Francophobia as an expression of Pan-Africanism in Francophone Africa: An exploration of the Cameroonian political and media discourse
There has over the decades been a recrudescence of francophobia in many francophone African countries. This has attracted the attention of scholars across the world and has fuelled a discourse which has myopically constructed francophone Africans’ francophobic sentiments either as a purely xenophobic movement or a nationalist feeling. Meanwhile, for many members of the African diasporas and intelligentsia, francophobia is essentially an expression of their panAfrican convictions. In effect, for many francophone pan-African political activists, the act of fighting and mitigating neocolonialism in their countries is inextricably tantamount to exhibiting francophobic sentiments. Such an act is also tantamount to deploying various forms of animosity against France. This is so perhaps because France is arguably perceived as the most dominant neocolonial force in their countries. In this paper, this popular trend is illustrated with close respect to the Cameroonian experience. Using secondary sources and critical observations, the paper specifically looks at how various manifestations of French neocolonialism have given birth to waves of anti-French sentiments among the intelligentsia and in the media; and how this anti-French feeling is mostly expressed in the name of Pan-Africanism. The paper thus examines how Pan-Africanism has, to both the Cameroonian intelligentsia and the media, meant adopting a virulent anti-French discourse or rhetoric. In line with this central objective, the paper answers three principal research questions: what body of evidence proves that there is French neocolonialism in Cameroon? How has French neocolonialism engendered a virulent pan-African discourse that is basically anti-French? And how has this panAfrican francophobic discourse been observed or manifested among the Cameroonian intelligentsia and in the country’s private media?
Keywords: Anti-French sentiment, neocolonialism, Pan-Africanism, nationalist media, domination, Françafrique. Cameroon