Prime Minister Philemon Yang, personal representative of President Paul Biya chaired the opening ceremony of the festival in Yaounde on August 2, 2017
“I am very very happy to be here. Congratulations. In the name of the President of the Republic, I declare open the first edition of the National Heritage Dances and Music Festival.” These were the words with which Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, officially opened the festival at the courtyard of the National Museum in Yaounde on August 2, 2017. It will end on August 7, 2017.
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, described the event as the effervescence of living together, national integration, display of Cameroon’s cultural polyvalence, and pull of attraction of the country’s rich cultural and touristic wealth. His description was in line with the theme to the event which is “National Heritage Dances and Music: Vectors of multiculturalism and national integration.” He expressed gratitude to the Head of State, President Paul Biya for designating the Prime Minister to be his personal representative in the opening ceremony of the festival. Professor Mouelle Kombi said the event was the epitome of living together and is intended to solidify links between different cultural groups for the seek of harmony, cohesion and national unity. Citing President Paul Biya in one of his speeches, the Minister said there is no sustainable development without culture and insisted that Cameroon’s rich cultural heritage has its own quota to contribute to the country’s emergence drive.
Indeed, the National Museum has been transformed into Cameroon in miniature in the cultural domain as over 200 traditional dance groups from all the 58 Divisions of the country were not only present for the opening ceremony but displayed in an attractive parade to the admiration of the Prime Minister Yang, cabinet ministers, senior national and international dignitaries and thousands of onlookers who thronged to the cultural village. Besides the parade, four traditional dances representing the Sahel, grass field, Fang- Beti and Sawa cultural zones displayed spicing intervals between the main speeches. It was also an occasion for Cameroon’s friends to join in the celebration with their own dance groups. The Nigerian refugees in the Minawao Camp in the Far North Region and the Nigerian community in Yaounde put up thrilling displays. The Rwandans resident in Cameroon, as well as citizens of the Central African Republic also displayed during the event.
Prime Minister Yang after immortalising the event in a group photograph with officials present, cut the symbolic ribbon and visited some arts exhibition stands. The stage is now set for the various cultural displays, sharing and debates in their fora.