The spread of the Coronavirus and the recommended prevention methods have greatly affected the functioning of the thrift and loans activity commonly called ‘njangi’ in Cameroon.
‘Njangi’ is an important binding force of the Cameroonian people, encouraging economic and social empowerment.
For about two weeks now, ‘njangi’ groups that used to hold on weekend days and served as socialisation opportunities for, professional and socio – cultural groups have taken to the virtual platforms.
Members now communicate and interact through the social media outlet, WhatsApp.
They also do online money transfers, avoiding physical contact.
The president of one of the socio-cultural groups in Yaounde called Bobuma, Ade Tateh made this announcement on Saturday concerning their meeting holding on the last Sunday of the month, “Dear family, We are all aware of the situation not only in our country but the whole world and we are all still safe with our own families and friends. To take some precautions of not meeting together for now and for the proposal of contributing through Mobile Money, it’s not bad if we all do it the right way: you send the money to the financial secretary with charges and call her to make sure she received the money and identify your name. If you send through your own phone call her and make sure you keep the message….”
These are the kind of announcements and modus operandi of many ‘njangi’ groups during this period.
Sundays become Void of the Sounds of Drums and Singing
‘Njangi’ groups serve as weekend relaxation where members meet, share a common meal, drink, sing and dance then contribute money to support one another through thrifts and loans or social support in case of birth, death or a promotion.
Unfortunately, the streets and neighborhoods have been deprived of this weekend pleasure.
Because of the call for Social distancing, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, members now function using social media tools, e- money and other virtual transactions till further notice.
A Few cannot Resist the Temptation
A young entrepreneur in Yaounde, Kenneth, whose economic activities are strengthened by thrifts and loans says, “I just don’t know how to spend a Sunday without meeting members.” “We are just twenty in our group but the restrictions of the Prime Minister says 50 people. So I will go to the meeting and share “one man” (meaning have a drink) but I will not shake hands and will not sit very close to people,” he said while regretting the ravages caused by the Corona virus.
A New Way of Socializing Online
Most of the ‘njangi’ members who were not connected on social media are now obliged to do so since it is the only connection point for now. Besides their monetary transactions they are also sharing tips on how to curb the dreaded pandemic, the coronavirus.