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                                        CHAPTER ONE

                          GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

The term westernization is widely used, and although in different situations, they all have a central idea. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, Westernization is “The Assimilation of Western culture; the social process of becoming familiar with or converting to the customs and practices of Western civilization”. It is the social process of absorbing one cultural group into harmony with another. Westernization may be in the form of adopting the western way of dressing, speaking, their food, and even their mode of administration.

It is of no doubt that even after several years of independence, some African countries are still inclined to western cultures, beliefs, and values, and, Cameroon is not an exception.

Westernization may also occur as a result of mass media usage. Many Cameroonians have become inclined to watching western television channels and programs as well as listening to western Radio stations and then adopting these attitudes (cultivation Theory). As George Gebner puts it “people who watch TV frequently are more likely to be influenced by the messages from them, so much so that the people’s world view and perceptions start reflecting what they repeatedly see and hear on television”.

Also, the internet (social media) plays a very important role as far as Westernization is concerned. People see and hear things on social media from the Western world and immediately act upon them. The lack of Cognitive Dissonance in some people’s minds lets them copy whatever they see on social media whether it is good or bad. They want to identify with the Western lifestyle in whatever way possible.

The history of westernization in Cameroon dates as far back to the 18th century when the Portuguese first came to the country. Later in the early 19th century, the Germans annexed Cameroon and this again was another form of westernization. The buildings the Germans built were of German nature they introduced the natives to German foods like paw-paw, pear, and rice and these meals up till now have become stable Cameroonian meals.

More so, the Germans gave gifts of hats, sticks, mirrors, and liquor to Cameroon chiefs whenever they were in need of slaves. These gifts were welcomed by the chiefs who liked them and even introduced the indigenes to using them. This, therefore, changed Cameroonians way of dressing to that of the Western world. It is still a trend in Cameroon today.

In 1916, Germany lost Cameroon to Britain and France. Britain and France with her colonial policies further implemented westernization.

The French policy of Assimilation only came to completely erase the African values and cultures, as Cameroonians were made to adopt the French lifestyle in their way of dressing, talking, eating just to name a few.

Again, foreign missionaries of Britain and France came to Cameroon to introduce Christianity. They preached against aged practices and long-existing cultures of Cameroonians and encouraged them to embrace Christianity. These missionaries succeeded in converting many of these natives to Christianity and even introduced them to the churches they created, the Catholic and Baptist churches. This, therefore, caused these converted natives to abandon some of their practices like idol worshipping in pursuit of Christianity

Until 1960 when Cameroon got her independence, the western lifestyle has never been eradicated, and to date, Cameroon is still divided into 2 parts with the French and English languages we adopted from our colonial masters.

1.2 Statement of the problem

The adoption of western values in our African society has continuously been on an increase. Children, youths, and even adults copy the western world in their dressing, way of speaking, and even in gastronomy. This has greatly reduced the sense of belonging in some Cameroonian and African cultures. All of these stems from the effects of Assimilation by our former colonial master. However, this research aims at finding solutions to these issues.

1.3 Research Questions

  1. Are Cameroonians aware of the fact that the adoption of western values greatly helps in eradicating our African values?
  2. Do students understand that the continuous adoption and use of our African values, beliefs, and principles help in the preservation of our culture?
  3. Are university students aware of the role of the mass media in promoting westernization?

1.4 Hypothesis

University students are not aware of the fact that western cultures and habits eradicate our African culture. They are also unaware of the fact that African culture can only be preserved if we continuously use them. They equally do not know that mass media has a great role to play in westernization.

1.5 Objectives of the Study

1.5.1 General objectives

  1. Find out how western habits influence University Students’ behavior.
  2. Assess how social media contributes to promoting westernization.
  3. Determine what western practices are beneficial to Cameroonians.

1.5.2 Specific objective

  1. To help students identify western practices that can be harmful to them.
  2. To examine how western lifestyle enhances conduct and good behavior.

To identify the role play by Western TV program in shaping behavior

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