By Scholar Maloke (The Star newspaper, Cameroon, March 28th 2011)
Arts and culture in Cameroon, has never been given the place it deserves. Though some journalists endeavour to write articles about arts and culture or cover cultural events, the articles are hardly given spotlights and most at times are replaced with other news items.
In a bid to bring arts and culture reporting which is a very viable industry into limelight, the Director of a Pan-African non-governmental organisation known as AFRICAphonie, Mwalimu George Ngwane, with support from the Commonwealth Foundation, organised a three day workshop in Buea on Arts and Culture Journalism in Cameroon.
Speaking to this reporter, about the idea behind the workshop, Mwalimu George Ngwane said, he would want to see that JMC provides training for future arts and culture journalists who will be a generation that will develop the sector through their writings and reviews of artistic and cultural works to a viable one. He noted that cultural industry in Cameroon has been in the dark for long, an area where people do not pay much attention to thus “it is about time somebody gave it a voice”.
Considering the fact that implementing the course in the University of Buea might take a while, the AFRICAphonie boss said, he thought he should bring in journalists who are already in the field so that they will know how to go about it.
In his keynote address titled “En route to the future through Cultural journalism”, Guest Resource Person, Senior Journalist and Communication Consultant from Ghana, Kwasi Gyan Apenteng said cultural journalism is journalism of the entire human conviction. He noted that “culture is an integrated part of human knowledge and the core of every people thus the lack of depth in reporting cultural journalism shows the lack of knowledge of our culture”. He challenged journalists present to study their cultures so as to be able to sell it to the public. He further mentioned that Cameroon has a rich culture which has to be exploited as there are about 280 ethnic groups.
He further presented a paper on the values of reporting culture, the Ghana experience in which he detailed out some of the ways through which Ghanaian journalists were drilled on culture reporting which includes sharing experiences.
Suzy Bell, journalist and resource person from South Africa, portrayed arts writers as cultural super-heroes or cultural activists.
Other facilitators at the workshop included Profs. George Nyamndi and Kashim Ibrahim Tala, Drs. Raymond Asombang and Fai Donatus Tangem, Telesphore Mba Bizo and the Regional Delegate of Tourism for the South West, Peter Elangwe who all gave presentations on how feasible reporting arts and culture is as it can open many doors to journalists who take it seriously.
By the end of the workshop, the lecturers came out with a short term and long term plan which could be used in teaching arts and culture to journalism students in UB while journalists present committed themselves to give events on arts and culture the place it deserves in their newsrooms.
The workshop was opened by the representative of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea, Prof. Enoh Tanjong, Vice Dean of Academics of the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences in the presence of South West Regional Delegate of Communication, Eno Chris Oben.