Les Voix de l'Urgence

Le Livre

The urgency of now

In the perspective of the publication of a collective work echoing the project of the visual artist Yvon Ngassam.
Organization of the chapters according to the contributors.

  1. Rewriting the History of Cameroon, a necessity, a way out, a utopia?
    • Prince KUMA NDUMBE III
    • Bonaventure SOH NDIKUNG
    • Christine EYENE
    • Achille MBEMBE
  2. The socio-cultural impact, the consequences of the crisis on contemporary society
    • Joseph OWONA NTSAMA
    • DZEKASHU Mac Viban
    • Jean pierre BEKOLO
    • Florian NGIMBIS
    • Ntone EDJABE
    • Chantal EDIE
  3. Reconstructing: a vital need, but from what? Social, psychological, physical reconstruction, etc.; how can we think of the advent of a true living together?
    • Hemley BOUM
    • Princesse Marylin DOUALA MANGA BELL
    • Happy NDONGO
    • Tito Valery
  4. Building new Imaginaries (in the light of the new Republic)
    • Marc Alexandre OHAMBE
    • Eric AKAM
    • Hervé YAMGUEN
    • Sadrack PONDI (if we imagined a Cameroon in Technicolor, by dismantling uchronically, the History).

We are still in the fundraising phase for the production of the book. If you would like to contribute, please contact us at this email address : contact@lesvoixdelurgence.com

Note of intent - The urgency of now

Engorged between now traumatized populations, for what remains of them, and "separatists", whose ranks seem to extend to the unexplored recesses of neighboring countries or sometimes beyond the continental borders. The peak (in the eyes of the Cameroonian media and public opinion) was reached on Saturday, October 24, 2021, when armed men burst into a school in the town of Kumba, taking the lives of eight (08) children, and triggering, by this gesture of proven atrocity, the wrath and total indignation of all. Members of civil society, government authorities and the international community took turns to denounce this barbaric act of rare horror.

These atrocities committed (on both sides of the belligerents) in the open air in front of helpless and powerless populations in the face of the turn of events, despite the "outstretched hand" of the government which organized in September 2019, the much debated "National Dialogue", have clearly cast a chill on the notion of living together naturally shared by all Cameroonians, before the beginning of this "crisis".

The situation, which has reached a very critical stage, is now well known to the media and to the international community as a whole, under the name of "Anglophone crisis"; it is obviously causing ink to flow in Cameroon. Various organizations militating for the protection of children, women, or even simply for human rights, have mobilized, along with media men, artists, representatives of all sides of civil society, or representatives of political factions, to express their fed up with this "crisis" that has gone on too long.

The origins of this "crisis," which began with a peaceful demonstration, are officially attributed to the mismanagement of demands and the turn taken by the 2016 strike of anglophone teachers and lawyers - who generally complain of being excluded from decision-making spheres and of the failure to take into account the specificities of the anglophone education system - in the cities of Bamenda and Buea, the capitals of the Northwest and Southwest regions. But it is also suspected that the deeper reasons go back to unfulfilled promises made when agreements were signed since the 1972 referendum, when the government introduced the centralized system that gave full power to Yaoundé.

First colonized by Germany, Cameroon was then divided by the allied powers, Great Britain and France, after the defeat of the Germans in 1918.
The two parts of Cameroon were therefore administered separately until 1961, when the British territories, known as Southern Cameroon, gained their independence and joined the already independent French Cameroon.

The grumbling began when lawyers and teachers noticed that the state was adopting a muscular position in the face of their demands. It is from there that a "separatist" movement is born to demand more autonomy, simply demanding secession, hence the birth of Ambazonia.

Having observed for a long time from afar this harassing situation, because he did not want to trivialize it - the subject deserving for him a more circumspect attention - and concerned about the relationship to the human being who often drowns in the confusion and the hubbub of disinformation or overinformation generated by such a situation, the visual artist Yvon Ngassam, whose approach already wants to be enamelled with empathy and centered around the human being, imagined a project to which he wishes to convene several aesthetical and intellectual ways

In a more tangible way, the book publishing project intends to contribute to the memorization of experiences lived by the wounded communities. It is indeed a question here of creating a space of memory to share, to testify, to sympathize, but especially to propose solutions; a space to say via art, the fears, the frights, but also the hopes, of these Cameroonians who left and abandoned (their) villages and goods, thus fleeing the war. Of all these Cameroonians, who simply aspire to a return to peace.

"The urgency of now," the essay, deals, in short, with the question of the consequences of this crisis on the target populations. Adopting a socially neutral, yet intellectually militant stance, it wishes to question the future of our country as a community that is said to be "indivisible"; it scans the horizon of this question of living together, now shaken, if not, stained with the blood of innocents. What is OUR future, from here and now? "Where do we go from here? Chaos or community"? As the human rights activist and black American pastor Martin Luther King Jr. asked himself in his fourth book published in 1967, just before his assassination. This question is the main thread of this project.

It is not a question of bringing the eyes and the consciences to incriminate or to point an accusing finger, the possible victims or guilty in this war. From the History of Cameroon, some contours of which unfortunately remain hidden, buried under the rubble of a certain political failure (still non-existent in most school textbooks) but also, based on the stories that we intend to collect during this project, the artist simply wants to invite contributors to this book to a collective reflection and reunification on the future of the entire Cameroonian people.

This is what this project defends, because we feel it is important to emphasize that this is indeed the real URGENCY!

Landry Mbassi,
Curator of the exhibition


[1] Crise anglophone au Cameroun : comment a-t-elle commencé et quand finira-t-elle ? Ngala Killian Chimtom. BBC News, Afrique