After years of desensitivity attributed to excess exposure to violence and unspeakable brutal murders and other rights abuses, one would think a more violent force alone can make the hearts of many Cameroonians bleed. Two artists, Mr Leo and Askia however have proven this assertion false, using a super meek and invisible medium – music.
The former Alpha Better label mates, Mr Leo and Askia have got the whole nation in tears with their latest project. Weeks ago when they announced they had hopped on a new project, many were excited to see what they could produce this time around, and it is safe to say they superseded expectations.
In the piece titled Ngarma, both artists decry the ongoing armed conflict in Cameroon’s North West and South West regions, weeping for the victims, including helpless children.
Askia in her bars regretted that stakeholders have let the guns do the talking while the bullets and drugs eat up the young ones. She further cites the feeling of a mother (and she is a mother), burying her face in shame as her kid cries.
We runaway from home because it’s no longer safe~ Askia Karin
To hideout in the terres that is also not safe…
Mr Leo on his part, comes through with the chorus in his native Lamnso, blaming the gun [Ngar] for the departure of so many people. He weeps, questioning what kids have done to deserve the pains and turmoil.
His flow, pace, and tone all compose a delivery, irresistible, to say the least.
Enter Carolouise Enondiale
In addition to the compelling and soul touching message, the visuals of the song delivered by Director Chuzih, tell the story too. Mr Leo and Askia are pictured in many scenes with a Cameroon map in the background. The map alone, tells a story many know too well.
In the same background, are images of kids lined up for food, with desperate and hungry looks, and then comes the bombshell – real images of arson attacks witnessed in the course of the armed conflict.
Among the clips shared, is a 2-second cut from a video of the corpse of Carolouise Enondiale, a six-year old girl shot dead by a security officer in Buea. She was shot dead on October 16, on 2021 on her way to school.
Enondiale’s death is one of many gut wrenching moments of the crisis, a dark day for Anglophone Cameroon. Mvogo Rigobert, the security officer who gunned her down too was lynched and killed by a mob, followed by protests that shut down the town for a day.
Carolouise has since been used as an image of image of kids with no idea of the conflict, yet killed, maimed, displaced, violated and made victims.
This is not the first time both artists are bringing many to tears by addressing the armed conflict, directly or indirectly.
In 2017, Mr Leo released Pray, a captivating piece calling whoever cares to listen to pray for the land. It eventually featured in his Love original album.
In 2019, Askia followed suite, releasing visuals of Let’s Talk in which she appeals to the armed factions and government to use dialogue to resolve their differences.
Both artists have through Ngarma, now raised the bar, doubling down on earlier calls for an end to the war.
Like Askia says, it is “About that HOPE for a better future. For the Kids that are in all these affected areas wondering what the Future holds. NGar Ma is my Farewell to all the people we have lost since 11th of October 2016”.
According to the United Nations, at least 6,000 people have died since 2017 another 2.2 million in the Anglophone regions need humanitarian assistance. International Crisis Group reveals that the majority of those displaced by the crisis are women and children. Read full report
– Giyo Ndzi