Yvette Ngum


The issue of identity is complex in Cameroon. As a nation with diverse cultures, people perform different identities in relation to the power that exist. Moreover, the situation is complicated by the historical colonisation of Cameroon by two different powers with different cultural identities, namely the English and the French. In such a context, where national identity is informed by a background of multicultural institutions, the performance of peoples’ identity is challenged by the hegemonies in place. Cameroonian cultural productions have responded to these situations, exposing and challenging the dominant hegemonies in place. Victor Viyuoh’s film, Ninah’s Dowry, is one of these. A work that deals with the trajectory of a woman caught in the web of patriarchy and other dominant practices, Viyuoh’s film gives room for a reading beyond this obvious thematic perspective. Using post-structuralist theory and psychoanalysis, I examine the display of domination, oppression and subordination in constructing gender identities in Ninah’s Dowry (2012). I argue that Ninah’s fate, in the work, is determined not only by the symbolic dowry system, which subjugates the woman, but also by the greed that underpins the whole marriage system.

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