Nguon to soon become UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage



The bi-yearly cultural festival of the Bamoun people of the West region of Cameroon, the Ngouon, is on course for inscription into UNESCO’s representative list of intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The often crowd-pulling Nguon festival with several cultural and spiritual inclinations has been Cameroon’s bet for the past years. After a few failed attempts, the file for it’s inscription is said to be far advanced.

Arts and Culture Minister, Bidoung Mpkatt in a working session on Wednesday June 7 in Yaounde, informed the public of the strides made.

The session had in attendance the ruler of the Bamouns, Sultan Nabil Mbombo Njoya. It was an ideal opportunity to display the cultural prowess of the Bamouns and dance groups from other parts of the country.

King is the Bamouns, Sultan Nabil Mbombo Njoya

For the past years, the local committee and that of the Ministry of Arts and Culture have collaborated for the Ngouon to be enlisted on the representative list of intangible cultural Heritage of Humanity. The session in Yaounde, was time for both committees to revisit work done and agree on the way forward.

And as the Sultan of the Bamouns, Nabil Mbombo Njoya puts it, the project is of paramount importance and deserves the attention of the entire community.

“The Bamoun community yesterday, today and tomorrow has to mobilize and work with the ministry of Arts and Culture for this UNESCO recognition to become a reality” he said.

Before now, several brainstorming sessions had taken place between officials of the ministry of Arts and Culture, the Nguon local committee and UNESCO. The meetings ironed out the lapses of the files previously submitted for a successful submission in 2022.

“The challenge is a collective one, so we invite all those concerned to give the best of themselves to make sure the process succeeds”, Arts and Culture minister Bidoung Mpkatt said.

Cameroon’s file to have the cultural festival of the Bamoun people enlisted on the UNESCO representative list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity was submitted in March 2022. Officials say UNESCO approved the file, but the final decision will only be made public in December 2023.

Ahead of this time frame, Dr. Serge Noukeu, Sub director of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Ministry of Arts and Culture, says focus now is on communication, marketing and lobbying.

Kathy Neba Sina


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