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Cameroon Hosts Celebrations To Mark World Heritage Convention @50

By Leocadia Bongben

Cameroon, its capital Yaoundé, the city of seven hills and Mvomeka’a in the South region are busy with sub regional activities to mark 50 years of the World Heritage Convention.

To mark this milestone, 40 young African World Heritage professionals from 30 African countries are sharing ideas to shape the future of the world heritage under the theme : “African Youth in the Next 50 Years: The Heritage We Want.”

And there was no better place for these young people to meet than Mvomeka’a, near the Dja Wildlife Reserve. The Dja Wildlife Reserve has been a World Heritage site since 1987.

Dja Reserve Credit Photo (UNESCO)

There is also a photographic exhibition of the World Heritage sites, a meeting of the sub-regional world heritage experts and a high level ministerial meeting on world heritage in Central Africa.

Since 2016, more than 175 young people from 47 African countries have been trained and mobilized to promote and preserve the World Heritage in Africa.

This 6th forum is special with the celebration in 2022 of the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.

The rationale behind the adoption of the convention was hinged on the fact that cultural and natural heritage are threatened with destruction. That losing any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world.  Given that protection at national level remains incomplete due to scarce resources, UNESCO’s general conference vouched for the conservation and protection of the world’s heritage. 

To UNESCO, “The celebration is therefore timely as the sub-region is facing several imbalances in the implementation of the convention: the impacts of armed conflict are tangibly felt by the sites and the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the vulnerability of the heritage ecosystem to a sudden crisis, which was evident through the closure of several World Heritage sites. Other challenges are prevalent: climate change, natural and man-made disasters, population growth, rapid urbanization, and the destruction of heritage.”

Key Facts about the World Heritage Convention

The World Heritage Convention is an initiative of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO general conference of November 1972.

Titled Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the convention has 38 Articles. Articles 1 and 2 define cultural and natural heritage.

Cultural heritage refers to monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science; groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science; sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.

Natural Heritage consists of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view; geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation; natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation of natural beauty.

The convention in article 4 stipulates that the state has the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage. Also, adapts general policies of cultural and natural heritage to function in the life of the community and to integrate the protection of that heritage into comprehensive planning programmes among others.

The convention provides for an Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Outstanding Universal Value, called “the World Heritage Committee”, that manages the World heritage activities.

Some of the major World Heritage sites in Central Africa

Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda (Gabon) Credit Photo (UNESCO)

There are 13 natural and cultural heritage sites in the 10 countries of Central Africa, plus Angola, Burundi, Chad Sao Tome and Principe .

These include the Ivindo National Park in Gabon in 2021. The Gamba-Mayumba-Conkouati Landscape (Congo, Gabon), the Dja-Odzala-Minkébé Tri-national).

Sangha Trinational (Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic) Credit Photo (UNESCO)
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Indigenous Women Use Sport Walk To Kick-start 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Indigenous women grouped under the Forum des Femmes Autouchtone du Cameroon, FFAC have used a sport walk to create awareness on their 10 anniversary celebrations.

FFAC launched the activities of their 10th anniversary celebration on June 11 during a sport walk under the theme” Sport for Mental Health”.

The walk brought together some 100 participants who listened to educative talks on the importance of sports for women and girls’ mental health and benefits of regular practice.

FFAC is celebration 10 years of dedication in empowering indigenous woman and girls. 

On the sidelines, the Director of Economic Promotion of Women at the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family received FFAC in line the reinforcement of their partnership.

Discussions focused on taking into consideration the specific needs of Indigenous women and girls when designing programs, projects and policies.

FFAC also expressed the need for collaboration to elaborate a National Plan of Action to implement the African Union campaign to end Child Marriage in Africa.

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Cameroonian Artists To Grace AFCON Closing Ceremony

By Etienne Mainimo

Four Cameroonian artists, Salatiel Livenja Bessong, Daphne Njie Efundem, Stanley Enow and Lee-James Edjouma (James BKS) will set the stage rolling when the 2021 Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon comes to an end on January 6 in Yaounde.

The ceremony to take place at the 60,000 seater Olembe stadium at 8:00 pm local time will see the Teranga Lions of Senegal’s face off the Pharaohs of Egypt. During the opening ceremony, Fally Ipupa beautified the occasion.

Among the thousands expected to be at the closing ceremony, Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya is program to officiate the finals alongside, CAF President, Dr. Patrice Motsepe and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The competition kicked off on January 9 with 24 teams in participation. Cameroon, host of the 33rd edition finished at the third position after dramatically thrashing Burkina Faso in the penalty shoot-out after 3-3 regular time score.

The winner between Senegal and Egypt will succeed Algeria, current cup holders who were eliminated in the first round of the competition.

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Nso Fon Tells Sons, Daughters To Enact New Covenant & Move Forward

By Etienne Mainimo

The Fon of Nso and Paramount Fon of Bui, Sehm Mbinglo II has called on sons and daughters of Nso to enact a new covenant and chart the way forward.

Sehm Mbinglo II made the call on November 28 in Yaounde during a special meeting to commune with his people.

“…I am reiterating this, let us enact a new covenant as from today and move forward listening to each other. Let us all look in the same direction,” the Fon said through a messenger.

The Fon added, “If you hear me say anything ,that is how Nso people have said it…Don’t you see we are tired of carrying the heavy load? I am not talking about the thrown you gave me. But, the life we are living here (in Yaounde), is this how we were supposed to be living? Are we not tired of living like this?”

“Since you people have agreed we stayed for long under this heavy yoke, what do you think we should do to come out of it? I am not saying you should tell me now or today.”

“When you go back home, rest and think, then tell your leaders how we can get rid of the heavy load, from living a senseless life. I will then listen and know how to transmit it to our people,” the Fon further said.

The occasion saw the presence of traditional rulers from Nso land, the Northwest region as well from Bafia, the former Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, Secretary of State to the Minister of Basic Education, Asheri Kilo and others.

The call comes within the context of the ongoing crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.

It should be noted that Nso land is one of the areas in the Northwest region hard hit by the Anglophone crisis.

The Fon in line with the crisis had to relocate from the palace due to insecurity.

The Fon of Nso and His Brother the Fon of Bafia
Fons from Nso land and the Northwest region
Traditional dance from Nso