By David Atangana and Mbah Bertrand
The debate of how much Cameroonians consume what is produced at home has been rife on the lips of many for years now. With the fast-changing times, the conversation only gets more intense.
A huge portion of this relevance is attributed to a consistent campaign maintained for years by Old Pancho CY International, a Cameroonian comedian. Dubbed 80-20, the campaign seeks to promote the consumption of 80% local content and 20% foreign content.
Targeting mostly the music and entertainment industry, CY International, whose real name is Cyprian Egomang Tayong believes ‘Made in Cameroon’ products should be valorized.
Walking into a Cameroonian event or snack bar containing 100% Cameroonians, yet the ongoing entertainment of at least ninety percent 90% foreign content, according to CY “sounds more like we are saying that Cameroonian entertainment is not good enough.”
CY has come under serious scrutiny since the start of the 80-20 campaign. Some believe in his campaign, while others disagree with his approach. “But nothing will stop me,” he told MMI adding that, “I will do all it takes to achieve the change our entertainment industry needs.”
(Image Credit: 237 Showbiz)
“Cameroon imports at least one hundred foreign entertainers a year, with (80%) from Nigeria, spending about two billion FCFA every year,” he revealed lamenting that “we do not export a quota of this number of local artists, and even amongst those exported, Nigeria receives none.”
The 80-20 lead campaigner is now turning to the government to pass a law to protect local content and safe jobs.
“No country can be developed or rich economically with its people Consuming 90% foreign made, contents, arts, Craft and Culture. If the government passes a bill on 80-20 and makes it law, joblessness, and the unemployment rate will reduce.”
As fancy as CY’s demands seem, the devil lies in the details. Some Cameroonian content creators and artists sharply disagreed with his 80-20 campaign on the grounds that it is not a problem for their works.
In a debate hosted by German broadcast outfit, DW on the protection of local content, some Cameroonian artists and bloggers said the idea is not a good one, given that people make choices voluntarily.
Clarisse Ndinge, a Cameroonian blogger on her part, said regulation is not a good idea: “Honestly I feel like the 80-20 is not necessary. I will never accept that Cameroonians do not support their own. I am where I am because Cameroonians support what I do,” Ndinge told the panel noting that, “For years we have had Cameroonian artists fill stadiums in Cameroon and out of the country. It is Cameroonians who show up in those places.”
Not totally snubbing calls for regulation, she advised that “the approach should be on the promotion of Cameroonianess which is instinctive.”
Clarisse Ndinge believes originality is key if content creators want more home support. “Supporting your own should be a personal decision”
Performing artist and songwriter, Asabe remarked that foreign content is not an impediment to her works drawing inspiration from Cameroonians rocking the world music stage. “Foreign content does not affect me. Shout out to Libianca. We are proud to have her as a Cameroonian,” she said.
Like Clarisse Ndinge, Asabe is of the opinion that “we can actually regulate this thing by making our music heard. In the early 70s and 80s, our music was topping globally with artists like Michael Jackson, Rihanna, and the rest pirating our music because of its richness. I don’t think that has changed.”
Rather than investing energy in regulation against foreign content, there is a dire need, according to Vicky Fokala, to focus on promotion given that the content is there. “We have content, but people are not looking for it. The only problem we have is the promotion of content,” said Vick Fokala, event planner, and host.
To her, “Our people do not believe in the content they have. There are a lot of artists here, but they do not have the push because they feel like their content is not good”.
To yet a third party, the comedian’s fight is legitimate, but his way of going about it is questionable and downright xenophobic. To them, the movement should be channeled from making derogatory posts on social media to convincing those in the corridors of power of the need to pass a bill to promote the consumption of local content.
According to Asaba, a renowned singer, Cameroon has what it takes to be on top when it comes to music and entertainment, “we just need more support and patronage.”
From the look of things, CY and the other parties are not stopping soon, with each glued to their course. CY who never fails to mention how much of a family man he is, believes his action shave been yielding fruit and will soon translate into legislation. The vision, to him, “is to see our culture and nation, Cameroon being privatized in other to compete globally.”
But whether the powers that we are listening, to is subject to time alone.
Who is Old Pancho CY International?
Born in May 1979, CY is married, and a father of three. An origin from Ngie village in the Northwest region, he is resident in Buea, South West region. In addition to being a comedian, CY is a singer, actor, and farmer.
His philanthropy too through his prisoners’ support movement has been hailed as giving hope to the hopeless. Among his recognitions, is Man of the Year at the Dynasty Awards. He picked up the same honour at the Career Women Award.
CY told MMI that “my vision about 80-20 is to see our culture and Nation Cameroon being privatized to compete not just in Africa, but also globally. I believe if the government makes the 80-20 a Law, by 2026, joblessness will reduce in the country and many unemployed graduates will be off the streets.
He founded the prison support initiative and won the following awards:
(1) Man Of The Year For Dynasty Award.
(2) Man Of The Year For Career Women Award.
Mimi Mefo Info