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Reframing African cinema and democracy: the case of Cameroon

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Cameroonian film production is interpreted as a means of initiation to political education and progress towards democracy. Social satire in the first generation (Pipa and Kamwa) evolves into political awareness and opposition in the contemporary generation (Ba Kobhio, Bekolo and Teno). Documentarist Jean-Marie Teno holds the colonial regime responsible for the ingrained abuse of power and disregard for ordinary citizens in the neo-colonial regime. The syndrome of the 'chief', within the family in the films of the 1970s (Pipa and Kamwa), or within the state institutions in the films of the 1990s (Bekolo and Teno), is the target of an awareness campaign. Cameroonian cinema is promoting a civil society which, from the onset of independence, managed to keep alive indigenous practices of democratic consultation. The author trusts in the empowerment of young people under the guidance of film-makers-cum-political-activists to recover the imagination necessary for creating a new social utopia.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film. 
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