The vibrant cultural tapestry of Cameroon’s South West Region found a defining moment on Saturday, November 18, 2023, as EYASU, meaning ‘OURS,’ was formally launched at Bongo Square-Buea.
The auspicious ceremony, presided over by Chief Dr. Blessed Okole, Special Adviser at the Prime Minister’s Office, saw the attendance of South West Chiefs, the Lord Mayor of the City of Buea, and various dignitaries.
The realisation of EYASU, marks a cultural milestone and comes after an eight-year endeavour aimed at providing a distinctive emblem for the region while fostering unity and cultural identity among South Westerners.
Under the stewardship of Chief Obenofunde Moses and managed by the South West Chiefs Conference (SWECC), EYASU embodies the Six-In-One concept, symbolising the unity of the region’s six divisions—Fako, Kupe Muanenguba, Lebialem, Manyu, Meme, and Ndian.
During the launch, Chief Dr. Blessed Okole underscored the importance of cultural awareness among the people of the South West Region. “Being culturally aware is a wonderful way of embracing diversity in our community, regions, and beyond,” he emphasised.
The South West Region, situated in the extreme west of Cameroon and one of the English-speaking regions, boasts a rich cultural heritage and abundant natural and human resources.
The inspiration for EYASU arose during the 2016 Female Africa Cup of Nations, hosted by Cameroon, with the South West as one of the venues. The absence of a distinctive fabric during the sporting event prompted the initiative.
Grace Ewang Ngobiesalaka, former delegate of Arts Culture in the South West Region, explained the necessity, stating, “People are very jealous of their identity. We wore everything good, but we needed our own… The need came to start thinking seriously about our own loincloth.”
Over the past eight years, the creative minds behind EYASU have engaged in extensive deliberations and interviews, utilising platforms such as WhatsApp groups and Zoom. More than 60 symbols were proposed, with at least 10 selected from each division.
Paramount Chief of Buea, Chief Dr. Robert Esuka Endeley, expressed the joy brought by the initiative, describing it as a unifying force for South Westerners. “We, the people of Buea, are overwhelmed that one of our daughters could take such an initiative. And it was supported by everybody to identify us as South Westerners but more as Cameroonians,” he affirmed.
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, EYASU is a cultural emblem and serves as an ambassador of unity, peace, generosity, friendship, scientific research, a creative compass, and cultural and touristic guidance for the South West people.
Similar to the cultural significance of Toghu in the North West Region, EYASU is swiftly gaining acceptance among thousands in the South West Region and across Cameroon.