By Calixthe Beyala
time to procreate. There is decadence; there is excitement; there is craziness, and good food is regarded as poison to the human body because it engenders a surfeit of flesh that hurts the public eye.
I, whose life this tale is a part of, left my native land in order to know the world better because there is time to be lost and time to find one’s way; time to wonder and time to return to one’s roots.
I am black, even the sun would testify, but exile has made me lose my bearings. As time passes, I realize that I have succumbed to decadence, like someone cutting through fog, eyes wide open. I take a look at the sky and I ape white women, because, I believe, their fate is rosy; because, I believe, they have a better perception of good and evil, of what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate, of what’s fair and what’s unfair; because, I believe, they know how far they want to go and when to stop.
I don’t know when I became white; what I do know is that I straighten out my hair with maximum strength products called “Skin Success”.
I don’t know when I became white, what I do know is that I flake my skin with “Venus de Milo”. In the same vein, I brutalize my body in order to minimize it: I don’t have breasts. My buttocks are as flat as the surface of the earth, because, I have to please white men; it’s a question of necessity; If I look like a bread-board, then I am pretty. I dance in circles on chilly days and men in hot pants vie with one another in their lust for me. When I walk my dry bones crackle on the left side of my body when you’d expect to hear them crackle on the right side, causing sun lovers and fine sand eaters to work up quite an erotic feat. I savor this victory while cleaning public restrooms: I know their nooks and crannies and could give you a description of the type of men who visit here.
First, there are the handsome old ones, who’d tell you that they’ll teach you how to make love with a woman; they’ll tell you that they’ll teach you the act and the art of love-making. But you wouldn’t understand anything at all because before they’re done teaching you, they are stretched out on you as if attempting to escape from the ravages of time.
There are the chunky ones who’d stop thinking about their copious bodies when they smell vapor exuding from excrement and urine. They'd say they’d teach you quiet generosity by offering you the opportunity to take a look at their sleaky private parts.
There are women with big or tiny legs; rich and poor who give the impression that they have the umbilical cord of the universe between their teeth. They wouldn’t say a word to you, as if by some mystery, you have come to share their fate. And that’s better.
I don’t know when I became white— it happens when people live close to one another; when days go by in great numbers and become so muddled up that they get confusing. One day the weather is awesome; the next day it is awful, and we, white women, black women, at times winter, at times summer.
We dare not take our eyes off the ground for fear of stepping on dog droppings on the sidewalks. If I’d taken my eyes off the ground, from time to time, just at the right moments, maybe it would have dawned on me that sometimes there’s light in the clouds; at times there’s darkness in the sun. Times have changed; much is still to come; only the future should preoccupy us.
Indeed, for the sake of the future we workout inside the gym; our beauty wilts in sauna baths; we crush tons of fat because with bare bones we’ll look attractive to men, as if they were dogs. We pant, legs up in the air, chuckle, and when one of them manages to get hold of one of us he brags about her unusually skinny body at parties: “Have you met my new girlfriend? A real model!” he would whisper, excited and contented.
Nelson Mandela Convalescent in his Native Village
(Translated from French by Dr. Peter Vakunta)
S.O.S Bertrand Teyou!
Like all brutal dictators the world over, President Paul Biya of Cameroon continues to tighten his grip on power by having recourse to ruthless suppression of the basic freedoms of Cameroonians. Lambo Pierre Roger Sandjo (a.k.a Lapiro de Mbanga) is languishing in the New Bell Central prison in Douala for daring to compose a song titled Constitution Constipée (Constipated Constitution)[i] in which he castigates the Cameroonian Legislature for fiddling with the supreme law of the land to suit the whims and caprices of the executive. Pius Njawé, owner of the Le Messager group of newspapers, and head of the Press Free Media Group who died under mysterious circumstances last year in the United States of America had a record number of 126 incarcerations under the nefarious Biya regime! Joe la Conscience, Loum-based musician and freedom fighter, also came under the axe of Mr. Biya’s demented soldiers not too long ago. His teenage son was shot to death by the Cameroonian military. Joe la Conscience’s only crime was that he dared to organize a one-man nonviolent protest against attempts to scrap presidential term limits from the Cameroonian constitution. In February 26, 2010, three journalists, namely Harry Robert Mintya of the weekly Le Devoir, Bibi Ngota of Cameroon Express and Serge Bobouang of La Nation were arrested and are now languishing in jail, awaiting trial after they published a document in which the Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, Laurent Esso, is said to have urged the manager of the country’s hydro carbon corporation (SNH) to pay some commission worth $3million for the purchase of a ship. Last month, Kah Walla, a presidential hopeful, was subjected to a snake beating by Biya’s super-brutal military following an abortive uprising in Douala intended to send a clear message of exasperation to Biya who has been in power since 1982! The list is interminable. Popaul’s latest victim is Bertrand Teyou, committed writer and human rights activist. Teyou is leaking his wounds in the notorious New Bell maximum security prison after publishing two books, L'Antécode Biya (Biya Anti-Code) and La Belle de la République bananière: Chantal Biya, de la rue au palais"(The Belle of a Banana Republic, Chantal Biya, from the Street to the Palace). What follows is an interview he granted Patrice Nganang from his prison cell in New Bell where he is serving a two-year term.
Patrice Nganang: Hello Bertrand! How are you?
Bertrand Teyou: I am okay. Listen, I am not despondent. I am upbeat because I know that the act that has landed me in jail is a just cause. I wrote a book to express my feelings on the status quo in Cameroon, my homeland. My incarceration is, thus, attributable to my attempt to express myself freely. I have health problems due to the terrible meals I eat here. I have come down with hemorrhoid and mucus. My stomach is infected. The doctor has written a medical report in which he recommends special diets.
Patrice Nganang: How are you treating yourself medically?
Bertrand Teyou: I have access to the Douala General Hospital. Each time I have a medical appointment, I am escorted there. I have to pay for everything, including the person that escorts me to the hospital. When I don’t have the money to pay, I postpone my appointments. I find it absurd that a prisoner has to pay for an escort. This is corruption! I pay to be given a place to sleep in prison. If I don’t pay, I will be made to sleep in mud containing garbage. If I did not have money to pay for a sleeping place, they would have made me sleep in the yard.
Patrice Nganang: Where do you get money?
Bertrand Teyou: From the little savings I had made before being arrested and sent to prison. But I am now broke, to tell you the truth.
Patrice Nganang: Do you have legal assistance— attorney or legal counsel?
Bertrand Teyou: No, I don’t have an attorney at this point in time. I had a lawyer to defend me for the first book but don’t have one for the second one. All lawyers are scared. Chantal is a bigger threat than her husband in Cameroon. When I write a book about Chantal Biya I am arrested but no one bothered me after the publication of my first book on Paul Biya.
Patrice Nganang: What’s your greatest need at the moment?
Bertrand Teyou: My most urgent need is to pay my fine, the more so because my health is deteriorating with each passing day. I am wearing a diaper as I talk to you right now because I am bleeding profusely. I had to resort to diapers as a preventive measure. The most urgent need for me now is to get out of this dreadful situation which is taking a hash toll on health. The second point I would like to make is that the sale of my books has not been prohibited. We could find ways to sell my books in Cameroon and overseas, given that there has been no formal ban on these books.
Patrice Nganang: You say your books have not been banned?
Bertrand Teyou: The books have not been banned. Sales outlets have been intimidated but have not been prevented from selling my books. A ruling of the Court did not affect the sale of my books. I inquired from the judge and she asserted that books cannot be censored in Cameroon. However, there are intimidation tactics being employed to impound my books. My office in Akwa has been ransacked, but these are mere intimidation maneuvers given that my books have not been legally prohibited in Cameroon. So they can be sold.
Patrice Nganang: What pushed you to write this book?
Bertrand Teyou: My book is the free expression of a citizen. I hold no grudge again the First Lady but I refuse to live in a country where she has excessive control over the lives of citizens. I cannot stand the fact that our country is rotten and no one seems to be bothered about doing something to turn things around. We are entitled to rise against the injustice that is crippling our country. We cannot let evil go unquestioned. This is the attitude I adopt in my writing. The struggle continues in spite of the travails I am going through right now. Each hurdle reinvigorates me. This system is bad for everyone.
Patrice Nganang: So, you stand by your books?
Bertrand Teyou: I acknowledge the fact that I have been excessive in my self-expression but this is the normal reaction to expect from a citizen overwhelmed with discontent. I was expressing my discontent after having been persecuted for publishing my first book. So, this book is the expression of my dissatisfaction with what is going on in Cameroon, especially the macabre system that gives Chantal Biya the leeway to treat people around her with extreme cruelty.
Whipping Up Anti-French Sentiments is a Distraction!
- No football match can be won if there are nets in all the nooks and crannies of the stadium; no battle can be won if the assault is launched in all directions at the same time. History has no record of such incidents. Our primordial goal at this juncture should be to chase Biya away from the helm. He will go! In this light, any agitation against the French is a very naïve distraction. Worse still, this will serve as a cynical tool at the disposal of those who want Biya, aged 80, to remain in power for seven more years. France would view anti-French uprisings in Cameroon as an opportunity to employ its classic stratagem: ask all its citizens (who in the most part are indeed Cameroonians!) to leave Cameroon; send its supposedly empty aircraft to Cameroon to evacuate its citizens as they did in Chad in February 2008 when Idriss Deby found himself in the throes of an uprising that engulfed Ndjamena. France would use this excuse to infiltrate our country and use its troops based in chad and Gabon to protect Biya. Let it be crystal clear that a president like Biya, who cannot even guarantee the security of his own sub-divisional officers and soldiers at Bakassi but promises 25000 jobs to the youths for the simple purpose of currying their votes, is a leader at the end of his tether.
- Cameroon has an Anglophone minority that has been in the forefront of the struggle for change in the country since 1990. Committing acts of violence against French interests in Cameroon would stifle the pulsating heartbeat of this struggle and alienate some Francophones who would jump to the conclusion that it is once again the ‘anglos who are fomenting unrest.’ We must not lose sight of the fact that several Francophones, including the elite of opposition parties, have close ties with France just as Biya and his cohorts do. I will cite the case of our illustrious Mongo Beti, who as we all know, had French citizenship. Attacking French interests in Cameroon would result in the same fiasco that brought a popular majority uprising in Cameroon in the past to a premature end and has never been resuscitated for 20 years. Let us not commit this tactical blooper again!
- Battles are fought and won when they are waged on a common front fueled by solidarity and inclusion of willing combatants. Many French people would not be opposed the ouster of Biya if they are certain they are not the target of a Cameroonian uprising. Putting the French on the horns of a dilemma would make it impossible for them to take sides in the event of a Cameroonian revolution. They would not form networks back at home in support of Biya; they would not put pressure on their government to maintain Biya in power. All hands need to be on deck in our upcoming revolution. Needless to mention the tactical blunder committed in Côte d’Ivoire, especially the gaffes made by Blé Goudé, who after creating a volatile situation, gave France ample opportunity to whip up sentiments of racism and xenophobia in a bid to talk to the international community on the behalf of Côte d’Ivoire, and to finally arrogate to itself the role of spokesperson of the Ivorian crisis.
- Let’s be mindful of the fact that France under Sarkozy is weak and distracted as it is by events in Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, and Egypt and in other climes. Let us give him neither the honor nor the opportunity to interfere in our struggle. On the contrary, we, Cameroonians, should remember that we would win our battle by paying heed to the clarion call of Cameroonian youths who couldn’t care less what France thinks. We shall win by calquing our revolution on the tactical model of Tunisians and Egyptians who for the first time in the history of the African continent, succeeded in overthrowing tyrants using the synergy of a people united behind a common cause. We shall win our battle if we remind ourselves that when France ordered its citizens to leave Tunisia, Tunisians never turned against French people or against France. So, this time around, if we leave the French alone and direct our collective energy against Biya, Bèbèla, he will go!
Biya Will Go!
A Wink at the Cameroonian Soldier
You soldier, are skillful at using a gun; as for me, I have never touched one in my life. However, you are my brother. That is why I am asking you this question: have you watched recent events on TV? Like me, you have seen tyrannized people in Egypt and Tunisia rise to demand the respect of their basic freedoms from oppressors. You have watched Mubarak who has been in power for 30 years like Biya; send the police against his people. You saw how these policemen declined to open fire on their brothers and sisters? You also saw how the Egyptian president sent soldiers with tanks against his people but they refused to shoot at the crowds. Oh, I am sure you also saw how the bewildered president of Egypt sent military aircraft and helicopters against his people; you saw how the military refused to throw bombs on their own brothers and sisters. Certainly, you saw how the president sent his body guards to beat up people when foot soldiers refused to kill in his name. No tyrant abandoned by the military would survive, because the national army represents the people; the more so because every soldier has a brother, sister, mother, father, grandfather, wife, child, cousin who are part and parcel of the people. No soldier can claim to be as attached to the Head of State as he is to his own people; whatever his ethnicity may be.
I am sure you are watching the events in Libya: a Head of State who orders his military to open fire on his compatriots; an army turned against the people. One is not born a soldier; one becomes a soldier. But the true army is the people, don’t you ever forget this. Any armed force that turns against its people, becomes by this token a gang of mange-mille, highway robbers, brigands, militia that deserve to be destroyed. This is what happed in 1984 when the Republican Guard (RG) of our country took sides with coup-plotters that were fighting in defense of Ahidjo who at the time had become a simple citizen. This is what happened in Zaire years ago when the national army transformed itself into a gang of mercenaries at the behest of a tyrant who paid them. In the same vein, this came to pass in Rwanda when the national army committed genocide because they had been incensed by the ethnocentric discourses of the president. Any army that kowtows to the dictates of one person or group automatically loses its national identity; any army that uses live bullets against citizens deserves to be branded a criminal gang. People have the right to defend themselves against an army which rather than protect them, would take the law into their hands and behave like brigands. To fight in self-defense against brigands is a legitimate manifestation of the sublime courage of citizens.
Cameroonians are coming out of their slumber! Soldier, on February 23 you stalled the uprising of the Cameroonian people. The populace from which the army, gendarmerie and police hail is valiant. Lest you forget, these are the people who in 1940, formed the first line of defense comprising 40,000 soldiers and fought behind Leclerc to liberate France from the throes of Nazi occupation. It is our brothers, fathers, grandfathers, coming from different ethnic groups in the country that traversed forests, steppes, and deserts to get to Kouffra, Bir Harkeim and Strasbourg in order to fight on the side of Charles de Gaulle to free France from the tyranny of Pétain. It is the Cameroonian people, in other words, us, who at one point in our history preferred to fight with dane guns, at times with empty hands in the dark forests of Bassaland and Bamilike plateaus instead of succumbing to the dictates of Ahidjo who was sentenced to death in our country as we all know. This 20 year-old battle might have remained buried in the crevices of your minds, nonetheless, suffice it to note that those who were in the forefront of this movement were hailed as national heroes in 1990 because they were progenies of the people.
If the Cameroonian army really wants to be seen as a true reflection of the historic courage of the people unfazed by tyranny, it should not aid and abet the oppression of Cameroonians. Thirty years under one president, now, that is tyranny! Biya is our common enemy! Like you, soldier, the large majority of Cameroonians has not known any other president but Biya. If the choice of the people had been respected this state of affairs would have changed twenty years ago. The real problem in Cameroon today is the army. In 2008, our military used denigrating epithets such as ‘outlaws’ and ‘vandals’ to describe our younger brothers fighting for their basic rights; in 2000 during the operational commands every youth was a bandit in the eyes of the military; in 1990 while beating the living daylights out of students, soldiers kept repeating the phrase ‘the first school leaving certificate is worthier than the GCE Advanced Level certificate’. On February 23 this year, it is you soldier, yes you again, who took to the streets to defend the despot. During historic moments in our history, it is always soldiers who have turned their guns on the Cameroonian people. Irony of sorts, unlike Ben Ali, Mubarak, and Ghaddafi, Biya is not even a soldier. Soldier, why are you bent on protecting him? Before Biya, there was a Cameroonian army; after Biya, there will be a Cameroonian army. Don’t forget soldier, policeman, and gendarme that the true valor of a member of the armed force is not measured by the number of compatriots he has killed; but rather by the number of enemy forces he has routed. The strength of the Cameroonian army will never be measured by the number of Cameroonians they have killed or beaten. Soldier, the day you will finally stand with the Cameroonian people, like your peers in Tunisia and Egypt, who are not less honorable and dutiful, Biya and his cohort will take to their heels and the people will embrace you. Bèbèla.
Mubarak resigns: International community rejoices
Translated from French by Dr. Peter Vakunta
President Hosni Mubarak decided today, Friday February 11, 2011 to resign. In power since 1981, the Egyptian leader bowed to pressure from the Egyptian people and the international community, relinquishing power and ceding leadership of the country to the military. The United Nations, European Union, United States and several chancelleries have welcomed the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
The official announcement of his resignation came from Vice-President Omar Suleiman at 6:00pm local time. Pressure from the streets got the better of Hosni Mubarak. This Friday evening, February 11, 2011, after eighteen days of mass protests the Egyptian opposition finally got what they have been clamoring for: Mubarak’s departure from power. Tahrir Square is in a jubilant mood. With one voice, the West has welcomed the departure of ex-President Mubarak.” The voice of the Egyptian people has been heard, “says gleeful UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
American President, Barack Obama, has added his voice by calling upon the military now at the helm in Egypt to lift the state of emergency and lay the ground work for a peaceful transition to democracy through free and fair elections. Speaking from the White House, the president reiterated the fact that his country remains a friend and partner to Egypt and would provide the help necessary for transition to democracy. “It’s a historic day today,” Vice President Joe Biden said.
Nicolas Sarkozy lauded the courageous and much desired decision taken by Hosni Mubarak, and called for free and fair elections in Egypt. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, talked of “a historic change.”
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, called for a democratic civilian government. “Mubarak has heard the cry of the Egyptian people,” said Catherine Ashton, head of the European Diplomatic Mission.
The European Union: the voice of the Egyptian people has been heard
For Catherine Ashton, the voice of the people of Egypt has been heard. In her view, this event opens doors for more rapid and profound reforms. On his part, European Union’s representative for external relations observes that it is desirable to accelerate dialogue leading to a broad-based representative government that respects the aspirations of protesters. Over and above, Catherine Ashton has called upon Egyptian leaders to respect fundamental freedoms and human rights and expressed the wish that people who engage in unlawful acts will be investigated and brought to book.
On his part, President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, expresses concern about the long-term ramifications of recent happenings in Egypt. He wishes that this would be the beginning of sustainable change in the country. He further expresses his conviction that the evolution of events would remain peaceful and democratic. With perceptible lyricism, Jerzy Buzek urges Egyptians to “water and tend the tree of liberty they have just planted.” It goes without saying that Europeans are now trying to speak in unison. What the world wants to see at this juncture is how they contribute to the realization of the change they desire for Egypt.
Switzerland makes an unprecedented first move
Shortly after the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the Swiss government took the decision to freeze all funds that the president might have placed in its banks. All financial institutions in Switzerland have been asked to disclose all monies placed in their coffers by the former president and to freeze the funds. Attempts will be made to distinguish funds belonging to the Egyptian government from those owned by the Mubarak family. The goal is to stop the president from transferring the loot, if there has been looting, elsewhere thereby making the task of restitution onerous. For several days now, information that could not be confirmed at this stage has been circulating about the misappropriation of sums of money ranging from $40 to $70 billion. Numerous publications, including The Guardian of London and the Geneva Tribune have cited these astronomical amounts in the course of this week. A good portion of these sums might have been placed in Swiss bank UBS and banks in England and Scotland.
Israel hopes to see a peaceful transition
“One can anticipate a peaceful transition to democracy in Egypt and neighboring countries,” said an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday in the evening. The Jewish State is, undoubtedly, reassured, for the time being, of the success of the transition process in Egypt: continuity via the military and vice-president Suleiman; a continuity that leaves intact the 1979 peace accord between Israel and Egypt. This state of affairs does not entirely allay the fears of the Jewish State which dreads the possibility of seeing a country that was, hitherto, a friend turn into an enemy. This is what happened when Iran, Israel’s ally became an enemy in the wake of the Islamic Revolution. If history were to repeat itself with Egypt, nothing would ever be the same again, militarily, politically, economically…
On the Palestinian side:
News about Mubarak’s resignation was greeted with shouts of joy in Ramallah in Cisjordania as well as the Gaza Strip. In Gaza where Hamas controls the territory, there is talk about the “beginning of victory.” Palestinian Hamas, which is affiliated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, is already calling for the immediate raising of the siege in the Gaza Strip. This Islamist group does not veil its satisfaction to see Hosni Mubarak depart. For them, Mubarak symbolizes peace with Israel, proximity with the West, and participation in the blockade of Gaza.
Tunisians, who arrogate to themselves the role of precursors in the struggle for liberty, share the joy of Egyptian protesters.
WHY TRANSLATION IS IMPORTANT AND WHY ALTA, THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRANSLATORS' ASSOCIATION IS VALUABLE: AN INTERVIEW WITH TRANSLATOR, DR. PETER VAKUNTA OF THE DEFENSE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE, MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA, USA
Translated from French by Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta
Source : http://www.rfi.fr/ameriques/20110515-le-patron-fmi-dominique-strauss-kahn-garde-vue-agression-sexuelle
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Director of IMF was arrested on Saturday May 14 at the JFK Airport in New York on his way to France. Accused of alleged sexual harassment of a female hotel employee, he is being detained at a police station in New York at present. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is one of the political heavy weights in France viewed as a possible candidate for the Socialist Party during the upcoming 2012 presidential elections.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested aboard an Air France aircraft bound for Paris at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport by security agents in charge of the ports in New York and New Jersey and handed over to the Manhattan police.
The Director of IMF is accused of sexually harassing a female employee at the Sofitel Hotel in Times Square in New York on Saturday morning. The IMF in Washingston is yet to react to this breaking news.
Mr.Dominique Strauss-Kah was scheduled to attend a conference of Finance Ministers of the Euro Zone in Brussels, and later give a talk on Wednesday at the 12th Economic Forum organized by the European Commission in Brussels.
The next day he was going to deliver a paper titled « International Recovery and Cooperation: Challenges to Surmount » at the Peterson Institute in Washington on the subject of international economics. Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been Director of the IMF since 2007. Though he has not announced his decision to run for elections as a candidate for the Socialist Party, opinion polls have placed him top on the list.
By Simo Bobda, University of Yaoundé I, and Innocent Fassé Mbouya, University of Douala (Translated from French by Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta)
How do Anglophones and Francophones identify themselves and perceive each other in Cameroon? One of the salient aspects of Cameroon’s colonial heritage is its official languages—French and English. These two languages harbor two occidental cultures (English and French). Cameroonians who speak these languages in addition to 286 indigenous languages have two sub-identities, two personalities, and two supra-cultures (Anglo-Saxon and French) that do not always cohabitate harmoniously. Today, as Cameroonians celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the country’s independence from colonial masters, and the reunification of Anglophone and Francophone Cameroons, there is need to take a keen look at the perceptions and attitudes that Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians have toward each other. To do this, two researchers, both professors, have carried out a socio-linguistic survey involving more than two hundred adult speakers of English and French, all students at the Universities of Yaoundé 1 and Douala. The fairly interesting results obtained from the study are striking in several respects, not least of which is the way members of one linguistic subgroup perceive members of the other subgroup.
Objectives and methodology of the study
The aim of this study was to scientifically elicit responses to several questions, notably the manner in which members of one linguistic community perceive members of the other linguistic community; how each community defines its members; and finally, the degree to which each of these communities is tolerant or intolerant toward members of the other linguistic community. To this end, questionnaires containing 22 questions were distributed to 240 Cameroonian students at the Higher Teachers’ Colleges of the University of Douala and Yaoundé 1. In total, 209 Anglophone and Francophone students of both sexes actually completed and returned their questionnaires. The results show that more Francophones than Anglophones completed the questionnaires. However, more female than male Anglophones responded to the questions. On the Francophone side, more men than women responded. These disparities could be explicated by the fact that on the national level, there are more Francophones than Anglophones in Cameroon. Moreover, this survey was conducted in two French-speaking cities (Douala and Yaoundé). The male/female dynamics in both groups are a matter of pure coincidence. Given that the focus of this study was not gender, the disparities that were noted in each group were not given undue consideration.
An analysis of the findings engendered some noteworthy facts presented here. For the purpose of clarity, findings for both groups are presented concomitantly. Thus, for each question, the opinions and attitudes of Anglophones and Francophones will be juxtaposed followed by analyses and/or remarks made by the researchers.
- How do Anglophones and Francophones identify themselves?
- A person whose parents originate from the North-West or South-West regions (82.3% agreed; 13.8% disagreed, and 3.4% abstained);
- A person who has studied in the Anglophone system but whose parents are neither from the South-West nor from the North-West (47.1% agreed, 50.6 disagreed, and 2.3% abstained);
- A person who hails from the North-West or South-West even if s/he is not proficient in English(66.7% agreed; 31.0%disagreed, and 2.3% abstained);
- A person who is from the North-West or South-West even if s/he studied in the Francophone system(52.9% agreed; 43.7% disagreed, and 3.4% abstained);
- A person who masters and utilizes English as his/her main functional tool even if s/he is not from the North-West or South-West(32.2% agreed; 62.1% disagreed, and 5.7% abstained);
- A person whose parents originate from a region other than the North-West or South-West (71.3% agreed; 26.21% disagreed, and 2.5% abstained);
- A person who has studied in the Francophone education system even if his parents are from the North-West or South-West(66.4% agreed 32.8% disagreed; and 0.8% abstained);
- A person who hails from the North-West or South-West but is proficient in French and uses it as his main functional tool (37.9% agreed; 52.9% disagreed, and 9.2% abstained);
- A person who originates from a Francophone region but is not proficient in French (51.7% agreed; 36.8% disagreed, and 11.5% abstained).
How do Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians judge each other?
To properly gauge reality, the researchers provided a scale of traits in the questionnaire in a bid to facilitate the task for respondents. For example, to respond to the question relating to “good education/civility”, respondents had to choose from the following options: “highly educated”, “well educated”, “poorly educated”, “and very poorly educated”.
Certain stereotypes common among Francophone Cameroonians led the researchers to include this criterion. The stereotypes include: “Anglophones are always on the odd side of things or are always awkward”. This expression often refers to the general comportment, worldview and style of dress of Anglophones. Reponses to questions in the questionnaire show clearly that Anglophones have the same impression about their Francophone compatriots given that 60% of respondents from both linguistic communities believe that the others are not elegant.
On work ethics
A striking disparity was observed here: while the great majority of Francophones (69.7%) believe that Anglophones are hard-working, and up to 12.3% of Francophones consider Anglophones very hardworking, only 23.0% of Anglophones viewed Francophones as hard-working. A mere 1.1% of Anglophones considered Francophones hard-working. Given that questions in this section of the study are based essentially on stereotypes, the researchers were not particularly keen on obtaining justifications for respondents’ value judgments.
The trend of responses in this rubric is similar to the aforementioned. In other words, Francophones have a strong tendency to perceive Anglophones in a positive light whereas Anglophones perceive Francophones negatively. Furthermore, the researchers noted one other point of divergence in favor of Anglophones. While a significantly large majority of Anglophones(87.4%) regard Francophones as corrupt, in fact, 58.9% consider them very corrupt, and 27.6% corrupt, more than half the number of Francophone respondents (54 out of 91)view Anglophones as honest people.
Members of the two linguistic communities also passed value judgments on each other based on the criterion of competence at work. The results obtained confirmed the negative perception that Anglophones have of Francophones in Cameroon. The contrary remains true regarding the perception of Anglophones by Francophone Cameroonians.
In fact, as the figures indicate, while half the number of Francophones considers Anglophones competent (53.3%), up to 70.1% of Anglophones consider Francophones incompetent.
Dr.Vakunta is professor of Modern Languages at the Defense Language Institute, California-USA http://www.vakunta.blogspot.com/
Biography of the poet
Les Etats Unis fait semblant de vouloir écouter les Africains et de prendre des mesures nécessaires visant à contrecarrer l’avancée chinoise en Afrique. La stratégie américaine du jour, dite Stratégie Nationale de Sécurité (SNS), met “le plus grand accent sur le renforcement des capacités bilaterales et multilatérales ayant afin de rendre aux démocracies naissantes des services qui répondent aux exigencies des citoyens, étant donné que la démocratie n’aurait aucune chance de survivre sans développement.” La SNS a dit sans ambages que “les Etats Unis ferait tout pour demeurer un partenaire attrayant et de poids en s’assurant que les priorités des pays africains tels que le développement infrastructurel, l’amélioration d’acces aux ressources énergétiques, et les meilleurs accords régissant le commerce et les investissements soient placés en haut de la liste de ses engagements.
o Univers du discours
I. Usage de la langue
La traduction ne se limite pas au remplacement des mots dans la langue de départ (LD) avec des mots équivalents dans la langue d’arrivée (LA). La traduction se focalise sur le sens, notamment sur la signification des énoncés dans la LD et la LA. Autrement dit, le traducteur est censé dépasser le niveau langagier du texte et rechercher plutôt l’équivalent sémantique des mots qui peuplent le texte sur lequel il travaille.
Sur le plan idéologique du texte à traduire, il convient de noter que ce qui est acceptable dans la LD n’est pas forcément acceptable dans la culture de la LA. Cela veut dire qu’il revient au traducteur peaufiner les concepts afin de les amener à un niveau idéologiquement acceptable dans la LA.
Parfois , il est s’avère difficile pour un traducteur de transposer les données d’un genre de la LD vers un autre genre dans LA. La raison est que l’énonciation poétique d’une écriture est fonction de l’idéologie de l’époque de l’écriture.
IV. Univers du discours
L’univers du discours décrit des éléments linguistiques et extra-linguistiques du texte à traduir. Il arrive que le traducteur fait face aux problèmes au niveau des us et coutumes du texte à traduire, d’autant plus que chaque texte est soutenu par le contexte socio-culturel du discours. Pour souligner l’importance des niveaux de la traduction, Lefevere fait l’analyse du poème de Catullus (pp.89-93). La traduction va du latin vers l’anglais. Il s’agit d’un poète fort comique comme vous l’avez constaté. D’après Lefevere, la traduction de ce poème n’est pas fidèle à cause des considérations idéologiques.
Matière à réflexion:
Que pensez-vous de l’emploi des termes militaires dans la traduction de ce poème? Quelle signification ont-ils? On y voit des termes comme: pip emma, Roger, send a runner, attention, number one dress. Lefevere les qualifie de “professiolect.”
© Vakunta 2013
Translators are often confronted with problems of different kinds in their trade. More often than not, they resort to different strategies in an attempt to overcome or circumvent translation hurdles. Below is a discussion of some translation techniques that translators have used over the years.
‘Borrowing’ is taking words straight from another language. Borrowed terms often pass into general usage. For example, English words such as “weekend”, “camping”, and more have become part and parcel of French usage. Borrowing occurs for different reasons. The common reason is that the target language has no equivalents. For example, the first man-made satellites were Soviet, so for a time they were known in English, French, and other world languages as "sputniks".
Calquing is literal translation at phrase level. Sometimes calques work, sometimes they don't. Calquing is common in specialized translation, in fields such as, information technology, science, quality assurance, life insurance and more.
3. Literal Translation
Literal translation means translating just what the statement says. For example, la vie est courte=life is short. Sometimes literal translation works; sometimes it doesn't. For example, the French sentence below cannot be translated into English literally: A malin malin est demi=takes a thief to catch a thief.
This is the translation process whereby parts of speech get interchanged. Grammatical structures are not often identical in different languages. For example, "She likes swimming" translates as "Elle aime nager.” Notice that the gerund “swimming” is rendered as a verb “nager.” This is because gerunds and infinitives work in different ways in English and French. Transposition is often in translation from English to French because of the position of the verb in the sentence structure. English wants the verb up near the front; French can have it closer to the end.
A modulation involves a change, not in grammatical categories, but in terms of worldview. Jones (1997) notes that a change in categories of thought may entail a switch from concrete to abstract, from cause to effect, or cause to effect. Examples include: un bourreau de travail=a workaholic; un avant-project= a first draft; un cours de rattrapage=a remedial course; heures de pointe=rush hours and more.
6. Reformulation (sometimes known as équivalence)
Here you have to express something in a completely different way, for example when translating idioms or, even advertising slogans. The process is creative, but not always easy. It is also called equivalence. Equivalence is defined as “a set message modulation” (Jones, 1997, P.105).Translators generally recognizes the need for equivalence from the context of the message to be translated. For example, the meaning of the French expression “C’est moi” would be dependent on the situation in which it was used: C’est a moi de jouer, (it’s my turn); c’est a moi de trouver une solution (it’s up to me), etc.
An adaptation is used when all else has failed. It is therefore not literal translation. Adaptation is tantamount to carrying a concept over and across the barriers of language and civilization and trying to make sense of something that is totally foreign to the linguistic group one is translating for. An example would be looking for an equivalent for snow in a text that is meant for a readership for whom is snow is not an existential reality.
This is a rather amorphous term, but in general it is used to describe a situation where something cannot be translated from source to target language, and the meaning that is lost in the immediate translation is expressed somewhere else in the TT. Fawcett defines it as: "...making good in one part of the text something that could not be translated in another". (1997, p.31-3).One example given by Fawcett is the problem of translating nuances of formality from languages which use forms such as tu and vous into English which only has 'you' and expresses degrees of formality in different ways.
NB: For a more complete description of existing definitions and classifications of translation techniques, read the article Translation Techniques at http://www.ice.urv.es/trans/future/sample/techniques.html]: