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Cultural Diversity as a cause of Conflict in Africa; The Case of the Cameroon Anglophone Conflict

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Conflict Resolution
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International: $20
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This study examined, “as ‘’ Cultural Diversity as a cause of Conflict in Africa; The Case of the Cameroon Anglophone Conflict’’ The study was guided by three research objectives: to investigate the causes of conflict of diversity in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon,, to evaluate the effects of this conflict and to examine the measures put in place by the Government to end Cultural diversity conflict . The research objectives were later transformed into research questions. The study adopted the descriptive cross sectional research design. The sample sizes of the study consisted of 50 people from buea municipally. A sample of 50 respondents. A closed and open-ended questionnaire was used for data collection. The data were analysed using descriptive statistical method of frequencies and percentages. The findings reveals that Conflict is caused by the heterogeneous nature of cultures in Cameroon, and that Cultural Conflict have led to the loss of lives And destruction of property in the regions., and that measures are put in place by the Government to end the conflict such as the Grand National Dialogue



1.1 Background to Study

Violent conflicts of one type or another have afflicted Africa and exacted a heavy toll other continent’s societies, polities and economies, robbing them of their developmental potential and democratic possibilities. The causes of the conflicts are as complex as the challenge of resolving them are difficult. But, the costs cannot be in doubt, nor the need, indeed the urgency, to resolve them, if the continent is to navigate the twenty-first century more successfully than it did the twentieth century that was marked by the depredations of colonialism and its debilitating legacies and destructive postcolonial disruptions. The magnitude and impact of these conflicts are often lost between hysteria and apathy – the panic expressed among Africa’s friends and the indifference exhibited by its foes – for a continent mired in, and supposedly dying from, an endless spiral of self-destruction. The distortions that mar discussions and depictions of African conflicts are rooted in the long-standing tendency to treat African social phenomena as peculiar and pathological, beyond the pale of humanity, let alone rational explanation. Yet, from a historical and global perspective, Africa has been no more prone to violent conflicts than other regions. Indeed, Africa’s share of the more than 180 million people who died from conflicts and atrocities during the twentieth century is relatively modest: in the sheer scale of casualties there is no equivalent in African history to Europe’s First and Second World Wars, or even the civil wars and atrocities in revolutionary Russia and China. The worst bloodletting in twentieth-century Africa occurred during the colonial period in King Leopold’s Congo Free State (White 2000:16)

  This is not to underestimate the immense impact of violent conflicts on Africa. It merely to emphasize the need for more balanced debate and commentary, to put African conflicts in both global and historical perspectives. Not only are African conflicts inseparable from the conflicts of the twentieth century – the most violent century in world history; many postcolonial conflicts are rooted in colonial conflicts. There is hardly any zone of conflict in contemporary Africa that cannot trace its history and even the late nineteenth century (NielsKastfelt 2005:2).

During the twentieth century Africa was ravaged by wars of one type or another. Some of them, especially the liberation wars, were part of the momentous mission to remake African societies, to regain Africa’s historical agency so cruelly seized by Europe through colonialism. At the dawn of the twenty-first century Africa, is faced with a new form of war even as it desperately seeks to quench the wars of the last century. This is the US-led‘war on terror’, a crusade that  knows no spatial or temporal bounds, spares no expense, leaves a trail of wanton destruction, and wreaks havoc on the infrastructures of global order, development and democracy. To date, two governments have been toppled, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, by savage wars of conquest reminiscent of the wars of colonization of a bygone era ;( Miller 1974;7.).

  The Cold War constituted the third imperial war of the twentieth century in which Africa was implicated directly and indirectly, ideologically and militarily, politically and economically. It started when most African countries were still under colonial rule, but heated up during decolonization and after independence. This may have been a Cold War for the superpowers and their key allies in NATO and the Warsaw Pact, but it generated hot proxy-wars in many parts of the global South, especially in a postcolonial Africa desperately trying to forge nation-states out of the cartographic contraptions of colonialism and to rid itself of the last vestiges of colonialism in the settler laagers of Southern Africa. From the Congo to the Horn of Africa to Southern Africa, the Cold War fomented or facilitated destructive wars and conflicts (Kalb 1982; Issa-Salwe 2000; Percox 2004; Noer 1985; Borstelmann 1993; Harbeson and Rothchild 1995; Munene et al. 1995; Akinrinade and Sesay 1999; Oyebade and Alao 1998; Gordon et al. 1998)

   In fact, Mahmood Mamdani (2004) claims, it was in Africa that the US strategy of proxy-war to ‘roll back’, not simply ‘contain’, radical states, was first concocted with the formation of what he calls Africa’s first terrorist organization, RENAMO in Mozambique, which was bankrolled by racist Rhodesia and later apartheid South Africa and received American political support. Soon, the RENAMO model was exported to Nicaragua where the Contras were set up. It all culminated in the attempted ‘rollback’ of the Soviet empire itself in Afghanistan. It was then that the process began of ideologizing war as religious and privatizing it through the creation of a global network of Islamic fighters who would later come to haunt the US. Thus, while the Cold War may have created auspicious conditions for, and even accelerated, decolonization and enabled African states to gain international influence by manipulating superpower rivalries, the developmental, democratic and humanitarian costs of the wars it engendered or aggravated were extremely high, and persisted even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Indeed, it could be argued that the current US ‘war on terror’ is a direct outcome of the late Cold War

 Anti-colonial wars can be subdivided into two groups. To begin with, there were war waged against the colonial conquest itself that were later followed by wars of liberation from colonial rule. The first set of wars involved both conventional and guerrilla wars against invading imperial armies that contained African troops from other territories or communities within the territory already brought to colonial heel. On the whole, strong centralized states tended to wage conventional wars and after their defeat embark on guerrilla war, while smaller and weaker states or acephalous societies resorted to guerrilla warfare from the beginning. Examples of this abound across the continent and are well illustrated in the case of West Africa and Southern Africa where colonial conquest lasted for decades (Crowder 1978; Ranger 1967; Isaacman 1976; Boahen 1990). As is well known, only Ethiopia managed to win decisively against the Paul Tiyambe Zeleza European invaders to retain its independence, although in 1935 Mussolini’s fascist Italy returned to avenge the defeat of 1896 and redeem its lost imperial glory, and brutally occupied the country for six years (Dilebo 1996; Milkias 2005). The wars of conquest – pacification they were called in the self-serving and sanitized rhetoric of empire – exacted a heavy demographic price, which, when combined with the predations of primitive

   colonial accumulation, most graphically and grimly illustrated in King Leopold’s genocidal ‘red rubber’ tyranny in the Congo that slaughtered 10 million people (Hochschild 1998), led to the deaths of many millions of people and spawned such vast dislocations that some medical historians have called the years between 1890 and 1930 ‘the unhealthiest period in all African history’ (Patterson and Hartwig 1978: 4).

The variation in cultures between the anglophone governed by thy British Colonial policy of ‘’Indirect Rule’’ and the French policy of Assimilation has created a clash in the governing system departure of the colonial masters (M Crowder 447). The crisis before 2018 was turned a conflict but within the period of 2018 till present date it was categorised as a war as it carried all the characterised of wars that is polarisation in which we so both the state military and non-state actors implemented the use of weapons which caused a lot of killings among them including civilians (Johnan Galtung). The war has resulted to an increase in internally displaced persons, kidnapers and insecurity in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

  Cultural diversity varies from one community to the other depending on the ethical norms shaping the identity of a particular group of people. When this norms which include religion, myth, history and social ways of carrying activities are violated the population or the society turns to react negatively towards thus, allowing a scenario of a ‘’chaos state’’ (MM Edimo 2021). The study will examine the Cameroon as part of Africa with cultural diversity and its influence to the anglophone war.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Africa before, after, and during colonialism have been homogenous in nature with more a thousand ethnic groups with different cultures. Even though the Europeans tried to convince this continent to be homogenous during the colonial era, it ended up as a failure as most of this ethnic groups had their different identity. The influence of the colonial policies between Britain and France (assimilation and indirect rule) shaped the Anglophone conflict. After the Europeans left, due to the influence of their policies in making Cameroon as one especially the policy of assimilation, only led to the marginalisation of the Anglophones in Cameroon. Thus, the English people had no choice than to go to manifest in 2018 when nothing was done to resolve their agitations. The following research questions will guide the study.

 1.3 General Research Questions

  • To what extend does cultural diversity affects the Anglophone Conflict in cameroon?

  Specific Research Questions

  • What are the causes of cultural diversity in the Anglophone Conflict in Cameroon?

  • What are the effects of cultural diversity in the Anglophone Conflict in Cameroon?

  • What are the measures put in place by the local authorities and the government to resolve cultural diversity conflict in in Anglophone Cameroon?

1.4. Research Objectives

1.4.1 General Objectives

  • To evaluate the effects of cultural diversity on the Anglophone Conflict in Cameroon.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives

  • To access the causes of cultural diversity on the Anglophone Conflict in Cameroon.
  • To examine effects of cultural diversity on the Anglophone Conflict in Cameroon.
  • To investigate the measures but in place by government to resolve the Anglophone Conflict in Cameroon.
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