Training and income for young artists in Cameroon

September 2008 -

Young Cameroonians in the eastern city of Bamenda are sharpening their artistic skills in various domains including music, serigraphy, painting, designing and carving. Linus Ngha Beng Kwokom, better known as Leennox Bobo, initiated COYAC (Community Youth Arts Centre), to help underprivileged children and youths find a way of earning some money while sharpening their artistic skills.

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video (c) Africa Interactive

Bobo is a multi-faceted artist of national renown whose has assigned himself the mission to make arts a local developmental motor. "My greatest goal is to get the youth in the community involved in developmental, economic and sustainable initiatives", he says. COYAC is a non-profit organisation striving to promote arts and culture, and to connect less privileged artists from the Northwest Province to the international world of arts and culture. COYAC participated in the Bamenda International Trade Fair in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Balikui Deffo is only 12 years old. He goes to school in the morning and spends the rest of the afternoon at COYAC, learning and practicing caricature. "I am a happy man because the younger ones are realising that they have talents", says Bobo. Apart from offering a framework and inspiration, Bobo gives workshops, organises exchanges, exhibitions and other artistic performances to let his apprentices compete with their colleagues.

The COYAC team is currently working on two exhibitions – 'Going Green' on global warming, and 'Arts venture through malaria and hiv/aids' on health and youth behaviour issues. Both are expected to come to fruition at the close of 2008. To achieve this goal - and further ambitions - Bobo is aware that partners are needed. Especially for the international promotion of arts and culture. "The future is brilliant", he concludes.

This video is made by Africa News reporter Walter Wilson Nana, using a mobile phone.