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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Whiteman Kontri and the Enduring Allure of Modernity among Cameroonian Youth
Authors:Nyamnjoh, Francis B.ISNI
Page, BenISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Cameroon
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3518469
Abstract:This article gathers together representations of whiteness constructed by young black Cameroonians. It contributes to arguments about white identity by arguing that the meaning of whiteness is, in part, made by Africans. It assembles descriptions of white people and of the 'whiteman kontri' (the West) that are often contradictory and that include both positive and negative judgements. In this respect these ideas reflect both Cameroonian politics and Cameroonian identity. The young Cameroonians whose ideas the authors were interested in were simultaneously drawn to, and exasperated by, a Western vision of modernity. They were despairing of the existing social and political structure in Cameroon and looked beyond national contexts for their dreams. But they were equally sceptical about the justice of the global economic context and articulated their doubts in terms of antagonism towards whites and defence of African identity. The authors contribute to debates about Occidentalism by suggesting that this is a concept that should be used with caution, since by suggesting an equivalent to 'Orientalism' it suggests equality and endorses an essentialized notion of whiteness and blackness, which can undermine attempts to understand the history of relations between Africa and the West. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]