Drama, music, dance, art, poetry, cuisine, fashion, multimedia, visuals and graphic designs are all areas of art and culture that has greatly caught the attention of youths in Cameroon and the North West region in particular. Youths of today are referred to as the “Android generation” because of their active participation in the android world. Reasons why the “traditional generation” often describe them as “Lazy youths”, asking them to leave social media and engage in societal development. Many say youths are not interested in politics, current affairs, religion but only complain about the lapses of the government, than to be pro-active. This has created a form of cold war between youths and the “traditional generation”.
The ongoing RECAN2019 is a cultural hub that provides an opportunity for youths of the NW region to express what they feel, see or hear in our society and to showcase their talents physically and not only on social media.
In a spoken word presented during the launch of the RECANNW2019 by Tanni Desmond Awa (Mottanni), title “A Letter from the Android Generation to our Parents”, the artist takes a critical look into the perceptions and criticism parents make of youths in Cameroon and what the youths are doing about it, for youths have created a world of their own. He talks of power, patriotism, growth, hope, and determination. These are all concepts that are felt by almost every Cameroonian youth on a daily bases, through unemployment, peer pressure, socio-political and economic instability and poverty.
The poem reads;
You think, I don’t like and do not involve in politics
Yes, this is because you have abused power and call it politics
So I prefer and engage in politics on social media and reliable channels
You say I don’t listen to or watch the news or political talk shows or read the newspaper like you so I am not current but I get my news raw as it is on social media like twitter and blogs
You say I do not go to church so I am not committed to religion like you but I prefer to single handedly
study, know, talk and do the word unlike you so your believes don’t get to me but his, for I want to be the church not just go to church
I want to be the miracle not just wait for a miracle
You say I don’t care about my country’s growth and development because alI I do is castigate, help
negate, fail to relate, devaluate it in my eye and that of others.
But if I remember vividly, you are still playing America’s dv lottery and hated Trump for trying give it
another look or modify the price, so if you really love this country like you say you do, why play the lottery
So what if I hash tag everything, use short hand, ignore punctuation, can’t you just understand that tradition only connects us to the past but creativity and innovation links us to the future and we have migrated from not looking at where we have been to looking at where we can be?
Rather than knowing a lot about a little, we have decided it’s better to know a little about a lot for in that we can fit in any sphere and feel comfortable and free
That is why we create businesses online, do marketing, get customers, sell ideas/goods and make profit without having to leave our house or is it too hard for you to understand that staying at home we are working and doing less and achieving more and that does not mean we are lazy?
And yes we have apps to pay electric bills, water bills, buy clothes/shoes and electronics, we even have apps to help us find life partners and yes we know to you that is crazy.
You keep complaining about the world today. Children of nowadays, criticizing my generation, calling us android, advising us to go the farm forgetting who raised us.
You either accept us or reject us but there is no way you are going to make us understand with the
manner in which you address us
Because you keep telling us to look up from our screens and little machines just for us to see you look down on us, it seems
According to you we are the lost generation, so you can stop blaming us for finding something to do whether is posting pictures on snapchat and Facebook that always show our buttocks or us drinking alcohol and smoking always hurting your feelings.
The world is no longer yours, we took away a piece and created our own part so it’s ours
Now we question everything with a “why” before we do, which to you is so annoying
That we spend hours in front of machines, little IPad/IPhone just to find something that please us
And we don’t care about which tribe he/she comes from, his/her religion but we believe in Ubuntu, respect for humanity, and wherever things don’t make sense we question the rules because we believe the rules are meant to be broken and we would rather watch other TV shows like Bad Angel, Rumble, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead because it’s better than that government propaganda you call the news.
Can you blame us for wanting to learn something that we can apply in real life in schools, things like how to give intelligence to our emotions and that all laws can be bent which does not necessary mean being unethical as believed by fools.
I mean I group up learning from you that faced with a challenge, I either fight or flight but we, the android generation is learning to synergize not compromise
We are taking over and hear are our demands
Not that you leave for us exorbitant houses, cash or wealth as heritage but that you listen
For it’s a new day, and even though we grew up in different generations, we are facing the same challenges disguised in different situations
So instead of you saying, I was once young like you so I know exactly what you need to do, you need to think about it
“Is that the kind of reason a younger version of yourself would respond to.”
Just allow yourself to see at the far end and see we are not that different
What if I replace books with Laptops, hardcopy dictionaries with Wikipedia/encyclopedia, emails with letters, androids with ledgers, all the wise men you ever know growing up, Mwalimo Julius Kambareger
Nyerere, Mzee Jumo Kenyatta, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Rolilahla Madiba Mandela, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Patrice Emry Lumuba with Google
May be If I replace Paul Biya with Amadou Adhijo or John Ngu Foncha, Daphney with Grace Decca, Salatiel with Kotto Bass, then may be you may understand our way of thinking.
For in today’s world there is positive and negative, for every plus, there is a minus or may be if you focus more on our multiple successes, we wouldn’t be as divided.
Is my generation worse,
Yes, let’s be honest
But he without sin cast the first stone so please gives us an opportunity to grow for it takes time for a caterpillar to metamorphose into a butterfly, not overnight.
This is the android generation and these are our only demand
Listen and learn to trust us before you judge us
Before criticizing us, remember you raised us
Adapted from Spoken Word by Sullibreak’s Ted talk on AN ODE to the Millennial Generation
Mottanni is also a public speaker and a computer scientist, created this poem from the back drop of the cold war parents usually have with their kids nowadays because parents don’t understand that things are changing and youths don’t understand that, parents have a lot of wisdom to give them.
“My art is design to address this problem so parents should understand that youths are not against them but just that they see things in a different life while taking on their advice. This is to avoid conflict and promote development.” Says Mottanni
The culture of the North West region has been badly hit by the ongoing crisis. Cultural festivals have been halted for years now, palaces have been desecrated, traditional rites violated and cultural artifacts destroyed. The RECAN therefore served as an opportunity for North westerners to revisit their heritage through the various art and cultural activities ongoing at the jamboree.
“Our youths should go back to their roots though we are matching ahead and looking at the future, our roots are very important because if you don’t have a foundation, you don’t have a future – Culture is not as bad as the youth think. There are good and bad aspects of culture but we should pick out those good aspects and make a better future. Knowing culture doesn’t mean you are backwards”. Mottanni added.
RECANNW2019 ends on the 12th of October 2019 with many more youths showcasing their talents.
Maikem Emmanuela Manzie