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Telephone Operators’ Resistance to British Colonial Administration in the Cameroons Province, 1917 – 1931
By the beginning of the 20th Century the bifurcation of the African continent amongst the major colonial powers, including France, Britain and Germany, was a foregone conclusion. The establishment of European rule in the continent was difficult and protracted than was ever anticipated by the colonial powers. Some African polities resisted colonial rule in many forms including wars and songs. This paper aims to write the history of yet another form of resistance to colonial rule in British Africa with a focus on telephone operators in the erstwhile Cameroons Province. The pith and kernel of the paper therefore is to show how telephone operators resisted the colonial administration. This typology of resistance is yet to receive adequate attention in the historiography of resistance within the British colonial sphere in general and that of the Cameroons Province during the first decades of the mandate period in particular. Archives in Cameroon and London were consulted as well as secondary literature. Deriving from these sources the paper contends that the resistance to British colonial administration by telephone operators was subtle, nagging and provocative.