Daring Traditions That Enslave Women

By Kimeng Hilton Ndukong

The struggle for women’s emancipation and gender equality remains an issue today, decades after it began. Not left out of this discussion are Cameroonian creative writers. The latest contribution to this public discourse is, “Yefon: The Red Necklace,” the novel by Sahndra Fon Dufe, published this year by the Cameroon News and Publishing Company, SOPECAM, Yaounde.

The work was launched at the National Public Reading Room, Yaounde on March 17, 2016, with the General Manager of SOPECAM, Marie Claire Nnana, represented by the company’s Charge d’Affaires, Oyoua Anne Gregoire. The event, which was compered by Eugene Nforngwa, a journalist, had as Chief Launcher, Major Oyieie Jean Roger, representing the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo. Spiced by choral and traditional Nso music, the book launch was attended by several senior military officers.

Speaking at the event, the reviewer and author of the foreword, Verkijika Fanso, a retired Professor of History, noted that what Yefon Labam, the heroine, fought for in the 1940s and 1950s in Nsoland, is what many girls are achieving today. This is evident in the fact that many girls do better in school and careers than boys. According to Oyoua Anne Gregoire, book writing in Cameroon demands much sacrifice to continue to improve. While noting the contributions of SOPECAM to publishing, she felicitated Sahndra Fon Dufe for daring to write a novel that challenges traditions that enslave women.

“It is not by chance that this publication comes a few days after the celebration of the 2016 International Day of the Woman. I appeal to the public to develop the habit of buying and reading books,” she concluded. Sahndra’s father, Col. Fon Dufe, admitted that he was initially skeptical about her creative art career, saying he and the wife were very proud of her today.

“Yefon: The Red Necklace,” tells the story of a young village girl, Yefon Labam, growing up in Nsoland, in Bui Division of the North West Region, in the 1940s and 1950s. Much against the will of most people, save her father, she is determined to go to school, learn English and even do what boys do – like hunting. Propelled by a mystical red necklace given by her father before his death, Yefon ends up achieving her dream of receiving Western education.

This is in spite of the continuous stiff opposition from a tradition that only seeks to keep women in their position of housewives. Aged 25, Sahndra Fon Dufe, is also an actress and brand ambassador for Alissi Bronte Africa. She has featured in numerous international films and commercials. She runs “I Am Yefon,” “a youth empowerment programme, which teaches students how to discover and pursue their life purposes.” After reading Law in the University of Buea, Sahndra travelled to the United States of America where she read Acting.

Source: All Africa