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Places and thier Fond Names
News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo / Tuesday, 01 February 2011 21:50

This writer may not know what name you have given to your town or city, but what is almost entirely clear is that virtually all places have been nicknamed. The culture of giving affectionate names to our towns and cities has grown along the years and seems to be doing so even more and more. Whether it is out of love that affectionate appellations are attributed to towns, it is difficult to tell. But to say some of those crafted names have rendered some countries; towns or cities popular is not exaggerating.

In Cameroon where travelling to the United States of America is almost every young person’s dream, the name Etas is pregnant with meaning. Etas is the Cameroonian coinage for the USA and is commonly used by youths with bushfalling (Cameroonian coinage fo travelling abroad) ambitions. It is an extraction from the French appellation of the United States of America – Etas Unies. While bush-prone youths use Etas to refer to the US, adult Cameroonians join the rest of the world to refer to America as Uncle Sam’s country.

In Cameroon today, just like any other place in the world, it is common to talk about China. The reason is obvious – China is the world’s leading economy. Perhaps because of the new syndrome, lovers of the country in Cameroon simply refer to China as Ching Chong. But from all indications, the name is inspired by the language.

If China (Ching Chung) has been the new bed of roses for Cameroon, France had long been every young Francophone’s dream. If you didn’t have ambitions of travelling to Mbeng, as Nicolas Sarkozy’s country is fondly called, then you didn’t have a vision in life. Mbeng has also been used to refer to Cameroon’s economic capital, Douala.

Germany has had its own share of the cake. When in the late 90s the Germany Division One football league (Bundesliga) became popular in Cameroon via a slot on CRTV known as Grand match, the name Bundes crawled into the Cameroonian vocabulary. ‘’He has travelled to Bundes” is what you would commonly hear in conversations among the country’s youths.

Next door, the new appellation for Nigeria is spreading like wildfire, especially in the showbiz world. They would simply refer to Africa’s most populous country and a leading economy as Naija. Naija is also commonly used in Nollywood movies.

Formerly in Cameroon, Awala, referring to Nigeria was a common appellation. Meanwhile in Naija or Awala, like elsewhere on the continent, emigrating to Europe or America is the dream of many a young people. These youths would seek greener pastures in Ogodoyibo (Europe and America or white man’s land), come back home in porch cars and to set up magnificent buildings.

Another growing economy that is increasingly attracting many and absorbing scores of job-seeking youths is Equatorial Guinea, situated near Cameroon’s coast. Even before the country discovered oil wealth and has been exploiting, Cameroonians gave it their own name – Panya. If you hear someone say ‘’I’m going to Panya.’’ do not ask – they are on their way to Equatorial Guinea.

Down South, Zimbabweans have found a pet name for their beloved country, just as South Africans have had one for their beautiful city Johanesburg. While Mugabe’s people refer to that great country as Zim, compatriots of Jacob Zuma simply say “You are welcome to Joburg.” And if you haven’t known that Johanesburg is affectionately called Joburg, be ready to get missing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi for instance. There, the flight announcers are more at ease with Joburg.

Back in Kamer (affectionate appellation for Cameroon), some towns and cities hardly go by their real names any more. The capital city Yaounde has either been referred to as Ville de sept collines (translated as the town of seven hills), for its hilly nature or simply called Ngola, an appellation stemming from the city’s ancestral roots.

Apart from being referred to as Mbeng, Cameroon’s economic capital Douala has also been known within university circles as Doul. The appellation stems from the city’s lone state-run university, the University of Douala or simply UNIDOUL.


Douala By Night - MBeng/Doul

Situated a few kilometers from Douala is Limbe, Cameroon’s leading tourist destination. Limbe is also known for its petroleum plant, the National Refinery (SONARA). Proud of the presence of this huge petroleum outfit, inhabitants of the sea-side resort have referred to Limbe as OPEC City (OPEC stands for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). Some called it Petrol City.



In Kumba, headquarters of Meme Division in the South West region of Cameroon, the situation is not different. The town for which its inhabitants can let anything go has had its own affection. It has for decades been called K-Town. In fact, boys from Kumba are known to be so infatuated about the town that at times they simply just say: “I’m going to K this weekend.”


Bamenda - Abakwa

On their part, admirers of the North West regional headquarters, Bamenda think their town is the just darling place. They would therefore call it Abakwa. And when it is time to demonstrate that love, you would hear them say Abakwa boys. A famous football team PWD Bamenda was always referred to as rthe Abakwa Boys, Boys.

What is the fond name you have given to your town or city? Leave your comments with Photos of your towns

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 21:25


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