by Joy Osiagwu
Cameroon is a country in West-Central Africa, with Nigeria in the west and north, Chad to the northeast and the Central African Republic to the east, with its capital in Yaoundé. The people are Christians with a significant Muslim minority. The official languages are French and English. However, due to the strategic location at the crossroads between West Africa and Central Africa, it is seen as having citizens in both communities in West and Central Africa.
The country has a population of about 27 million people, primarily a farming population and 250 native languages. Before the arrival of the Portuguese explorers to the coast in the 15th century, the Sao civilization around Lake Chad and the Baka hunters were the indigenous inhabitants. The Portuguese named the area Rio DOS Camaroes, meaning Shrimp River, which eventually became Cameroon in English.
Cameroon became a German Colony in 1884 known as Kamerun. But the nation was shared between France and the United Kingdom after World 1 as League of Nations mandates.
A political party called Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) championed the cause for independence. Still, France disallowed it in the 1950s, evocating the national liberation insurgency, fought between France and the UPC party militant forces until 1971.
Finally, however, part of the territory administered by the French government became independent in 1960 under President Ahmadou Ahidjo, while the southern part of the British Cameroons federated with it in 1961 to create the Federal Republic of Cameroon. But the federation was abandoned a year later.
Nevertheless, the name changes continued as it was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and back to the Republic of Cameroon in 1984 by the presidential decree of President Paul Biya, who took over the mantle of leadership in 1982 following President Ahmadou Ahidjo’s resignation.
Current Political Structure
Cameroon operates the Unitary Presidential Republic, which is centralized, with powers vested in a single central national government that creates local subdivisions of government for its benefit. Paul Biya has been ruling the country since 6 November 1982 till date. The Prime minister is officially appointed as head of government, while the President retains most of the executive power. The current prime minister is Joseph Ngute; he was appointed by President Biya on 4 January 2019.
Trending News in Cameroon
Over three hundred children in Cameroon, displaced by the separatist conflict, received boxing day gifts on 26 December at the Bandjoun Community Hall in the capital Yaoundé.
Churches, non-governmental aid groups, and Cameroon’s first lady, Chantal Biya, are known to present gifts to internally displaced persons annually. However, a team coordinated the 2022 gift presentation and distribution nationwide for the 2022 edition.
The offerings are meant to ease the sufferings of tens of thousands of children affected by the separatist conflict, now in its fifth year. The United Nations reports over 3,500 deaths in the conflict and 750,000 displaced by it. Cameroon’s separatists launched their rebellion in 2017 in search of a break off the country’s Northeast and Southwest regions, occupied mainly by English-speaking Cameroonians.
Cameroonian Community in Ottawa
The Ottawa Cameroon Njangui Group (OCNG) is a high-spirited community of people of Cameroonian descent who strive to create a community where friendship and communal values can be shared and celebrated by the people from the Southwest and Northwest regions of Cameroon. The group was established in 2006.
- Build a community where Cameroonians in the National Capital Region can get mentorship, resources, and support to facilitate their integration into Canadian society.
- Ensure the voice of the community is a significant part of the dialogue in the city.
- Harness the breadth of expertise and trust amongst members as a force multiplier for the economic advancement of the community.
- Ensure the next generation feels they belong and are empowered to take full ownership of the Cameroonian community.
1. Mrs Gladys Vusi- Coordinator
2. Mrs Jennifer Akwenseh-Assistant Coordinator
3. Mr Kenneth San Fon- Treasurer
4. Mr Fidelis Nzengung- Financial Secretary
5. Mrs Olivia Meyla Takoukam- Secretary
6. Mrs Cynthia YY- Social Secretary
7. Ms Oddete Nehza- Social Secretary
8. Mr Edwin Nkengla- Chief Whip
Every member of the OCNG is part of the General Assembly. The General Assembly meets monthly for deliberation and to advance the vision and agenda of the community. The monthly meeting is an opportunity to have a great party each month – food, drinks, and a dance party. The event is open to members of the group only and their invitees.
Every spring, the group also joins the city of Ottawa wide initiative to help cleanup the capital region. The initiative has been a family affair for the Cameroonians in Canada, young and old, especially in the Greenboro Community centre area.
The Cameroonian community is also active in the African Canadian society at large. Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions won the inaugural edition of the annual memorial soccer tournament competition organized by the Nigerian Canadian Association of Ottawa (NCAO) held in 2018 at Brewer Park, which featured four locally based community teams: Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon.
The tournament was a memorial soccer in honor and celebration of the life of Nosa Ogbebor, an active volunteer with the Nigerian Canadian Association of Ottawa and an avid soccer player until his death. Ogbebor collapsed and lost his life while playing a soccer game in 2018.
Contact information for OCNG
Margaret Rywak Community Center, 68 Knoxdale road,
Ottawa, Ontario, K2G 0W2
Joy Osiagwu is a Project Officer with Black History Ottawa. She has over two decades of experience as a broadcast journalist in Nigeria and North America. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Cumbria in the United Kingdom, plus a post-graduate diploma in Broadcast Performing Arts from the Columbia Academy, Vancouver, British Columbia.