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  1. 1. THE CULTURE OF CAMEROON Presented By Boyd B., Marcella G., Truc-Linh H., Erica H
  2. 2. THE CAMEROONIANS The goal of this presentation is how to communication with the Cameroonians by understanding their traditions in clothing and what role men and women plays in Cameroon.
  3. 3. Rituals (Formal and informal) ByBoyd Brathwaite
  4. 4. Cameroon is situated by the Gulf of Guineaon the west coast of Africa. Its area is179,527 square miles (465,000 squarekilometers). Nigeria lies to the west, Chadand the Central African Republic to theeast, and the Peoples Republic of Congo,Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon to thesouth. The climate is hot and humid in theforested south and west, cooler in thehighland Grassfields region of the Westand Northwest provinces, and hotter anddrier in the savanna and sahel of the north.The capital, Yaoundé, is in the Centerprovince,
  5. 5. The beginning of traditions and rituals: (Informal)but Cameroon has distinctregional cultural, religious, andpolitical traditions as well asethnic variety. The division of thecountry into British- and French-ruled League of Nationsmandates after World War Icreated Anglophone andFrancophone regions. TheEnglish-speaking region isdivided into two cultural regions.The Grass fields peoples of theNorthwest Province consist ofnearly one hundred chiefdomseach ruled by a divine king (fon).
  6. 6. Now the peoplesof the Southwestprovince had lesshierarchicalsystems ofgovernance andsocialorganization. wholive along theslopes of MountCameroon. TheBakweri practicerites of healing andinitiation inassociations ofspirit mediums thatdistinguishbetween male andfemale roles andbetween villageand bush.
  7. 7. the French-speaking area, the largely the northern region hasMuslim north is culturally distinct from the been culturally dominatedlargely Christian and animist south. The by the Fulani. Urbannorthern area includes three provinces: Fulani are renowned asAdamoua, North, and Extreme North. clerics in the SunniSince the jihad led by an Islamic cleric in branch of Islam,1804,
  8. 8. most of the southern peoples areChristian or engage in traditional, animistreligious practices; but ritual communicationextends beyond collective religiousexpression. It is an intrinsic part of everydayinteractions, ceremonies, theatricalperformances, shamanic chants, politicaldemonstrations which involves music anddance. Almost all occasions and events areaccompanied by music. Generallytransmitted orally, the general For forest hunter groups like Baka,accompaniments are claps or stomping Medzan and Kola, death is the mostfeet. In traditional performances, there is a important ceremony and they believechorus baking up a soloist, accompanied by that forest spirits participate in deathtraditional instruments like ceremonies by dancing under a ruffiabells, drums, talking mask.drums, flutes, horns, rattles, scrapers, whistles, xylophones and stringed instruments allof which varies from one group to another.In certain cases performers sing bythemselves only with a harp-like instrument.
  9. 9. Masked dancers, some on stilts, whirl about at village festivals. Wooden flutes and xylophones made from gourds fill the air with music. As a story recites ancient tale, small audience gathers around. People from all of Cameroon’s ethnic A man sharing a story with his son groups take part in these activities. Pygmies still hunt and grow crops in the southern rain forest. Fulani herd cattle in the north, and many Cameroonians work in oil and shipping industries. These are just a few examples of the variety of life in Cameroon. Cameroon is “Africa in Miniature” (qtd. in Kummer 9).
  10. 10. * As a sign of respect men often lower their head and avert their eyes whengreeting someone superior to them in age or position.* Some Muslims will not shake hands across genders.* Since this is a hierarchical society, elders are greeted first.* Women tend not to look the other person in the eye even if it is anotherwoman.* Greetings should never be rushed. It is important to take time to inquire aboutthe person’s family and other matters of general interest during the greetingprocess.Gift Giving Etiquette* If you are invited to a Cameroonian’s home, bring fruit, whiskey, or wine to thehost.* Do not bring alcohol if the host is Muslim.* A small gift for the children is always a nice touch. School materials or sweetsare standard.* Gifts are not always opened when received.* Gifts are given with two hands or the right hand only; never the left hand.
  11. 11. Initiation dance ceremony Eating with right handIn traditional homes, men eat first, then the women, and finally the children. In eachof these groups, the oldest are serve first. Hand washing is an important ritualbefore the meal because food is eat with their fingers. Most food is served from acommon bowl.This is a practice that is found in many cultures around the world (Kummer 119).Meeting and Greeting* Cameroonian greetings vary between the Francophone and Anglophone areas.* In both areas, men shake hands with each other.* In the Francophone south, close friends may embrace while brushing cheeks andkissing the air along with a handshake.* In the Anglophone north, close friends have a unique handshake in which, asthey pull their hands back they snap the other person’s middle finger with their
  12. 12. Cameroon’s wide variety of ethnic groups,languages, religions, climates, andvegetation zones has resulted in manyways of life. Cameroonians eat a greatnumber of different foods, live in manytypes of homes, and wear distinctive,colorful clothing. Although they celebratenumerous traditional festivals, theirnational independence has added new holidays (Kummer 119). Traditions and Rituals: (Formal) Ethnic groups and villages throughout Cameroon have special celebrations. Each November, a famous horse racing festival takes place in Kumbo, a grasslands town of the Banso people. Canoe racing takes place in Limbe’s costal waters between December and March. During the racing season, people from nearby villages perform traditional music and dances onshore. Wrestling tournament are part of the traditional Bakweri culture. They take place in Fako in the dry season in village, division, and subdivision levels. Two national holidays are celebrated with parades, speeches, and other festivities throughout Cameroon (Kummer 126-127).
  13. 13. On February 11, the nation celebrates Youth Day. Cameroonian youth in theirschools uniforms parade down the nation’s cities streets. One year the paradein Yaounde lasted five hours.On May 20, the nation now celebrates National Day. The paredes andspeeches are held to promote the feeling of national unity (kummer 126-127). Another formal event in Cameroon is the presidential election. The president is the head of the executive branch, as well as the head of state. The president must be born in Cameroon and be at least thirty five years old. The president is directly elected by all voters in the entire nation (Kummer 59).
  14. 14. According to the new constitution, the term of office is seven years, and thepresident can be reelected only once. The president holds most of the politicaland governmental power in Cameroon. He appoints the prime minister and hasapproval of all the ministers in the Council of Ministers. There are almost thirtyministries that take care of everything in the country from agriculture to youthand sports. The president decides what the ministers do and how long theymay do it (Kummer 59-60). Culture is a learned system of knowledge, behavior, attitudes, belief, values, and norms that is shared by group of people from one generation to the next. Identifying what a given group of people values or appreciates can give us insight into the behavior of an individual raised within that culture. Although there are considerable differences among the world’s cultural values. Some researchers believe that the values of individualism and collectivism are the most important values of any culture—they determine the essential nature of every other facet of how people behave (Beebe 150-154). It is this that we see in Cameroon.
  15. 15. GENDER ROLES  Overview- Cameroon is a very diverse place. Lonely Planet’s Book Africa: 30th Anniversary Edition (2007) notes that Cameroon is “one of the most culturally diverse countries on the continent, its people include ancient tribal kingdoms, Muslim pastoralists and forest-dwelling pygmies” (p. 276)- That being said the gender roles described are a general impression of the culture. Some parts of Cameroon may have more or less gender inequalities. Communication will vary depending on the ethnic group.
  16. 16. MEN & WOMEN Men Women Responsible for money/assets  Responsible for home/children- land ownership (agricultural) -cooking- main job holder -cleaning -care-giving/child raising Owner of all assets  May have part-time job along with household duties More dominant than women  Likely doesn’t own assets Controlling  Less dominant than men Strong ideas on women’s role in society  Controlled
  17. 17. INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE What is intercultural communication competence? - According to the book The Blue Book of Communication Studies it is “the ability to adapt one’s behavior toward another person in ways that are appropriate to the other person’s culture” ( Beebe, et al., 2011). How can we adapt to Cameroon’s culture in relation to gender roles? - An American may have trouble understanding the gender inequality and roles of men and women in Cameroon.- When immersed in Cameroonian culture an individual may have to change the way they communicate and realize that women won’t be as highly regarded as men. For example, according to the site Canadian site Centre for Intercultural Learning (2009), in a work environment “men in managerial positions are likely be respected more than women”( Gender section, para. 2).
  18. 18. INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE- CONTINUED- If an American woman moved to Cameroon she may have a hard time adapting to their gender roles and integrating herself into their society. To successfully adapt she must realize that most men in Cameroon perceive women in a certain way and be considerate of this when communicating.- Knowing the gender roles of men and women also allows an outsider to know who it’s best to communicate with on certain subjects. For example, women are the main caregivers in Cameroon society, and so questions on care-giving would be best answered by a Cameroon women. In some parts of Cameroon a “woman is totally submissive to the man’s authority”( Local Perspective section, 2009, para. 1), which means the husband is more highly regarded in conversation than the wife; what he says goes.- People must use intercultural communication competence to better understand, communicate, and interact with different cultures, such as Cameroon.
  20. 20. Have you ever judged a person on how they dress? Let’s imagine when you enter a room for the first time, it takes a few seconds for people you havenever met to form perceptions about you and your abilities ratify your clothing. * In Business: Your formal clothing speaks volume about who you are as person and as a business communicator.It is the same in Cameroon; however, according to Peace Corps webside, there are difference between abusiness man and woman. Women : Long, nice skirt/shirt combo or dress (not pants). At least two nice skirts with shirts (button down or other office-wear type shirt).Appropriate outfits can later be made easily in-country, and many Volunteers choose to wear locally-madeclothing which Cameroonians appreciate. Man: Nice pants and button down shirt. Have at least two outfits of business casual quality.Inexpensive second-hand suits can also be found in the market.
  21. 21. * In General :Cameroon’s varied climate and differing religious and social customs have created a diversity in traditionalclothing.Types of formal clothes in Cameroon:Pagnes: A long swath of fabric, the pagne is a wrapper-style garment worn by women in Cameroon. Thetype of cloth used varies from simple cotton batik prints to heavily embroidered satin fabrics for formaloccasions. Pagnes are beautiful and functional, and may be used in several ways: as a protective headcovering, a skirt, a sling-style baby carrier, or to provide warmth and dryness during the rainy season.Quartre Pouches: This two-piece mens outfit is found in southern and tribal Cameroon. It consists of a pairof loose-fitting pants and a shirt, often with square pockets on the front. The pieces are made of cotton inmatching designs, resembling the geometric mud cloth patterns created in Mali, West Africa. The outfitsometimes is worn with a round, close-fitting hat made from matching fabric.
  22. 22. Boubou: Popular in northern Cameroon and common in other areas during special occasions suchas : wedding, the name of a child, a coming of age ceremony, or visit a important person, the "unboubou avec pantaloon" is a traditional four-piece outfit for men. The ensemble consists of anundershirt, flowing outer shirt that falls to the hips or longer, loose-fitting pants and a matching hat.Each piece is made of cotton. The outer shirt is made with multicolored patterns and usually isembroidered at the neckline, hem or sleeves. The hat matches the pattern of the outer shirt, and thepants are either solid colored or a complementary print.
  23. 23. Do you know that our dress is one type of nonverbal communication signal? Actually, Itcan make a communication with out any conversation. Clothing express people’spersonality, taste, standard of choice, and few more basic norms. Individually, a well formal dressedperson expresses his/her confidence, credibility, and competency. Cameroonians usually chooseclothes that fit with the situations that they attend to give a right message to other people.
  24. 24. WHAT TO WEAR OR WHAT NOT TO WEAR. THAT IS THE QUESTION?When traveling to another county, weneed to think about that country’sclimate, culture, cloth washing, &recreation activates.It’s hard to figure out what to pack &how much of it to pack.Research on the country & or talking toothers that have visited Cameroon willhelp with these questions.
  25. 25. Brief History of Cameroon Cameroon’s people were divided by therulings of the British & the French. The country was divided by North & South, Muslim & Christianity, English language & French language.Cameroon’s clothing reflexs their religion& the nation in which once ruled them aswell as the climate of the northern region & southern region that they live in. The northern region was ruled by theFrench & predominantly Muslim with a climate being dry & humid. The southern region was ruled by theBritish is predominantly Christian with a climate of lots of rain & humid.
  26. 26. Causal Dress by Cameroon’sIn the northern region where Muslim is the culture & religion, the rule of thumb for casual dress for women is that as long astheir clothing covers their body except theirhands & face, is not tight fitting or of sheer material, bold in color & should not resemble the man’s clothing. This is so that women don’t attract men purely for the sexual nature, but for the beauty with in. For men a similar attire applies. Men should always be covered in loose, unrevealing clothes. No shorts of any kind that is above the knee. Think simple, modest, & dignity for dress.
  27. 27. CASUAL DRESS BY CAMEROON’SIn the southern part of Cameroon because the people are predominantly Christians and were ruled by the British, their casual clothing is based on the English type of dress. Because of their climate which is lots of rain & very humid they tend to wear earth tone, light weight clothing. Adults are expected to wear professional clothing forwork, & not too revealing clothing after work.
  28. 28. PACKING FOR CAMEROON When packing for your trip to Cameroon, you want to consider the culture & the climate.You may want to consider having your shirts or dresses custom made for only$10.00 there. This will cut down on how many piece of clothing you will bring.For the most part Cameroon temperature is hot & dry, unless you plan on travelingup into the higher elevations of the region a light jacket will be fine.It would be wise to bring clothing that is of earth tone clothes, such as: browns,beige, whites, greens, yellows etc. This is because of how dry it is, dust & sedimentswill get your clothes dirty very quickly & the water that you wash your clothes inmay discolor bright & delicate materials.Shorts & tang tops are only acceptable for sports & vacation time.
  29. 29. ReferencesAdly. Imam., (2010). Masjid al-Muslimiin Retrieved from P., Eldman. F., & Avelsberg. S., (2011). Countries & Their Cultures Cameroon. Retrieved from, S., Beebe, S.J, Ivy, D., Lane, S., Redmond, M. (2011). The Blue Book of Communication Studies. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon."Cameroon - Bing Images." Bing. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <>."Cameroon." Bing. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. <>.Cameroon Clothing Traditional Attire and Dress Fashion of Cameroon.web. N6b9WuCameroon-Today. (2010). Welcome to Cameroon Africa. Cameroon Africa“Cameroon.” Web. 11 Nov. 2011. < churches/regions/africa/cameroon.html>.
  30. 30. ReferencesCentre for Intercultural Learning. (2009). Cultural Information. Religion, Class, Ethnicity, & Gender. Retrieved from http://www.intercultures.Countries and Their Cultures. “Cameroon.” Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <>. ca/cil-cai/ci-ic-eng.asp?iso=cm#cn-7Fitzpatrick. L., (2009). What Type of Clothing Do You Wear to Cameroon? Retrieved from What to wear. Peace Corps. Web. & Lars. (web design). (2001). Nake Campsite 1895. [photo] Retrieved from Patricia K. (2004). Cameroon Enchantment of the World. Boston, MA: Herman Adler Design.McManus, M (site designer). (2005). Meeting with Belo Staff Members in 2005. [photo]. Retrieved from
  31. 31. ReferencesPeace Corps. Retrieved March 18, 2011 from Peace Corps Wiki, G., Andrew, D., Armstrong, K., Bainbridge, J., Bewer, T. Carillet, J.,…Wruble, V. (2007). Africa : 30th Anniversary Edition. Hong Kong, China: Lonely Planet . Publications Pty Ltd.Soulful Presence. (non-profit org.). (2011). [photo]. Retrieved from