Beyond The Stigma

Filmmaker:  Mireille Laura Tsopgni

Year of production: 2016
Location: Dschang, Cameroon – Africa
Duration: 30 min.
Sound: mono
Language: Finish
English Subtitles

Cecile is Bamileke women from west part of Cameroon. Specifically from Dschang where she is living now. She is a single handicapped mother and have to play at the same time the mother’s and father’s roles. In front of these difficult roles, Cecile remains positive and full of life. The education of her parents and her personality, helped her to accept and even valorise her disability.

Copyright: 2016  Visual Cultural Studies, University of Tromsø

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ABSTRACT This work was carried out among the Bamileke in the Menoua Division in the West Region of Cameroon. It presents my main informant, Kenfack Tsopmo Cecile, a handicapped woman of 44 years who uses entrepreneurship as a means to break the social rejection that many people face because of their handicap. Despite her handicap, Cecile is very active and present on various social arenas. She is engaged in many different entrepreneurial activities. Thanks to her lifestyle she is well integrated in her society and regarded by many people around her as a courageous and hard worker. However, in spite of her capacity to progress in business, Cecile still finds it difficult to be taken as spouse, because of her physical appearance. While working with Cecile I learned not only about her particular case, but also about many issues that she shares with other handicapped women in Bamilike society. Many handicapped women in the Menoua Division have common traits like their cultural background and their handicap condition. Their cultural background makes them capable of undertaking business. But marriage is generally a serious problem for handicapped women, because in Menoua community, there are people who consider woman’s physical appearance as the sole proof of her beauty. As a result of such opinions, handicapped women are widely excluded from the marriage social field. As victims of social exclusion, some of these handicapped women have established an association to support one another and fight for their rights.

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