The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) made the announcement on Wednesday 06 December 2023 on the social network X.
The Nguon festival is now on the humanitarian cultural heritage list of Unesco. The inscription follows the final consideration of the Nguon nomination, which had previously been awaiting validation. To support this application in its final phase, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Pierre Ismaël Bidoung Mkpatt, will lead a Cameroonian delegation to Gaborone, Botswana, from December 04, 2023 to attend the 18th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Nguon is a traditional and ancestral festival of the Bamoun people, held every two years, and this committee meets every year to evaluate the nominations submitted by States Parties to the 2003 Convention and to decide whether or not to inscribe their practices on the List of World Heritage. It was founded in the 14th century and is held in Foumban, the capital of the Noun department in the West region.
The current Nguon festival was originally a harvest festival. It is a cultural, spiritual, economic and traditional event that attracted some 300,000 visitors at its last edition in September 2022. According to Cameroon’s Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, the festivities take place over three days. Activities include lectures and debates, traditional dances, ritual ceremonies and evening entertainment with traditional musicians and griots. The first Nguon festival was the celebration of King Nchare Yen in 1395. The 550th edition of the festival will be celebrated in 2024.