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Taking Their Language into Their Own Hands

"What the Bafut Language Association will turn out to be depends on all of us," declared King Abumbi II of the Bafut people in Cameroon. "The Bafut language is our common heritage and our pride. Therefore its development is our collective responsibility."

King Abumbi has been actively involved in the Bafut Language Association since its creation in 1983, rallying support from the wider community.

In the 2000–2001 academic year, 3,177 people at tended courses in adult literacy and vocational skills,including computer use. They put these skills to use regularly to produce materials in the Bafut language. The Bafut Diary, a periodic newsletter, highlights upcoming events and other community news.

The Bafut people see the language association meeting their need to preserve their culture and the use of their language. Entirely made up of nationals, the association brings together people of different social classes within the Bafut community to work side by side developing their language and culture.

Dr. Joseph Mfonyam is a Cameroonian national who works with the Bafut Language Association as an SIL consultant. "We have a good number of trained and devoted people at work on the Bafut language," remarked Dr. Mfonyam when asked about the progress of the program. "Many teachers have been trained, and these are engaged in various schools and adult literacy centers, teaching thousands of our children and adults."