Bernard has been the Managing Director for Big Steps Outreach Network-Cameroon since 2012. He co-published a book; several articles in international journals; and presented over five scientific papers at international conferences across Africa. His research interest includes education, youth, governance, culture, sustainable development in Africa, etc.
Bernard Nsaidzedze Sakah
Multiculturalism and Bilingualism for sustainable development in Cameroon: Myth or Reality?
The Republic of Cameroon is host to about 250 ethnic groups and linguistic heritage as well as two official languages-English and French which are the direct legacy of Cameroon’s colonial experience with Britain and France respectively. As the only bilingual country in Africa, Cameroon is often classed alongside Canada with a similar bilingual nature. However, the bilingual nature of these countries has never been managed in the same way for obvious reasons of socio-cultural and political differences. While the Constitution of Cameroon commits to promoting the two official languages (English and French), and other ‘national languages’, it has remained a mere dream for Cameroonians to see any commendable development of their national languages. The government had long created a Ministry of Arts and Culture, a Programme for the promotion of local languages in schools, Pilot Linguistic Centres, and most recently, the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism with one of the goals to protect and promote all national languages. But the impact of these structures in fostering Cameroon’s national languages for sustainable development remains highly wanting. Findings reveal that national languages like those of the Bamoun and the Nso are great assets and vehicles through which the message of peace, integration, unity, and prosperity that transcend various sustainable development goals and Africa Agenda 2063 could be propagated to the masses. It thus concludes that the government of Cameroon needs to accelerate the process of implementing various programmes on national languages which constitute an asset for peace, unity in diversity, tourism, among various factors that ascertain the country as ‘Africa in miniature’!