April 15, 2022 was the Official Global Day of Community Service for the African Roots and Heritage Foundation, headed by Professor Anita M. Diop, Executive Director in partnership with the Department of African Literature and Civilizations, led by Professor Cecile Dolisane Head of the Department of the University of Yaoundé 1 in Yaoundé, Cameroon Central Africa. The Theme of the Conference was, “The Importance of Preserving African Languages at Home and Abroad.” The students actively engaged in a writing competition on the theme with the expectation of earning the Anita M. Diop Scholarship of Excellence. With enthusiasm the students expressed their thought on language through identity, culture, heritage, customs, traditions, preservation, business, technology and much more.
This event was endorsed by ACALAN-AU and garnered such notables as Professor Sammy B. Chumbow, President of the Assembly of Academicians of ACALAN – AU and Professor Charles Binam Bikoi, Executive Secretary of CERDOTOLA, Professor Florence TABE, HOD of Linguistics and others who spoke and emphasized and reiterated the theme. After a fiery presentation given by Professor Diop, the students expressed themselves with elevated knowledge of why preservation is so important for the youth of today to comprehend and take up the baton that is being passed on to them. Realizing that Africa is in the midst of its renaissance and one segment of that re-birth is language and understanding that essentially language is DNA coded.
During the final segment of the Professor Diop speech, the students took a vow. A vow of pride in their identity and commitment to always speak, learn, and even teach their native tongue to their offspring, siblings, and others. Being made aware that with modern technology, many African Languages are found on Google Play and at everyone’s fingertips.
The students, faculty, friends, family and others created a buzz after the program. Students of other departments wished for a future opportunity to share their thoughts on this critically important topic. The momentum will surely create a lasting initiative for both the African Roots and Heritage Foundation and the University of Yaoundé 1, other colleges, universities and civil institutions have expressed a desire for future collaborations.
All Essays collected are published in an Anthology, documenting history as it happens for the world to view, share and model. Capturing the collective mind and spirit of this body of students, who value their language, their culture, and willing with pride to suggest there is no better language to use than their own. In my opinion, we have successfully planted the seeds of the African Language Revolution on this date.
The Scholarship Winners according to Place are as follows:
First Place: Bokally Camille Chazeaud:
Second Place: Patty Fang
Third Place: Endoyom Just
Fifth Place: Zokadouma Steve:
Fifth Place: Noudjiwassen Nembaye Nadine