For at least one year now, the “république du Cameroun/Republic of Cameroun” is experiencing some turmoil, due to social upheaval in its so-called “Anglophone” Regions, in the Western side of the country. Many and everything have been said about this crisis, its social, economic, administrative, and political root causes, possible solutions
In this paper, I just want to explore future, nationally-rooted possible solutions.
For instance and since the name “Cameroon/Cameroun” itself seems to be part of the problem, why not rename the country according to its own, historical features, characteristics? Everybody there and elsewhere knows that the name derives from the Portuguese who noticed an abundance of shrimps (camaroes in their language) upon their arrival in the area – especially where the Wouri River enters the Atlantic Ocean. They gave the name to that area and it became Camarones in Spanish, Kamerun in German, Cameroon/Cameroun in English/French.
Now that there are not so many camaroes/camarones/shrimps/mbeaatoe (in local, seaside tribes languages)there, my suggestion is for the country to be renamed according to a perennial and impressive landmark that has been and will always be there for millions of years. A unique landmark in the African West Coast, from Cap Town in South Africa to Rabat, in Morocco.
This landmark is the so-called “Cameroon Mountain/Mont Cameroun” which is locally known as “The Fako Mountain”. Therefore, why not rename the country “Fakoland” in short or more formally, the Federative African Republic of Fako” or “République fédérative africaine du Fako”?
Federative Republic because I strongly believe in African unity, which will transform the country into a State among the 53 or so that will make up the African Federal State.
“Fako” because this is an indigenous name, contrary to the given, Portuguese name the country bears now, which is an insult to our collective intelligence as it shows that people living in the country are incapable of reinventing their own realities. Are proud of bearing a name someone else gave to their country and are proud of it, even though this name is dividing them, among other, deeper issues. This will not be a unique example in History, especially in Africa where Senegal, Gambia, Kenya, Tanzania, the two Congos, neighboring Chad and Central African Republic, etc., bear the names of remarkable landmarks there, be they Rivers, mountains, lakes. Taking from Bantu languages which make up the majority of Cameroonians in its Southern part, a Fako person – woman or man – would be called a “Mufako”, long plural “Bato-ba-Fako” which could be shortened into “Bafako”. That’s the way it goes with Burundi (Murundi, Barundi), Rwanda (MunyaRwanda, Banyarwanda), Kenya (MwaKenya), all predominantly bantu countries,etc Other names taking from the Sudanese of semi-bantu languages from other parts of the country, could be found.
From the so-called “Anglophone” Southwest and Northwest Regions to “Francophone” Littoral and Ouest ones, this linguistic principle is fully understood.
Furthermore, the new African Federative Republic of Fako (AFRF) , République fédérative africaine du Fako (RFAF) would consist of 15 States. They too, could be renamed following local landmarks, customs and traditions.
For instance and starting with the bones of contention of Southwest and Northwest so-called “Anglophone” Regions and their misnamed neighboring “Francophone” of Littoral and Ouest Regions, taking from their largely shared History, customs, traditions, languages, tribal unity, they could become Sawa North (Buea), and Sawa South (Douala or Edea) Regions on the one side, Grassfields West (Bamenda) and Grassfields East (Bafoussam) Regions, on the other.
Then from Adamawa/Adamaoua (Ngaoundéré) to Nyong-&-Sanaga (M’balmayo or Mfou), other Regions could be renamed Benoue (Garoua) Dja-Ntem – &- Mvila(Ebolowa), Nyong-&-Dja (Abong-Mbang), Lom-&-Kadeï (Bertoua), Sahel Region (Maroua). This move would present the advantage of going beyond different colonial dominations, and affiliations which were forcefully imposed upon the country, and of regaining national pride, showing some creativity in reshaping our country’s identity according to our own perspective.
Then cities with an important meaning in our national history such as Buea (first Capital), Douala for obvious historical and present reasons many know about), Yaoundé, Ebolowa (birthplace of the first national independence hero, Lt. Martin-Paul Samba), Boumnyebel (birthplace of Ruben Um Nyobe), Garoua perhaps, Foumban, would become administrative entities by themselves: Douala as the Nations’s Economic & Historical Capital (DCE), Yaoundé (to be renamed Ongola, it’s true local name) could henceforth know as “Ongola, capitale nationale” (OCN), and Buea a Historical Capital (BHC).
The other cities would become “Historical Cities/Villes historiques. Foumban as the place where a national alphabet was invented a few centuries ago could become, together with the Noun Division, a Special Region/Région spéciale du Fombina. Historians would be tasked with identifying other locations, worth of national importance or meaning, and suggest measures to honor them.
Just some suggestion from a grassroots, but worried and concerned citizen