Research Key

Exploring the Cultural Reintegration and Preservation Efforts through Native Bakweri Films: A Case Study of 'Stray'

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Theater Arts
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International: $20
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From time immemorial, films have proven to be a gateway to the cultivation of new cultural beliefs, and ways of lives, especially from the West to Africa. Mass media is a great tool for altering as well as reinforcing the values of a given social system for the better or worst. This article encompasses qualitative research of the role of a locally produced movie (Stray), in preserving indigenous cultures and tradition of the Bakweri, which like other indigenous cultures in Cameroon, has come under and still subject to neo colonial encroachment and constant threats especially the native dialect of communication, due to the establishment of the English official language specifically. Employing an interview instrument, the project sought to collect in-depth understand of an 8 sample respondents judgement of their culture presented in the movie stray, the study finds summarily that there is a great neglect to the culture of the people. However, all respondents undoubtedly identified themselves with the cultural practices, and expressed the desire to promote their culture after it was positively displayed in stray.A sure guarantee for these cultures to be preserved according to the study findings is that the local moviemakers most make a paradigm shift to more local content creation, while the movie industry benefits from subsidies and encouragement awards for creating remarkable local contents.

Key words: Culture and Tradition, Film, ‘Bakweri’



  • Introduction

This chapter presents an overview of the foundation of the entire research project. It includes the background, contextualizing the topic, including the identification of what prompted the study, specifying the limited area, and population under study. Indicating the impact for which the research will help. It also consists of the questions meant to attain its objectives. As well as expecting dictionary definitions of the key concepts.

1.1. Background to the study

Culture is the identity of a people, what makes them unique among other neighbouring communities or nations, prompting, Balabantaray (2020), to say it is impossible for a people to exist without a culture. Generally, ethnic groups in Cameroon have struggled to build a culture, befitting their environment and social acceptance, owing to the varied cultures they have been exposed to, as explained in their history from the German rule, British and French cultures practices in Cameroon, until date. Despite the struggles to build these aspects that constitute the ‘Bakweri’ culture like other cultures, Senanayake, (2006), notes that most of the developed, well protected and preserved cultures in past decades, are today, experiencing drastic incursion from technology, and foreign cultures of the West, under the pretext of development, providing barely shot-term gains. The aiding factors of Western cultural invasion spread and sustainability is thanks to technological developments. Dairo (2021), notes that especially in the West, television since inception, has served to positioning as well as selling out their cultural values, gradually to less superior nations, who eventually incorporates these cultures into their systems. In the ‘Bakweri’ land today, the common cultural practices are clearly a representation of cultures of the West. Nebasifu and Atong (2019), affirms that the ‘Bakweri’ now practice their animistic rituals alongside western introduced Christianity. The native ‘Mokpwe’ dialect is decreasing among ‘Bakweri’ families, the respect for local authorities is dwindling drastically, unlike some decades ago, the dressing styles observed are barely those of the native Bakweri people of 60’s, 70’s or even 80’s. Nebasifu and Atong, (2019), reveals that the native ways of farming have today been replaced by advanced but unhealthy usage of fertilizers. The invention of television is a win-win for both the West as well as Africans. The ‘Bakweri’ people can best preserve their culture using the same means through which the west imperialized theirs. With this in mind, native film producers are charged with full dedication of most of their productions towards communicating the unclear cultural aspects of the natives, demystifying their importance, incorporating agendas, to aid grow indigenous knowledge, which (Grey, 2014; Fadli, Hasfera, & Arwendria, 2019; Senanayake, 2006), acknowledged that  is the unique identifier of the people, ranging from practices, and beliefs. Islam (2012), notes, that between indigenous and global knowledge, it is very important to acquire indigenous knowledge because it serves as a tool for local development.

1.2. Statement of the problem

The film industry in Cameroon is very much pruned to setbacks Butake (2005), because in keen observation the entertainment industry lacks financial, material and psychological empowerment to create lastingly unique impacts through its productions and characters. Ekonde (2021), who claimed that there are barely four Cameroonian movie acquired on Netflix, a major movie-streaming site, backs this, backs this. With much of the success of these movies being ascribed to Nigerian actors, as three of these movies feature Nollywood casts.  This claim gives an indication that the Cameroon entertainment space, particular the movie, is lagging behind in the global context.  With this in mind, the producers of Cameroonian movies are yet to understand that the ideas exhibited, languages used and other culture identifying factors used by the West cannot be used in local productions more than the original owners of the said culture can. The reason we easily capture, practice, incorporate, and preserve Western ways of life is due to the continuous display of these cultural aspects on films. Contrarily, in Cameroon, specifically in the ‘Bakweri’ land today, natives dress mostly Western, speak Western languages (English and French), to a point of which the eruption of the Anglophone crisis is because of these imperial culture differences (Agwanda, Nyadera, & Asal, 2020; Konings & Nyamnjoh, 1997). The films industry in Cameroon is not using its power of the media to reintegrate preserve and promote the local ‘Bakweri’ traditional aspects, as it does exhibits borrowed cultures. Hence, this project sets to understand if conceiving and executing native ideas in movie production can contribute in a bit to aid ‘Bakweri’ uphold their native culture.

1.3. Research Questions

General research question: How has ‘Bakweri’ native film (Stray) aided the indigenes to reintegrate and uphold their ancestral culture?


  1. What aspects of the ‘Bakweri’ culture featured in Stray?

  2. What impression do ‘Bakweris’ make of their culture in Stray?

  3. How does the film (Stray) help ‘Bakweris’ preserve their indigenous culture?

1.4. Assumptions

  1. The film contains aspects of the ‘Bakweri’ culture

  2. The film greatly portrayed the native culture negatively, hence, students careless.

  3. The film’s central idea has no influence to enhance value preservation.

1.5. Objectives of the study

General Objective: To find out important cultural aspects of the ‘Bakweri’ embedded in Stray, and how the film emphasizes them, to help preserve them.

Specific Objectives:

  1. To discover the degree of cultural characteristics found in the movie
  2. To ascertain the direction of thought embedded in the viewer’s mind regarding the utilised cultural aspects.
  3. To understand how viewing these cultural features on films aid their preservation.
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