n Commonwealth Youth and Development - The role of elders in moulding youth in contemporary Cameroon : a study of selected proverbs




The protracted and deep-rooted economic crisis in Cameroon that started in the late 1980s has affected nearly every Cameroonian and has had a profound, negative impact on the well-being of the Cameroon youth in particular. As a result, the youth can no longer depend on their elders: most of whom have failed to provide a good future for the younger generations who in turn had taken the challenge by fighting for their future. This is because the social organization of most Cameroonian societies is based on the assumption that age and the experience that goes with it are indispensable to the well-being of the country. One of the means commonly used to inculcate the principle of seniority is the proverb. This paper will discuss the role of elders as custodians and holders of wisdom, knowledge and moral values, good enough to guide the youth. The paper is built on the hypothesis that the degeneracy of the present age (youths) can be attributed to a failure of proper guidance and leadership by the elders. It further contends that, unless the authorities address the crises in employment, education and other institutions, the predicament facing contemporary Cameroon youth will remain unresolved and possibly worsen. To support my argument, some proverbs which deal with the position of elders in society, especially their relationship with the youth shall be used. Selected proverbs that appropriately address social maladies, with regards to the youths are also employed. Finally, the paper proposes that in order to tackle the endemic indiscipline and criminality in Cameroon, it will be necessary for elders to take their moral responsibilities more seriously, use proverbs in their daily life and be good role models for the youth.


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