Walter Gam Nkwi
Walter Gam Nkwi holds a PhD in Social History/ Social Anthropology from the Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands. He has published quite widely in peer review journals, books and book chapters. His latest book is University Crisis and Student Protests in Africa: The 2005-2006 University Students’ Strike in Cameroon Dr. Nkwi was a senior researcher at the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam from September 2012 to February 2013. He also held public lectures in the Universities in Roumania and Europe. He is currently working with the Department of History, University of Buea, Cameroon. (www.ubuea.net) Dr. Nkwi has a passion for social history of technology, indigenous conflict management, cultural history and global labour historical issues of Africa.
Living Corpses: Life Histories of Cameroonian Ex-Footballers
At both local and national levels, tribalism is working full force: football is an arena in which the country’s different ethnic groups are struggling to gain power and dominance in a relatively non-violent manner”. Methodology will include letting the informants speak for themselves and archival material. This essay will give voice to those who once had a voice but who had become voiceless after their careers.
This paper diverts from the conventional way in which football has been handle in academic discourses. It focuses on the life histories or biographies of the ex-footballers in Cameroon. It questions how their lives have been after their football heroic days. Have they in anyway been recognized by the state? Football like other issues has received much scholarly attention recently in Africa and Cameroon in particular. Vidacs (2006:331-349) attempts to
Interrogate why Africanists study sports in general and football in particular. Schatzberg (2006:351-369) and Pelak (2006:371-392), links global processes, democratization and women’s football in South Africa. Scholars have also researched and written about football in Cameroon from multifarious perspectives. Some have written about the origin of football and those who were the first people to introduce it (Tanga, 1969:45). Others have written about the “operation coup de coeur” a voluntary financial donation made by Cameroonians of good will to rescue their team from financial quagmire during the 1994 World Cup jamboree in the United States of America (Nkwi and Vidacs, 1997).Others still have written about the evolution of football in Cameroon in what they have preferred to term “Modernization and Football in Cameroon” (Clignet and Stark, 1974). Yet, others have treated football and politics in Cameroon (Nkwi and Vidacs, 1997). Others have treated Football and Identity in Cameroon and football and anticolonial sentiment in Cameroon (Vidacs, 2003:167-184; 1997). Pannenborg, (2008:198) handles the football phenomenon in Cameroon from an anthropological perspective and concludes that in Cameroon “it is evident that football is closely linked to both economics and politics.