François Wassouni: Les monuments dans l’espace public camerounais : Pour embellir, distraire ou restituer l’histoire vrai ? Essai d’analyse des rapports entre monuments et populations


Focusing on monuments, their purpose, and their relationship with the populations, this text highlights some aspects of Cameroon’s history that were factors in the process of creation of monuments. The author provides a classification of the Cameroonian monuments by categorizing them into “monuments of commemoration” and “monuments of celebration” of great figures of the country’s history. However, these monuments seem to honor the colonial memory to the detriment of the national memory and silence the names of Cameroonians who have particularly contributed to the process of evolution of their country. It seems that the state authorities are allergic to questions of memory and history, with a malicious intention to manipulate and distract the conscience: the monuments are dilapidated, damaged, with dirty surroundings, invaded by mentally deficient people who have taken up residence there. The relationship between these buildings and the population is not a tender one: while some perceive them as mere decorative objects, symbolizing nothing to them, others such as political activists are determined to dismantle them because they consider them fake. All of this seems to demonstrate that Cameroonian monuments do little to celebrate significant parts of the country’s history, hence the numerous controversies and revolts against them.

[Cameroon, history, memory, public space, monuments]