Set in Anglophone Cameroon, Betrothal without Libation is a play by Cameroonian writer Bole Butake. It portrays a family’s struggles to overcome tribal prejudice. The principal characters are Fointam and Elisa. The former hails from the Kom tribe in the North West region of Cameroon, and the latter is from the Banyangi tribe in the South West region also of Cameroon.This is a drama set in Anglophone Cameroon. It shows a family’s struggles to overcome tribal prejudice. The principal characters are Fointam and Elisa. The former hails from the Kom tribe in the North West region of Cameroon, and the latter is from the Banyangi tribe in the South West region also of Cameroon.
Fointam and Elisa have been friends for six years and then they decide to get married. Elisa’s parents, who are enlightened and town dwellers, accede to the wish of these two. Then the prospective couple has to travel to Komland in order to present themselves to, and seek the consent of Fointam’s family, a parochial family, indeed. Fointam’s family had all along wished for him to marry a girl from their tribe, and, for various reasons, harboured prejudice against Elisa’s tribe. They are welcomed with hostility and, consequently, leave the village threatening to get married to Elisa despite his family’s objections. Naturally, Elisa is distraught but adamant and stands by his fiancé’s side.
Elisa’s father, who had all along wanted this marriage to take place, now worries about releasing his daughter into a family in which she is not welcomed by her in-laws. But after some misgivings on the part of Elisa’s father, and some pleading by Fointam’s friend, he gives in and he and his spouse bless the union.
Four years into their marriage, they are blessed with three children- prolificacy itself! All these years, communication between Fointam and his family is ceased. This rupture in relationship causes the man’s family to ponder upon their hard stance, and the darkness of prejudice in their minds is illumined. They travel from the village to the town in which the couple lives, carrying a goat and some fowls, and ask for forgiveness, which is readily granted, and reunion is established. The lesson that Fointam’s family derived from this harrowing experience is that if the abandonment of tribal prejudice could be applied the country, the state of a more united nation could be arrived at.
This drama has some rich tribal sayings, is appropriately sprinkled with pidjin English, and the English expressions are good.
This book is 78-pages and was first published by Editions CLÉ, Yaoundé, in 2005.