O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers: The National Anthem of Cameroon. “Chant de Ralliement” (“The Rallying Song“), also known as “Ô Cameroun berceau de nos ancêtres” (“O Cameroon, Cradle of our Forefathers“) is the national anthem of Cameroon and the former national anthem of French Cameroon.
The song was composed in 1928 by René Djam Aflame, who also wrote the lyrics along with Samuel Minkio Bamba and Moïse Nyatte Nko’o, all while they were students at the École Normale of Foulassi. It was used on an unofficial basis in French Cameroon beginning in 1948 before independence and was officially adopted as the anthem of the territory in 1957. In 1960, the anthem was officially adopted by the new Republic of Cameroon.
In 1961, upon the accession of the former British Southern Cameroons to the Republic of Cameroon, an English version was written by Bernard Nsokika Fonlon, which was later officially adopted in 1978. In 1970, the French lyrics were changed to remove some words such as barbarie (“barbarianism”) and sauvagerie (“savagery”), reference to France and the United Kingdom.
The National Anthem of Cameroon – English version
O Cameroon, Thou Cradle of our Fathers,
Holy Shrine where in our midst they now repose,
Their tears and blood and sweat thy soil did water,
On thy hills and valleys once their tillage rose.
Dear Fatherland, thy worth no tongue can tell!
How can we ever pay thy due?
Thy welfare we will win in toil and love and peace,
Will be to thy name ever true!
Land of Promise, land of Glory!
Thou, of life and joy, our only store!
Thine be honour, thine devotion,
And deep endearment, for evermore.
From Shari, from where the Mungo meanders
From along the banks of lowly Boumba Stream,
Muster thy sons in union close around thee,
Mighty as the Buea Mountain be their team;
Instil in them the love of gentle ways,
Regret for errors of the past;
Foster, for Mother Africa, a loyalty
That true shall remain to the last.
Ô Cameroun berceau de nos ancêtres,
Va debout et jaloux de ta liberté.
Comme un soleil ton drapeau fier doit être
Un symbole ardent de foi et d’unité.
Que tous tes enfants du nord au sud,
de l’est à l’ouest soient tout amour,
Te servir que ce soit leur seul but,
Pour remplir leur devoir toujours.
Chère patrie, terre chérie,
Tu es notre seul et vrai bonheur,
notre joie et notre vie,
À toi l’amour et le grand honneur
Tu es la tombe où dorment nos pères,
Le jardin que nos aïeux ont cultivé.
Nous travaillons pour te rendre prospère,
Un beau jour enfin nous serons arrivés.
De l’Afrique sois fidèle enfant
Et progresse toujours en paix,
Espérant que tes jeunes enfants
T’aimeront sans bornes à jamais.
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