HARNESSING THE NGOLO CULTURE FOR CULTURAL TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN CAMEROON
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Tourism is one of the world’s fast-growing industries due to an improvement in the global transportation and communication network (Lenon and Foley 2000). Our different ways of life and cultural backgrounds have been seen to motivate the minds of many people to seek out novelty and experience new things The coming of Christianity has created a syncretism in the Ngolo religion. Among the religious bodies present in the Ngolo, the Roman Catholics are the dominant faith followed by the Protestants. This has not wiped away the traditional beliefs which hold a preponderant position in the lives of the Ngolo population. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the potentials of the Ngolo culture that can be harnessed for cultural development in Cameroon. Especially, the study seeks to evaluate the different cultural tourism products of the Ngolo culture, to evaluate the different harnessing approaches carried out by the Ngolo people to protect their cultural tourism development in Cameroon, to evaluate factors that hinder the harnessing the Ngolo Culture to develop cultural tourism in Cameroon and to bring out strategies that can be put in place for harnessing the Ngolo culture for cultural tourism development and sustainability in Cameroon. The study adopted a non-probability sampling technique and adopted the purposive sampling method to have a sample size of 50 inhabitants. Data was obtained through a questionnaire and analysed quantitative using chi-square and Pearson correlation. The findings of the study revealed that there exist different cultural tourism products such as Ngolo cultural museum, secret societies, and Betia cultural festival. Also, the findings revealed that different approaches have been adopted by the Ngolo people to protect their cultural tourism development. However, the colour people are faced with challenges in an attempt to carry out sustainable cultural tourism development. These challenges include poor infrastructure, misappropriation of funds, and insufficient awareness about the Ngolo culture is a constraint to the cultural development of Toko municipality. The study, therefore, recommends that awareness should be made on the availability of colour cultural tourism products.
Tourism is one of the world’s fast-growing industries due to an improvement in the global transportation and communication network (Lenon and Foley 2000). The sector is generating enormous wealth for the nation.
Our different ways of life and cultural backgrounds have been seen to motivate the minds of many people to seek out novelty and experience new things.
Tourism, which is not that old an industry and dates back to the 17the century, has seen a transformation in recent years in various branches, and constant transformation when adapting to the needs of the audience and those of the tourists. With no concise and agreeable definition of tourism, scholars in the 1990s approached tourism in terms of demand and supply.
According to UNWTO (2017), cultural tourism “is a type of tourism activity in which the visitor’s essential motivation is to learn, discover, experience and consume the tangible attractions/products in a tourism destination.
Harnessing culture for cultural tourism has become a major “new” area for tourism, with almost all policy-makers being aware of the anxious need for development. Cultural tourism is today a pillar because it serves as a strategy for growth for many countries and the local people used it to boost their local culture.
(Richard 1996), ancient Romans visiting Greece and Egypt cultural festivals (Perrottel, 2002) or the Chinse scholars made journeys to beautiful landscapes to display the Chinse culture (Yan and Mckercher, 2013).
Another essential was the desire to travel to learn about other people and their cultures made Hunziker and Kraft expressed this well when they pointed out that “There is no tourism without culture” (W T O 1995).
Knowing the place of culture in the life of man, one wonders at the pace by which most of the cherished African cultural values like reverence for traditional institutions to which festivals belong are fast diminishing.
It is not surprising that despite the value of the African traditional institution (festival) in harnessing, promoting and showcasing the glamour of the traditional African life before the coming of the Europeans yet it is not given the publicity commensurate to its worth, (Stastny, et al, (2020).
Today, African tradition is held with contempt especially festivities because of its associated root in African traditional religion. Given the tie between festivities and traditional religion derogatory words such as ‘fetish’ is used in describing such traditional events.
The damages inflicted on African festivities call for cultural revival, the reincarnation of traditional art and the revolution of our cultural festival (Ngozi and Tabitha, 2014). This desired cultural revival would be successful depending on the value we attach to such cultural activities and their associated objects.
Festivals are symbolic bases on which the unity of community rests. Therefore, throughout the history of human culture certain days or periods have been set aside to commemorate and ritually celebrate events and seasons which consolidate community solidarity.
Tourism has become a fast-growing sector in Cameroon, as Cameroon commonly known as Africa in miniature is blessed with different cultural and historical events, some of which are celebrated annually. The government of Cameroon has in its rights promoted the tourism industry on both national and international levels.
Over the past years, cultural tourism has become a source of attraction, as the country has witnessed an increase in national and community activities, which are events organized by communities, event organizers and the government to promote tourism and attract tourists.
Cultural event tourism is now being used by local communities to market them as destination regions by exploiting the full potential of hosting the cultural event which has attracted both local and international tourists for example the recently organized Bakossi Cultural Festival in Bangem Sub Division in December 2021.
Cultural tourism in Cameroon is on the rise with awareness being rated by the government, the private sector and the local communities.
Cameroon, a country with cultural diversity, has during the past few years hosted different types of cultural events such as the Ngondo, the Nyem-Nyem annual festival, and the Medumba festival not forgetting the Oroko cultural festival (Duda).
Cameroon tourism is a growing but relatively minor industry wish stands out with a genuine identity expressing diversity and stability. It is also known for its modernity, Traditional dynamism and calmness.
Cameroon has all the beauties of Africa, the country’s melting and contrasting views provide tourists with unique spectacles, such as the ancestral land laying on the sea, deserts, waterfalls, Sahara zone and the temperate climate in the south, and its great heat in the north.
The different aspects of Cameroon, such as the relationship between tribal societies and modern cities, the diversity in fauna and flora, and the cohabitation of traditional and democratic leadership, give tourists the impression that they are visiting different countries at the same time.
When tourists visit Cameroon, the feeling of harmony is created by the arts, and the nature of the people, and sometimes, the tourists go a long way to experience the soul of Africa. The unique and multiple aspects of Cameroon greatly represent the values of Africa. In the 1970s, the government of Cameroon came to realize the importance of tourism which aimed at encouraging investment by airlines, hotels and travel agencies.
Cameroon’s government to increase the investments in tourism began on the 3rd of December 1974 under law no 76/14 of 14th December 1976 to amend certain provisions of the ordinance on tourism when the formal president Amadou Ahijo issued and ordered that set the tourism industry aside as having a special status. During this period, a General Commissariat of tourism was being established and in 1975, the president reconstituted the body as the General Delegation for tourism.
(Travel and Tourism in Cameroon (2012) improved tourism infrastructures, such as roads and today airports and seaports; the country has different means used by tourists to ease their movement between various destinations.
The aspect of cultural tourism in Africa is interrelated, but Cameroonian culture is representing its own and is enriched with different cultural diversity. The culture of Cameroon is recognized as the best in Africa.
Its exceptional heritage offers a multitude of different cultures for the satisfaction of tourists. The outstanding originality of the country is expressed through its cultural diversity.
Cameroon’s local areas are being ruled by traditional chiefs and they play an important role in the cultural and political fields of the country. They also have the main aim to maintain the moral and religious beliefs in their various localities. The admirable aspect makes them what they are today and the Ngolo people of the Toko village in Ndian are no exception with their rich cultural heritage gradually being harnessed for cultural tourism.
Cultural tourism is one of the oldest forms of special interest tourism, yet it remains one of the most misunderstood types of tourism (Parrottel, 2002). There is still much debate on what cultural tourism is or who cultural tourists are, for all travels involve some cultural elements caused by leaving one’s home and travelling to different places (Markwick, 2018)
Cultural tourism products are fast becoming a drive for cultural tourism as most communities that market these products get an increase in the tourism market. These products include their marriages, traditional dance, death celebration, dressing, traditional rituals, enthronement, food and language.
South Africa and Jamaica for example are leading communities around the world that use their cultural products to boost their tourism development in their countries and communities (Stupart and Shipley 2012).
Stastny et al 2020 focus on cultural tourism to enhance rural development. Non-really exploits the role of harnessing culture for cultural tourism development. Like the different communities in Cameroon, Ngolo has blessed with so many rich cultural products in terms of religious venues songs, traditional songs, traditional festivals and rituals, marriages, funeral ceremonies, birth ceremonies, Enthronement, food, and languages etc.
From the above, it is clear the Ngolo culture has not been harnessed for cultural tourism (control and used) development in Cameroon, instead of the Ngolo culture still adopts the old ways of doing things in these four cultural products is no longer the same as like marriage ceremonies is no longer loner the age, bride price is not even paid, and some women have moved in with the man already, boys and girls even get married without the consent of their parents or family. The coming of Christianity has created a syncretism in the Ngolo religion. Among the religious bodies present in the Ngolo, the Roman Catholics are the dominant faith followed by the Protestants. This has not wiped away the traditional beliefs which hold a preponderant position in the lives of the Ngolo population. The NGOs are still known for their wisdom but their cultural rights and sacred cults in which women were exempted are almost completely wiped out from the Ngolo Ceremonies as most people now believe that destinies are been switched during this ritual ceremony. This study, therefore, seeks to find out how the Ngolo culture can be harnessed to foster cultural tourism in the development of Cameroon.
General Research Question
What are the different cultural tourism products of the Ngolo People?
What is hindering the harnessing of the Ngolo culture for cultural development?
What measures have been put in place to enhance harnessing the Ngolo Culture to develop cultural tourism?
To suggest possible strategies that could be implemented in other to effectively exploit the potential of the Ngolo culture for tourism development?
- To evaluate the different cultural tourism products of the Ngolo culture.
- To evaluate the different harnessing approaches carried out by the Ngolo people to protect their cultural tourism development in Cameroon.
- To evaluate factors that hinder the harnessing of the Ngolo Culture to develop cultural tourism in Cameroon
- To bring out strategies that can be put in place for harnessing the Ngolo culture for cultural tourism development and sustainability in Cameroon.