Petitioning for our Rights, Fighting for our Nation. The History of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women, 1949-1960
170 Pages
English
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Petitioning for our Rights, Fighting for our Nation. The History of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women, 1949-1960

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Gain access to the library to view online
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170 Pages
English

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Thousands of Cameroonian women played an essential role in the radically anti-colonial nationalist movement led by the Union of the Populations of Cameroon (UPC): they were the women of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women (UDEFEC). Drawing on women nationalists� petitions to the United Nations, one of the largest collections of political documents written by African women during the decolonization era, as well as archival research and oral interviews, this work shows how UDEFEC transcended ethnic, class, education and social divides, and popularized nationalism in both urban and rural areas through the Trust Territories of the Cameroons under French and British administration. Foregrounding issues such as economic autonomy and biological and agricultural fertility, UDEFEC politics wove anti-imperial democracy and notions of universal human rights into locally rooted political cultures and histories. UDEFEC�s history sheds light on the essential components of women�s successful political mobilization in Africa, and contributes to the discussion of women�s involvement in nationalist movements in formerly colonized territories.

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Published 16 January 2013
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EAN13 9789956728558
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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Petitioning PetitioningForOurRights For, Our Rights FightingForOurNation : ,The History of the Democratic Fighting Union of Cameroonian Women, 1949-1960 For Our NationMeredithTerretta
Meredith Terretta
Petitioning For Our Rights, Fighting For Our Nation: The History of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women, 1949-1960 Meredith TerrettaLangaa Research & Publishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookcollective.com ISBN:9956-728-05-5 ©Meredith Terretta 2013
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
Table of Contents Preface………………………………………………….. v Acknowledgements……………………………………... vii Abbreviations……………………………………………ix Chapter 1 Introduction Cameroonian Women and the Writing of Popular Nationalism…..1Chapter 2 Ruben Um Nyobé and the Multi-Layered Origins of the UPC and UDEFEC………………………………………………..31Chapter 3 UDEFEC’s Political Awakening………………………….. 47Chapter 4 The Official Ban of the Nationalist Movement, and Reorganization in the Maquis……………………………………………….. 65Chapter 5 City to Village: The Rejection of the Colonial Curse…………… 87Chapter 6 Conclusion Towards a Nation of Outsiders…………………………….. 125Bibliography……………………………………………..  145
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Preface The absence of women in the history of Cameroon has been a cause for concern for Cameroonian women and feminists. There have been speculations about their involvement in anti-colonial struggles in the 1950s especially in scheming with or hiding men or in transporting arms, but existing historical studies have not foregrounded the role of women. Cameroon and African feminists have been thirsty for concrete information to prove the active participation of women in the struggle for independence. This book comes as a thirst quencher by showing that, far from occupying marginal positions, Cameroonian women played a central role in the history of Cameroonian and African politics. Meredith Terretta has shown, in her analysis of the Democratic Union of Cameroonian Women (UDEFEC) that Cameroonian women, although largely illiterate, PETITIONED FOR OUR RIGHTS AND FOUGHT FOR OUR NATION. THEY served as intermediaries between the burgeoning collective imagination of emancipation from foreign rule and the practical realization of that emancipation. The UDEFEC women -working at home, in the markets, in the fields, in city shops, colonialists’ households, or schools – actively helped to reshape social ideology until the nationalist message became something “thinkable” even in the humblest village home. They contributed to the fight for independence through petitions written to the United Nations, through their organization of street protests, through their participation in political meetings. Cameroonian women contributed to socio-
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economic as well as political change in independence era Cameroon. Dr Atanga, Lem Lilian, Senior Lecturer, Gender and Discourse Studies Department of African Studies, University of Dschang, Cameroon
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Acknowledgments Funding from the Global Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison enabled me to conduct preliminary research in 1999 upon which this work is based. The Jacob K. Javits Fellowship and the University Fellowship from the Graduate School and the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison also provided support for the research, course work, and writing of this work. In Cameroon, I thank the many who supported me in putting together this work: Winsome Bammel, Marceline Betene, Monita and Perry Burtch, Emmanuel Chia, Odile Chatap-Ekindi, Camille Ekindi, Henriette Ekwe, his majesty the lateFoof Bandenkop, Basile Louka, Gérard and Feze Rebecca Mbarga, Marie-Irène Ngapeth-Biyong, Kathleen Ngu-Blanchett, Mafo Claude Njiké-Bergeret, the Ondos, Dieudonné Pouhe Pouhe, Maurice Takam, Nicaise Ngayo Teclaire, Jean-Bosco Tchientchieu of theArchives Nationales de Yaoundé, Jules Wache, and his majesty the lateFoTchatchouang Waton of Bangwa. In France, I am grateful to Marc Michel and Chantal Ndami. In Madison, I thank Edward Duesterhoeft who aided me in negotiating the micro-print series, Professor Stanlie James who brought the Memorial Union Library’s collection to my attention, and Beth Harper who helped me find my way around the unwieldy UN indexes. For all kinds of aid and encouragement at various times during this project, academic, editorial and otherwise I have benefited from the advice and friendship of Florence Bernault, Bolaji Campbell, Martin Daly, Rachel Demotts, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Becky and Larry Ingle, Stanlie James, Ousman Kobo, Dior Konate, Emilie Ngo-vii
Nguidjol, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Peter Quella, Ryan Ronnenberg, Penelope Pack, Michael Schatzberg, Aliko Songolo, Cheryl Sterling, Stephen Volz, Peter Quella, and Tresor Yoassi.
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Abbreviations ALNK Armée de Libération Nationale du Kamerun CGT Confédération Générale du Travail CNO Comité National d’Organisation ESOCAM Evolution sociale camerounaise JDC Jeunesse démocratique camerounaise JEUCAFRA Jeunesse camerounaise française MDC Mouvement démocratique camerounais MRP Mouvement républicain populaire PCF Parti communiste français RDA Rassemblement démocratique africain UDEFEC Union démocratique des Femmes camerounaises UDHR Universal Declaration of Human Rights UNGA United Nations General Assembly UNICAFRA Union camerounaise française UNTC United Nations Trusteeship Council UPC Union des Populations du Cameroun USCC Union des Syndicats Confédérés du Cameroun
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