YOUTH WEEK YEAR 2022 963 502 Sylvie Brunner




Every year, around 11 February, Cameroon celebrates its youth. During the months leading up to this date, teachers and children from all schools in the country as well as youth clubs prepare for this event which is essential to them. A week of festivities, conferences, exhibitions and work around a common theme ends, in town and in the bush, with the famous parade of classes and clubs.

For this 56th edition, the theme chosen was: “Youth and voluntary participation in the great challenges of Cameroon”, a vast subject relating in particular to civic education, community life, voluntary work and the socio-economic integration of young Cameroonians.

Of course, the members of the Deo Gratias schools of AFRIQUE FUTURE once again put a lot of energy and joy in this national project. Exceptionally this year, and in agreement with the teachers, Father Emmanuel decided to limit this celebration to only two days of activities. The reason is that Cameroon hosted the African Cup of Nations from 9 January to 6 February, organising the competition in five cities of the country (Yaoundé, Bafoussam, Garoua, Limbé and Douala). To enable young people to attend the games, the government allowed schools to close at 1pm for a month. The relative delay in the school programme was therefore not compatible with a full week of festivities.

Please read the article about the 2021 Youth Festival which presents all the activities during the event.

1.Cultural day at the Deo gratias School Complex of Emana (9 February)

Cameroon is made up of ten regions divided into 58 departments. To participate in the cultural day, ten classes of Emana’s school drew lots for the region they would represent : a junior primary class, the 4 comprehensive school classes, the 2 final high school classes (literary or scientific).

Each class proposed the setting, clothing, language, dances and food that best express the traditions of “their” region. The children did not need to go far to gather the information necessary for this presentation, as urban families originally from many different regions, are keen to preserve their languages and customs – a beautiful heritage that they naturally pass on to their children! This day of celebration also brought joy to the mothers and fathers who helped with the traditional presentations.

Proud pupils wearing magnificent, varied and colourful costumes

A jury composed of five guests scoring the quality of reception and the presentation of the regions, as well as the ability of the young to speak in public.

In a junior primary class (cm2)

In secondary schools

The class pays tribute to the inhabitants of the mountainous region of Adamaoua, located between Nigeria to the west and the Central African Republic to the east.

The Fulani are the main ethnic group in this poor and sparsely populated province whose main economic activity is zebu breeding. About ten other ethnic groups represent 40% of the population of this region.

Each student wears a different traditional costume, revealing the cultural richness of Adamaoua.

Three of them offer a short speech in the traditional language. By clicking on the button, you can hear some sentences in the Fulfulde language

The winning group was the paired high school class 1 D and C who presented the Far North region. Located between Chad and Nigeria, this region is populated by the Fulani, a typically pastoral and Muslim people (chosen this year by the students), as well as the Kirdi, a group composed of a wide variety of ethnicities, including the Mafa, the largest one. Each ethnic group speaks its own language. They grow millet on terraced fields and raise goats, sheep and zebu.

2.The school fair (10 February)

The second day was really the young people’s day. They were the ones who organised the activities, while the adults were just the coordinators.

At the Emana School Complex

Speeches, a road safety demonstration, playlets, comic sketches, poems, dances, a play, a fashion show and above all, the long-awaited election of the Miss and Mister of the year, marked this festive day.

– > Road safety

In a country where traffic accidents are numerous and generally serious or even fatal, actions carried out in favour of road prevention are essential. Throughout the year, even during the school holidays (see the article Deo Vacances), activities related to the subject continue and multiply. Teachers take every opportunity to remind pupils to be careful.

– > Speeches

Various speeches were made, in particular by the President of the School Cooperative. This cooperative is the body that represents the students within the school. Composed of 15 members, its board, democratically elected at the beginning of each school year, represents the pupils. Intended to introduce young people to participative citizenship and leadership (direction), it steers non-academic activities (clubs, youth parties, sports activities) and participates in administrative councils.

For the first time, the presidency was held by a young girl – Ngono Eteme Irène Alexandra, aged 15, a high school student (second year). Moreover, she is a very good student and fulfils her role with seriousness and enthusiasm.

Click on the button to listen to her welcome speech

– > Theater play

Published in 1960, the play “Three suitors… one husband” is the first work created by Guillaume Oyônô Mbia, one of the most famous Cameroonian playwrights. The play was a huge success wherever it was performed and is still very popular today.

The scene is a village in southern Cameroon. The heroine, schoolgirl Juliette, rebels against her family and the village chief, as she refuses to be given in marriage to the suitor who will offer the highest dowry. Ndi, the peasant, Mbia, the rich civil servant and Tchetgen, the shopkeeper, take turns introducing  themselves. But it is out of the question for her to be sold like a goat: “I am a human being, I am valued!” The education and the free will of girls are discussed eagerly. Juliette wants to impose her engagement to Okô. The two young people play a clever trick on the villagers which will lead to a happy ending for all. With much humour and subtleness, the play presents an essential aspect of African socio-cultural evolution.

The actors of the theatre club received loud applause for their talent and dynamism.

– >  Fashion show and election of Miss and Mister 2022 of the School Complex  

The liveliest event of the day was the fashion show followed by the election of Miss and Mister 2022 of the School Complex. Young people and adults alike are always passionate about such a contest. Fan clubs are formed and everyone happily expresses their preferences.

The candidates performed five rounds in different outfits: student uniforms, daily village clothing, traditional costumes, city wear and evening wear. Then, they presented a personal speech related to the theme of the year, namely “Youth and Voluntary Participation in the Great Challenges of Cameroon”, in French, English and one or two dialects of their choice. They were judged on their presentation, their poise and their ability to speak in public. This is a difficult exercise and the emotion was palpable among the candidates and their fans.

This year again, the show was magnificent, the contestants fought with courage and talent!

The winners represent the school until the next school year. They have the important task of serving as examples for other pupils in terms of diligence, discipline, punctuality, cleanliness, mutual aid and benevolence towards their classmates.

The following Monday, before classes resumed and in front of all the pupils gathered in the courtyard of the Emana school complex, Father Emmanuel and the teaching staff took stock of this beautiful celebration. They congratulated all the participants, insisting on the fact that no one failed in the various competitions. The main thing is to enjoy the game and to gain experience.

This young girl cried a lot of tears after the elections; in front of everyone, she was complimented on her courage in challenging older contestants and on her performance of the beautiful traditional scene.

At Ngodi Si School Complex

In the heart of the bush, where resources are much more limited than in the city, the festive day was devoted to sports. The boys and some of the girls energetically played several football matches.

3. The national parade (11 February)

The youth festival ends with a student parade in all regions of the country. Each school takes part. This year, the shadow of the pandemic required even stricter organisation (smaller number of representatives, social distancing, etc.). Nevertheless, the festival took place in a joyful atmosphere.

In Yaoundé

In Dibang

The children from the Afrique Future Complex in Ngodi Si went to Dibang, a sub-prefecture of this region, which includes 29 villages. They joined other school groups to participate in the national parade.