Tori Shweet for Cameroon Pidgin English is a compendium of short stories written in Cameroonian creole, commonly called Cameroon Pidgin English (CPE). The grassfields of Cameroon serve as the nursery of these stories.The collection comprises animal trister tales, bird survival tales and human-interest stories.
In conformity with stendhalien ontological philosophy, this anthology of short stories is a mirror that reflects the folklore and mores of the ethnic groups that constitute the grassland region of Cameroon. It serves as a window to the worldview, mindset and value systems of the grafi.
Each story is an entity sufficient onto itself woven around a specific didactic theme.The stories deal with the diachronic and the synchronic; they create an anchor that links yesterday to today and today to tomorrow.These stories bridge the gap between the near and the far. In determining the order of presentation of the stories, the author has intentionally steered clear of chronology.Many readers will want to turn first to a story the title of which intrigues them the most. Whether you read the stories in the order in which they are presented or dart about as your fancy dictates, you will appreciate the narrative verve of this storyteller and sense the abundance of enjoyment that this book holds in store for you.
The didactic value of this book resides in its suitability to all age brackets. Elementary and High School students will cherish the narrative novelty that the book harbors. College and university students with an interest in African history and anthropology would find the collection invaluable. The uniqueness of this volume lies in its universal appeal— it delves into contemporaneous local and global issues—chemical dependency, AIDS pandemic, gun violence, moral crisis, culture of impunity, xenophobia, police brutality, bribery and corruption, abuse of power and more. More importantly, a few of the stories call into question the rationale behind certain time-honored African customs and traditions, namely rites of passage, arranged marriages, serial monogamy and sorcery.
The crafting of this book was motivated by the author’s keen interest in the preservation of indigenous literatures. It is his fervent hope that the publication of this book would meet this objective. We hope that Tori Shweet for Cameroon Pidgin English will be placed where the whole family can enjoy its contents; where guests can turn to it without let or hindrance.
My deep gratitude goes to Jean-Paul-Kouega whose seminal work on Cameroon Pidgin English (CPE) titled A Dictionary of Cameroon Pidgin English Usage, Pronunciation, Grammar and Vocabulary (2008) came in handy during the crafting of a glossary for this book. I am intellectually indebted to custodians of oral traditions in the village of Bamunka, especiall my beloved mother of blessed memory, Nah Monica Mbiayuh, story-teller par excellence, who narrated some of the tales included in this antholgy to me in the glowing light of the evening fire during my tender years.
I am also thankful to those literati who share my firm conviction that Cameroonian orature is in dire need of salvaging through the written word.Last but not least, I extend a hand of friendship to all Pidginophones in Cameroon and elsewhere in Africa, whose tenacity has kept them unfazed in the face of punny threats from linguistic terrorists hellbent on assassinating Pidgin English in Cameroon.
About the Author
Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta is professor of French and Francophone Literature at the University of Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America.