When the past becomes the future : aspects of cultural revitalization among the Gbaya in Bertoua, East-Cameroon
ForfatterNdanga, Dieudonné Ngnantare
This work is done in a context where groups and associations for culture revitalization flourish in Cameroon. By focussing on the actors, means and challenges of culture revival, I aim to describe the outcome of a process of de-tribalisation during which ethnic groups have had to relinquish their traditions in order to subscribe to modernisation as prescribed by states government and through pressure from western powers. The phenomenon studied here, the cultural revitalisation of the Gbaya in the group called the Sirta, works against this trend; tradition is made relevant and used in the modern context as a tool for respectability, social element for identity reconstruction and ethnic cohesion. By using different research techniques (participant observation, filming and interviewing) and combining historical background and empirical data, this study deals with the struggle for adaptation to a changing environment and the (re) invention of tradition. My thesis also highlights hindrances pertained in that process related to the scattering of knowledge and energy, misunderstanding and difference in life and educational background. By placing this debate in the global context of encounters between civilizations, this thesis reveals dilemmas that occur in people’s lives, choices that are to be made, and mainly the state of confusion in which members of ethnic groups find themselves in Africa and more specifically in Cameroon. To conclude, the most important thing to discuss appears to be the dynamism and the fluctuation of culture that are demonstrated through revival, invention and manipulation of tradition. These are finally presented as results of historical confrontations and social challenges.
The thesis is accompanied by a film, which is not available in Munin
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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