The Ninth National Festival of Arts and Culture, FENAC, which opened in Bertoua, the East Regional capital on July 16, 2018, presents a number of changes.
Cameroon’s largest gathering of art, craft, music and culture, the National Festival of Arts and Culture, FENAC, is already 27 years since it was founded through a presidential decree on April 8, 1991. The week-long event that holds every two years is taking place this time in Bertoua, headquarters of East Region.
On agenda for the 3,000 participants from the country’s 58 divisions and 10 regions are music, dance, drama, comedy, plastic arts, lectures and discussions, culture workshops, meetings between scientists, fashion parade, movie projections, the presence of a mobile library, fantasia or horse display, and the election of Miss FENAC, amongst others.
In order to enable the festival gain more national and international clout, the authorities have introduced a number of changes. The event was inaugurated on Monday, July 16, 2018 by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, representing President Paul Biya. In the recent past, FENAC was opened by the Minister of Arts and Culture. There is a special festival fabric with the design englobing Cameroon’s various cultures.
Meanwhile, at the main site of the festival at the National Centre for Youth and Sports, CENAJES Bertoua, there is a special salon for traditional chiefs and dignitaries roofed with thatch. Traditional dignitaries from the East Region were involved in planning the 9th FENAC Festival and carried out a special rite on the opening day for the success of the event. Attention has also been given to East Region’s two main indigenous ethnic minorities – pygmies and Mbororos.
Traditional huts have been erected for them at CENAJES for the public to visit and discover their peculiar lifestyles. Cameroonian artistes and men and women of culture in the Diaspora have also been taken into consideration as some of them are present in Bertoua. In 2016, 130 people of art were awarded attestations of recognition for their work. This year, 40 local and Diaspora-based Cameroonian artistes received medals.
Given the employment challenges in the country, the Ministry of Arts and Culture sees this year’s FENAC as an opportunity for young people to be more creative by engaging in art and musical projects, taking a cue from the nation’s rich cultural heritage.
The festival also contributes to the culture of peace and hospitality by involving foreign participants, especially refugees. Moreover, the fair offers another opportunity to discuss and proffer solutions to the challenges facing Cameroonian artistes.