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EXAMPLES OF CAMEROONIAN CLOTHING

DIRECTIONS: It is suggested that you read the overview to the left before viewing the images. Click on an image to view the enlarged version and a detailed description of each type of clothing.

Overview
Because Cameroon is situated centrally on the West Coast of Africa, it has been accessible by boat to European countries wishing for new areas to conquer and exploit.

As early as the sixteenth century Potrugal and Holland were interested in Cameroon. The major European influences to Cameroon, however, came toward the end of the nineteenth century, when Germany, England and France all vied to establish commercial and political rule of Cameroon. The Germans held Cameroon until this beautiful country became a a spoil of the First World War and was unequally divided between the English and the French. By 1961 Cameroon had gained independence from its European rulers. However, the continued melange of European and African elements in the life fabric of Cameroon bring to mind this observation of Kurt Vonnegut's: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."

In presenting visual examples of Cameroonian Clothing, one must first understand that in more populated and commercially exploited areas of Cameroon, one will see more examples of "Western" clothing than indigenous clothing. Western clothing, Christian religions and European languages have all had major influence on Cameroonian culture.

While viewing the "slides", ask yourself:
 What do these articles of clothing have in common?
What purposes, or purpose, other than protection from the elements, do these articles of clothing serve?
What is the separating line between the concepts of Fashion and Art?
Why ask yourself these questions? Why not?

 


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