The beliefs, customs, arts, way of life, thinking or behaving that thread in a community, place or organisation constitute the whole package that make up the culture of a people.
It is popularly known to be their real identity. No society considers itself complete without its culture. And as nature would have it, all societies are proud of theirs and consistently work towards preserving them. In popular World events such as the Olympic Games and World Cup competitions, participating nations are usually identified through their cultures. Cameroon in the last FIFA World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro became a point of attraction not only because of its performance in the competition but particularly because of its unique traditional outfit.
The decision by the Head of State through a Presidential Decree of 1991 to institute the National Festival of Arts and Culture (FENAC) does not only immortalise the country’s culture but renders it a veritable instrument of development. Cameroon’s cultural diversity remains an important source of income. Many Cameroonians are quite aware of this but the most disturbing thing is the laxity with which this powerful resource is considered.
FENAC offers the opportunity to display the various aspects of the country’s culture and has often been a point of attraction not only to Cameroonians but equally to many other foreigners. It is an important tourist attraction. The cultural and artistic jamboree that officially opened in Yaounde yesterday is in its eighth edition. Artists, musicians, traditional groups, cinematographers, dramatists, and many dance groups from the ten Regions of the country, all grouped into four cultural regions have answered present.
For one week running, the inhabitants of Yaounde and many other visitors will feed their eyes and emotions for free with the country’s rich culture. The anxiety that has built up tells of the importance of the event even though many people are yet to understand why such an important festival could have gone for several years without taking place.
The National Festival of Arts and Culture was meant to be a periodic affair taking place after every two years. What happened after Maroua eight years ago is anyone’s guess. The resurfacing of the festival in the capital city is however hope-rekindling. Everyone’s wish now is far from seeing it disappear but rather living a two-yearly event full of innovations and attractions.