Communication in the British Colonial Bamenda Grassfields: Development of Post Offices and Postal Services

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume IV, Issue VII, July 2020 | ISSN 2454–6186

Communication in the British Colonial Bamenda Grassfields: Development of Post Offices and Postal Services

Esther B.M. Ngoran1, Christian P. Musah2
1Faculty of Arts, University of Buea, Cameroon
2Faculty of Arts, The University of Bamenda, Cameroon

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: Communication remains a fundamental aspect of man’s life, existence, interactions and evolution. This paper takes off from indigenous African communication (modes and mediums), to examine the enhancement of communication in the British Colonial Bamenda Grassfields. The study based on a vast array of archival and secondary sources, unveils the centrality of the need of a flexible and fluid communication channel in the implementation and effectiveness of the colonial machinery in the Bamenda Grassfields. The study also reveals the readiness and engagement of the indigenes in the development of post offices and postal services as it was a means through which they sustained contacts and affinities with their kith and kin whom most migrated to distant coastal towns in search of jobs and livelihood. The development of post offices and postal agencies was a very popularly welcomed initiative especially amongst the indigenes. One can therefore maintain that the development of post offices and postal services in the Bamenda Grassfields was thanks to the collective efforts of the colonial administration and the indigenes. This also laid the foundation for post-colonial communications services. In fact, most if not all of the vestiges of the British colonial administration in terms of communication channels and services in the Bamenda Grassfields were the first generation of post-independence postal operations and services.

Key Words: Bamenda Grassfields, Communication, Colonialism, Post Office, Postal Services.

I. INTRODUCTION

On July 12, 1884, the Germans annexed the coast of Cameroon in what became known as the Germano-Duala treaty. After the annexation of the coast, the Germans embarked on a rapid expansion to consolidate and expand both their commercial and economic activities along the coastal areas. The Germans were unfamiliar with the interior especially the Bamenda Grassfields which hitherto the exploratory trips of Dr. Eugen Zintgraff from 1888 had not been visited by any German. In the hope to get to the Adamawa area, Zintgraff had to pass through the Bamenda Grassfields. His trip started from Duala in 1888 and he arrived Bali in the Bamenada Grassfields in January 1889.