2018 FENAC. Cameroon’s Cultural Diversity at the Service of National Unity

Over 3, 000 participants from the country’s 58 divisions are gathered in Bertoua for the 9th edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture whose inaugural ribbon was cut on Monday by the Personal Representative of the Head of State, Prime Minister Philemon Yang. 

Shawn-Nathan EPANG

Bertoua, the capital city of the East Region is vibrating to the rhythm of Cameroonian culture as well over 3,000 men and women of arts and culture are gathered for the 9th edition of Cameroon’s largest cultural festival, FENAC. There are over 200 cultural groups from the ten regions of the country that have converged irrespective of their political or cultural differences, to celebrate Cameroon’s cultural diversity which is at the service of national unity and living together cherished and promoted by the President of the Republic, Paul Biya.

This, without mincing words, explains the creation of the National Festival of Arts and Culture, FENAC, through a Presidential Decree signed by President Paul Biya on April 8, 1991. 27 years down the lane, the event is even more relevant in the present context when some groups of armed terrorists (Boko Haram) are menacing the peaceful co-existence of the population of the Far North Region and most recently, armed secessionist groups in the North West and South West Regions who are threating the unity and indivisibility nature of the country.

Cameroonians from all the ten regions are showcasing the country’s rich cultural diversity in arts work, cultural dances, traditional meals, traditional dressing, fashion parade, drama, plastic arts, comedy, and movie projections amongst others. The fiesta which will last for two weeks is thus a veritable platform for Cameroonians to showcase their ability to live together and their stance for one and indivisible Cameroon.  This is why, notions magnified during the opening ceremony, in particular, through the procession of the cultural caravan demonstrated living-together as various groups made up of representatives of the regions and cultural areas of the whole country filed past the ceremonial ground. The 9th edition of FENAC is held in a particular socio-political context marked by announced Presidential election on October 7 as well as socio-political upheavals in the English-speaking regions of the country. The latter, has led to the creation by the Head of State of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism as a panacea to promote peace and dialogue during crisis as such.

The Festival is thus an ideal platform for brewing, promoting positive values ​​among Cameroonians of various walks of life. Also, ten doves were released during the opening ceremony in the sky of Bertoua to symbolize peace. “The nobility of culture is that it is a factor of inclusion and social cohesion. A vector of community mobilization around ideals of fraternity, solidarity and dialogue. Indeed, artists have their part to play in consolidating our trajectory towards building a more united, stable and prosperous Cameroon, “Minister of Arts and Culture Pr. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi pointed out during his address.

By adding a delegation of Central African refugees, it is about 3000 people who are in Bertoua for a two-week show that will also feature scenic shows, fairs and exhibitions, introductory workshops in cultural professions, scientific conferences, etc. all at the service of national unity and living together.

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