The African Festival of Emerging Writers recently held in Dschang, Bafoussam and Foumban was a memorable moment of communion and reconciliation with African cultures and History. The 4th Edition of the FESTAE was an opportunity for new African writers to reconcile with their past and open perspectives for an embedded literature identity in Africa.
The festival that kicked opened on February 06, 2019 was rich in literary and cultural events. Under the celebration of King Ibrahim Njoya, the 17th ruler of the Bamun dynasty, the FESTAE has featured many activities among which excursion in many cultural area in the west region of Cameroon.
The opening conference provided by the organisers (CLIJEC) at the Musée des Civilisations à Dschang, proved their intent to inscribe the festival within the framework of reconciling African with their cultures. With an intention to sensitize young writers on their cultural richness. The conference held under the theme “Njoya and the African Cultural Institution” allowed the audience to exchange with scholars and writers on the impact of this illustrious figure of African cultural embodiment, and on the affirmation of African culture dynamism.
As a multifaceted character, King Njoya, the innovator, the writer and the precursor of African renaissance is a “creator of civilisation” with all its artefacts. The presentation of Prof Alain Pangop showcased vast array of realisation, both in term of art and literature of king Njoya, proved the impact of Njoya’s achievement on the affirmation of African cultural flexibility and subtlety. Besides, the presence of emerging writers, on the panel like Djhamidi Bond was a unique occasion to witness what could have been the impact of Njoya’s figure on her writings. Despite the historical vagueness around his figure, King Njoya appears as the pioneer of what can be considered as the real Africanist affirmation.
The festival was also an occasion for the CLIJEC to pay a vibrant tribute to its co-founder, the poet Jean-Claude AWONO. It was an occasion for members of the association to valorise the writer, the poet he is. As traditional ruler, His Majesty Jean-Claude AWONO also contributed to the debate, as he briskly underlined the impact of King Njoya on his writings and on his kingship.