The Cultural Blend Festival CUBLEF
From the 18th- 19th of September 2020, over 110 people, both selected CUBLEF delegates and other invitees from all the ten regions of the country, gathered to participate in a groundbreaking Cultural Blend Event. This event was organized by the civil society organization NewSETA, in collaboration with OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa) with an aim of bringing together individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds, and instilling in them the importance of their various cultural heritages, at the same time promoting the sense of coexistence among them. The theme of this two day event was, 'Leveraging our cultural heritage to foster peace and living together in Cameroon'.
During these two days, we had over five panels speak to us. These panels featured Government officials (Representative of the Minister of Culture, Representative of the Prime Minister, etc), CEOs and business owners (Founder of local youth Corner, founder of Rayons de soleil, etc), Professors (Prof Jean-Emmanuel Pondi, prof leka essombe, etc), diplomats (switzerland and USA), and many other insightful individuals who all share the common desire of revoking the ardor that once accompanied our thoughts on our culture and tradition. All these panel members not only emphasized on the importance of our cultural heritage in the generation of peace, but also left us with important guides for navigating through and succeeding in life.
Below is a recapitulation of a few key points amongst the many ones deliberated on during the panel discussions;
Our culture is important in peace generation hence we have to recapture it, and understand the essence of our country Cameroon. We are challenged to use our cultural diversity as an asset for peace rather than making our differences a cause of misunderstanding amongst us. Our cultural diversity is a value that should be appropriated.
Our cultural heritage is faced with the threats of losing its value because our culture was initially deconstructed by our colonial masters as a means of dominance and reconstructed on non-African values and concepts.
In order to build pluralism, that is to get rid of the prejudice that comes with being one people, and getting rid of individualism, we should accept a national identity as Cameroonians, embrace social cohesion and co-existence between the different groups of people. This can be achieved by building a bridge of tolerance, accompanied by understanding, accepting, recognizing and protecting one another. We should not consider any culture or people superior to anyone.
As young people who are aspiring to become prosperous in our future endeavors, we should have in mind that daring is learning. Gaining knowledge and capacity is crucial in succeeding our various career routes. Dare to work with people with a common interest, build a team, and leave a legacy in the lives of people as you navigate through life. Be humble, passionate, consistent and put your projects, other than money first.
Adopt humility in conversation. This is a tool for building social capital; that is building long lasting networks with people.
Building long lasting networks and relationships on the basis of humility is just as important as having and deploying an outstanding set of skills and knowledge.
Aside from talks from panel members, we also had individuals like Madame Gladys Viban (Cultural Affairs Specialist), Dr Francois Bingono Bingono, and many others, singly empowered and impacted us. The above mentioned points are just the tip of the iceberg, considering there was so much we had to carry back home.
The second day was more of an adventurous experience, as we were given the opportunity to my participate in various sporting activities (football, egg race, sack race and dodging). These activities presented the opportunity for individuals to easily interact with each other, as they were encouraged to work in teams. We were also chanced to visit the national museum, where we drew a lot of inspiration as well as motivation towards upholding our cultural heritage. The history of our country as well as the origin of various cultural practices, were elaborately explained. Day two's agenda was concluded with a cultural blend festival, during which everyone was adorned in their traditional attire, ready to represent their various cultural backgrounds. Another amazing aspect of the festival was the presence of a plethora of Cameroonian cuisines, each dish from each region. We enjoyed the delicacies, all the while dancing to the variety of traditional music that graced the atmosphere. As the event drew to an end, Certificates of participation were awarded to every Delegate, as well as trophies, to the teams that participated in the sporting activities earlier that day.
Aside from providing us with a better perspective in viewing our culture and tradition, this event also presented us with the opportunity to tap knowledge from experienced individuals of various fields, as well as mentorship and networking opportunities.