the 11th June 1968 to set up the Cameroon Nationality Code for further clarification who is a West Cameroonian/Anglophone and who is an East Cameroonian/Francophone. BTW, a country is termed Anglophone or Francophone not because every single citizen in that country can speak or understand English or French, but because these languages have been adopted as official languages – thus, not every Nigerian speaks English, similarly not every Gabonese speaks French…”

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