National Integration: The Perception Of Socio Cultural Dimension

National identity is the sentiment that one proves of belonging to a nation. This sentiment is according to individuals. For sociology, it is an interiorization of identities resulting to the permanent visibility “common points” of the nation, which can take the forms of symbols. This visibility is in general organized voluntarily by the state so that individuals can know more about their childhood.

Emmanuel Ngota

The concept of national identity also designates the all “common characteristics” between persons who recognize themselves as belonging to one nation. The Cameroon national identity can be perceived as an observable and living reality. For those met in the universities, this concept is at the same time stable and dynamic. It is a plural and diverse identity which is in accordance with the plural and diversified character of the Cameroon society. She contributes in attaining unity which based on the Cameroon diversity. The Cameroon identity is pointed up by a diversified and plurality cultural context. It is manifested through a double colonial heritage. She offers an opportunity for Cameroonians to be able to live together which helps to avoid disputes. The perceptibility of a Cameroonian identity has to come from the fact that Cameroon like all other nations have a great cultural identity which distinguishes them from the other nations.

In the preparatory works for the elaboration of the document on the vision 2035, three obstacles in view of the realization of national integration, two were based on defining the Cameroon identity: the elaboration of a national consensus of common values (customs and traditions) shared and the subsequent adoption of an ethic code integrating these values, in conformity with the President’s speech on strictness and moralization. Through this, culture and other cultural elements, traditions are called to manifest what we do in our everyday life in our institutions and the personality.

The social domain of national integration relates to the expression of belonging by a group or an individual to other groups or individuals or to the national community at large.  There exist some vectors of the Cameroonian identity, such as fairy-tale and legends (oral literature, works of arts, handicraft, sports, culture, history, culinary arts….)  In light of the data collected from the field, sports, especially football, effectively demonstrates the Cameroonian identity because it participates in the maintenance of national cohesion.

With regards to this, the performance of the Indomitable Lions in the 1990 Football World Cup enhanced national unity in the 90s, while the nation witnessed social upheavals. Some other elements that contribute to the Cameroonian identity are: Bilingualism, Solidarity, Dressing code and Culinary arts. As concerns culinary arts, we noticed that it is the pride of the Cameroonian people, since the various traditional dishes of the different regions are accepted, adopted and eaten within and without our national boundaries.  However, in order to recognize the existence of the Cameroonian identity, it is necessary that all the necessary elements/vectors be sufficiently harmonized and consensual in order to entice all Cameroonians. Yet, in spite of the pride nursed by Cameroonians for some of their symbols (for instance, the Indomitable Lions), we observe that the vectors capable of effectively integrating Cameroonians are those that have been imported from abroad (during the colonial period), such as the English and French languages.

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