David-Claude KEMO KEIMBOU is currently Lecturer at the University of Paris Sud XI in Orsay. After obtaining his CAPEPS after his training at the National Institute of Youth and Sports of Yaoundé in Cameroon (1981-1985), he was appointed Professor of Physical Education in charge of coordinating the Physical Eduction curriculum at the National Institute of Polytechnic of Yaoundé – NPHS (1985-1988), then the University Center for Health Sciences – CUSS (1988-1990). Along with this teaching assignment at the University of Yaounde, there is resumed in 1986 his schooling in the humanities and obtain his Bachelor of Philosophy –with a focus on Sociology and Anthropology (1989) and a Master of Social Psychology (1990). He was then transferred to the National Institute of Youth and Sports where he will in charge of developing and implementing a curriculum in Psychology, Psycho-pedagogy and Sociology (1990-1992). While pursuing his academics he played for Cameroon handball national team (1980-1990) from age 18, and became the coach from 1990 until he left for France. With this team, it will be as a player, runner-up of the world military championship in 1990, and as a coach, runner-up (1991) and champion of African Club Championship in 1992.
Then, begun a new adventure in France at the Université Marc Bloch in Strasbourg. This was a logical part of his quest for personal development initiated in Cameroon. He and that will lead to obtaining a DEA STAPS (1993), a Postgraduate Degree in Management of Sport and Recreation – Second best student (1994) and a PhD STAPS – Sociology / History (1999). Lecturer at the University of Orleans (1999-2001), he was appointed assistant professor at Université Paris Sud XI in Orsay in 2002, then Vice-Dean for training from 2004 to 2006. HE is also a member of the laboratory of Sport (s), policy (s) and Social Transformations (SPOTS), JE 2496.
His research focuses on issues related to Olympism, sport governance and issues related to internationalization of sport in Africa. Since 2001 he hosted an International Seminar on the International Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece. He recently published Africa and the football world published by EPA / Hachette, 2008.”Sports, Politics and Social Transformations”
Did Sport exist in pre-colonial Africa? A controversial debate around Sport, Games and Physical exercise before European Colonisation.
David-Claude Kemo-Keimbou (UFR Staps Universite Paris Ouest Nanterre La Defense); Pascal Charitas (University Paris West Nanterre La Défense)
Games and physical exercise certainly existed in ancient Africa from the time of the Pharaohs and can also be identified in many empires and other forms of state organisation in Africa before the colonial conquest. However, it is not easy to establish a classification as their multiplicity makes description difficult. Pre-colonial Africa was a mosaic of very vivid colorful physical exercises which fulfilled multiple functions and needs that were sometimes contradictory. Intense cultural and “sporting” activities were part of a rich pre-colonial civilisation involving the empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai in western Africa; and many more kingdoms across the continent.
Although the works of the German historian Wolfgang Decker deal with sports in ancient Egypt, scientific literature generally has very little to say about what could be identified as “sports” in the history of pre-colonial Africa. If the birth of sport is strongly linked to the social and economic context of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, it is also true that the many games of a still independent Africa arose from a specific logic and particular social functions. Therefore, without entering the debate on the continuity or the break in the passage of the traditional games in the modern sports which would become updated here, it is advisable in this contribution to review. To show the reality, the vitality and the dynamism of the African physical practices nevertheless considered obsolete and archaic shortly before the meeting of Africa with the West. The forms of these games and the reasons behind them must be taken into account in order to understand how the move from traditional games to modern sport took place and in particular to understand why there was repulsion, devotion and/or appropriation of sport during political and sporting colonisation.