National Day: The symbol of National Unity

The National Day is a state symbol that celebrates the reunification of the Southern Cameroons and French Cameroun in 1972.

National Day is observed as  holiday in Cameroon and is celebrated every 20th May of every year.

The national feast is an express of joy, love and the attachment of citizens to a united Cameroon.

It is celebrated through harmonised activities nationwide and marked with a grandeurs military and civilian march past on the D-day.

The History of the National Day in Cameroon

On 20th May 1972, in a referendum, Cameroonians massively voted in favour of a unitary state and opposed the existing federal system of government.

Over three million Cameroonians voted for a unitary state while an insignificant, one hundred and seventy-six others voted against the federation.

After the referendum, the new constitution created a United Republic of Cameroon by dissolving the former West and East Cameroons.

The flag then changed from three bands of green, red and yellow with two holden color stars on the green  to three vertical bands with green, red, yellow and a yellow star on the red.

Just a brief recall, French Cameroun achieved Independence from France on 1st January 1960 and British Southern Cameroons changed from a Trusteeship under Britain to a federated state within Cameroon on 1st October 1961.

20th May also known as National Day commemorates President Ahmadou Ahidjo’s abolition of the Federal government in favour of a Unitary state.

National Day: How it is celebrated in Cameroon.

Eventhough it is observed as a holiday, coordinated nationwide march past amongst many other activities are carried out.

In the Capital city of Yaounde, the colourful and high profile event is presided over by the Head of State, President Paul Biya. At the regional level,  it is the Governor and the Divisional Officers at the various divisions.

Eleven days of harmonised activities like educative talks, socio-cultural activities, concerts, history, cross countries, unity walks etc are organised all over country before the day proper.

On May 20, cross sections of Cameroonians express their joy and their attachment to the fatherland by singing, carrying out parades or march all round the different parts of their various cities.

A major highlight of the celebration is on the military prowress of Cameroon and the show of living together through unity and national intergration expressed in dressing, dancing and food.

The Theme of the 2019 National Day.

This year’s edition which is the 47th will be celebrated with the reflection

“Unity in Diversity, a major asset of the Cameroonian people in their determined move towards emergence”.

Benly Anchunda

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