Accepted Paper:

Challenging the iconography of urban and rural spaces in post-colonial West Cameroon  

Author:

Jürg Schneider (University of Basel)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at how the Photographic Section of the West Cameroon Information Service created an iconography of national unity thereby dealing with the challenge of documenting a quite heterogeneous region that was characterized by a few semi-urban centres and large rural spaces.

Paper long abstract:

The Photographic Section of the Southern Cameroons Information Service was created in Buea in 1955. Set up in at a time when the end of colonial rule was foreseeable the Photographic Section continued its activities after Southern Cameroons' independence in 1960 and subsequent reunification with East Cameroon in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The photographers' duty was to follow any governmental or otherwise socially relevant events throughout the territory of West Cameroon (today's Northwest and Southwest Regions). Based in Buea, the former capital of German Kamerun and subsequently of Southern Cameroons, a British Trusteeship, the Photographic Section and its photographers had to deal with the challenge of creating an post-colonial iconography of national unity in a quite heterogeneous region that was characterized by a few semi-urban centres and large rural spaces.

Panel P162
Photographs and Photographers in Africa Visual Entanglements of the Urban and the Rural