Martin Sango Ndeh
University of Buea, Cameroon
Making or Marring: Configuring Holiday Sports as a Rallying Point for Youth Interconnectivity in Local Communities in Cameroon
Holiday sport in Cameroon is increasingly becoming an involving activity that attracts the attention of the youths and the entire population. The integrative force of this activity in local communities in Cameroon cannot be doubted because of its galvanizing nature. During long vacations, youths from different schools and different social backgrounds converge in small localities to perform different sporting activities that ranges from team sports like football to individual talents like long distance races. These activities are usually organized by politicians and other prominent members of society who intend to increase their popularity. This paper intends to analyze the impact of holiday sports on the development of these local communities and equally appreciate the euphoria around these activities with emphasis on the kinds of new social networks that are established.
In conducting this survey, this researcher relied on primary documentation given that secondary sources on the subject are scarce. Oral interviews were conducted and the target groups were organizers of holiday sports as well as the youths that take part in these activities. Even The parents who watch these games and those whose children take part in the games were equally contacted. However some few secondary sources like Newspapers that cover such events were also consulted. The methodology for this study was strictly participatory observation. This researcher was able to visit some of the localities around Buea that over the years have hosted holiday sporting activities.
From the surveys conducted it is important to mention that holiday sports from its very initiation was a leisure activity and at the same time a planned programme to distract the youths during holidays. But of late this has become a whole social forum with different networks of social behavior. It is a melting pot of different social outlooks. For example some of the youths who engage in these activities come from single sex schools while others are from mixed sex environments. They exchange ideas that impact on the youths both negatively and positively. This explains why children go on holidays and return with new habits. New love relations are created during holiday sports that end up in pregnancies that are realized only in school and again the children in single sex schools who had indulged in homosexuality and lesbianism see holiday sports as suitable grounds to extend their social network. The leisure of dancing and organizing gala nights that accompany holiday sports have positive as well as negative repercussions on the youths.
This study is very relevant because no specific study has been carried out on youth social networks and behavior during holiday sports. The current research thus extends the frontiers of knowledge that exists on youth behavior during different leisure programmes. This study gives an insight to holiday sports as an event with a galvanizing outlook with different social networks of youth behavior established.