African Studies Quarterly

Volume 12, Issues 3
Summer 2011

Women's Resistance in Cameroon's Western Grassfields: The Power of Symbols, Organization, and Leadership,1957-1961
Henry Kam Kah


The contribution of women in the Bamenda western Grassfields of Cameroon to the struggle for liberation from colonial rule manifested itself in many diverse forms, including mass mobilization, petitions, boycotts, and engagement in overtly hostile acts. The women's revolt in this region was well thought-out and their activities in the different fondoms carefully synchronized. This organization was also the upshot of an authoritative and menacing use of symbols that startled men's institutions like kuiifuai or kwifoyn which out-rightly or tacitly supported the colonial subjugation of women. These were forced into lassitude, and the result was the sovereignty of British Southern Cameroons through reunification with the Republic of Cameroon on 1 October 1961, with the territory renamed the West Cameroon State.


Henry Kam Kah is a Lecturer of History at the University of Buea, Cameroon. His research focuses on gender, globalization, governance, popular music, kinship and culture. His current research is on the feminization of migration in the colonial and post-independence Cameroon and "faces behind the mask" in the women's revolt in the Western Grassfields of Cameroon.


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