The third edition of the Southern Cameroon Poetry Award was launched last year, in late November.
Since 2019, calls for submission have been launched annually. The aim is to encourage young writers of English expression to use their creativity and inks as a medium to raise awareness of the long overdue Anglophone crisis in Cameroon. Selected entries from the submission are often compiled into an anthology.
The vision of the curators of the Southern Cameroon Poetry Award aligns with a #tag by Civic Watch a hate speech combating NGO in Cameroon. A very popular slogan with its members is #PenNotGun
This year, the call for submission was closed on the 31st of December. Since then, the poets who sent in their various poems have waited anxiously for the results. Finally, their curiosity was satiated on the 9th of May 2023, with the announcement of the two winners.
The second runner-up of the Southern Cameroon Poetry Award is Neba Terry.
She is a teacher, spoken word artist, and poet from Cameroon’s North West region. When she gets creative, she goes by the name “Bleeding Quill”, which also happens to be the name of her Facebook page where she sends poems to lovers of the art like herself. Her undying love for poetry dates back to secondary school where she learned to appreciate the beauty of wonderfully crafted lines. In July 2020, she participated in the “Chase your dreams” demagog contest and her poem earned her a winner certificate. Also, in January 2021, Some of her poems were featured in the blog; “Raising Voices For Peace”; a youth initiative in line with the recent call to end the Anglophone crisis.
As a spoken word artist, she has featured on stages like the Apwal Festival 2022, Word Splash Poetry Festival 2022, and a series of occasions at her church. Next in line is The IFACA (International Festival of Arts, Culture, and Agriculture) to take place from the 17 to the 21st of May 2023 at Ngoye’ Beach Kribi.
Going into the contest and earning a second position with her poem ” O CAMEROON”, “is a great booster and reassurance that passion and hard work pay off. Whatever it is that you feel completes you or gives you peace of mind, go for it. In the end, everything else will fall into place,” says an excited Terry.
Her poem which won her 200 US dollars(121,000FCFA équivalent) is a parody of the Cameroon National Anthem facebook link. The poet creatively weaves into the original rhyme and meter of the anthem, the bloody, gloomy, depressing and unstable atmosphere in which the Anglophone crisis places Cameroonians. She closes her poem with a series of rhetorical questions which doubtlessly beckon on the conscience of Cameroonians. Terry crowns her poem thus.
“Since memory lane, we have wept and we have bled.
Is anyone listening?
Put an end to the crisis!!”
The grand price of 179,400FCFA goes to Nyuydine Lyne W. With her poem titled “it’s been Six years”.
Lyne is a 3rd year English language Modern Letters student at the University of Yaoundé I. Her journey as a poet has been an interesting one. Prior to her winning of this award, Lyne was the second runner-up in the 2021 poetry contest organized by the Accredited Students of the English Department (University of Yaounde 1) and emerged as the first runner-up for the 6th edition of the Sqaumos Arts Interpretation Challenge, Her poem received a special mention from the Young English Cameroonian Writers Award 2022 and some of her poems have been published in online magazines and platforms like Access Point Africa and Writers Space Africa.
“I feel extremely happy for making it to the top list.the news sounded like a dream and the thought of being read Across the continent makes me so emotional. My most sincere gratitude goes to my mentor, Mr. Mbutoh Divine and the organisers of the Southern Cameroon Poetry Award” says Lyne, when asked about her reaction to the results of the contest.
In her poem which made it to the top of the Award’s ranking, “It’s been Six years”, Lyne uses simple, yet careful crafted dictation rich in imagery and allusion, to paint a distinct, accurate and clear picture of the ill-fate which has befallen English Speaking Cameroon. She expressed her disgust for the nonchalance of leaders towards the crisis. Also, Lyne reveals her nostalgic feelings for the peaceful times now past, through the song “Home again…”
Judging from the creative poetic content of Lyne and Terry, it goes without doubt why their submissions made it to the top tier of the Southern Cameroon Poetry Award 2022.