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Jana Frey | 02.08.2018 | 369 Aufrufe | Interviews

Jean-Pierre Togolo: Yaounde après l’indipendence: Les changements migratoires dans le processus d’urbanisation d’une ville capitale 1960-2010

Lisa Maskell Fellowships at Stellenbosch University, South Africa

In 2014, the Gerda Henkel Foundation initiated a scholarship programme supporting young humanities scholars from Africa and Southeast Asia in honour of the foundation's founder, Lisa Maskell. It is the largest international support programme for PhD students in the history of the Foundation. The Lisa Maskell Fellowships aim to strengthen universities in the partner countries, to counter the outflow of qualified young scholars and to ensure the doctoral students enjoy excellent academic training.

In the following months, L.I.S.A. will publish interviews with the Lisa Maskell Fellows from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, in which they will talk about their research projects as well as their experiences during their academic career and the Lisa Maskell fellowship.

This week, we welcome Jean-Pierre Togolo from Cameroon. After graduating from the University of Yaoundé, he started his PhD in Sociology with the thesis Yaounde après l’indipendence: Les changements migratoires dans le processus d’urbanisation d’une ville capitale 1960-2010 at Stellenbosch University in 2016.

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L.I.S.A.: What is the status of the humanities in Cameroon, your home country?

Jean-Pierre Togolo: In Cameroon, the humanities have the status of Human and Social Sciences.

L.I.S.A.: Have you ever encountered problems in the realization of your academic career?

Jean-Pierre Togolo: I have encountered two main problems in my academic career. The first was to access the documentation for my previous research; the second was to find funding for my studies.

Since I have received the grant from the Graduate School funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, these two problems have been solved.

"This research aims to show both the national and the popular refraction in the capital city"

L.I.S.A.: What is your PhD project about and what got you interested in the chosen topic to begin with?

Jean-Pierre Togolo: My doctoral project is about Yaoundé, the Capital city of Cameroon. I am focusing on how postcolonial political regimes and their ideologies have influenced internal migration towards Yaoundé, the Capital city. This is what justifies the following title (in French): Yaoundé après l’indépendance: les changements migratoires au cours du processus d’urbanisation d’une ville-capitale (1960-2010).

This project interested me for two reasons:

  1. Having studied Yaoundé in its early days during the German colonial period (as part of my Master's degree in History) I wanted to continue the search for its post-colonial development.
  2. In a context marked by an urban disorder generally due to the lack of control over urban policies in sub-Saharan Africa, it seemed interesting to initiate, as part of a doctorate, research that examines both ideological influences that the different postcolonial political regimes of Cameroon have had on the development of the built environment of Yaoundé, the capital city, and the consequences this development had on the internal migration stream toward the capital city after independence.

This research aims to show both the national (political regimes and ideologies) and the popular (migration stream) refraction in the capital city and also proposes concrete solutions to adapt urban public policies to the socio-political context of Cameroon.

"Exchange different perceptions of the South African culture"

L.I.S.A.: What has your experience at Stellenbosch been like? Have there been any differences to the University of Yaoundé and possibly other institutions you have previously attended?

Jean-Pierre Togolo: My experience in Stellenbosch is great for three main reasons:

  1. As a francophone student, studying at Stellenbosch University allowed me to experience the Anglo-Saxon educational system.
  2. It's a great place to meet scholars from all over with whom I can exchange different perceptions of the South African culture. I can also improve my English.
  3. Compared to the University of Yaoundé, infrastructures at Stellenbosch are convenient. For researchers, the well-stocked library makes it possible to work without any stress and with the possibility to loan books from overseas.

L.I.S.A.: What are the opportunities in Cameroon to pursue different degree options (BA/MA/PhD)?

Jean-Pierre Togolo: In Cameroon, there are several possibilities for diplomas according to sectors. A BA, MA or PhD can be obtained either in Art, Literature, the Humanities and Education, in applied sciences or in legal and political sciences.

However, the difficulty of finding funding and of the availability of equipped research centers remains.

L.I.S.A.: What are your plans concerning your future career once you have obtained your PhD?

Jean-Pierre Togolo: After my PhD, I would like to return to Cameroon to apply for a career as a university lecturer. At the same time, I intend to pursue research in the framework of either a post doc or a research team according to my interests.

Jean-Pierre Togolo has answered the questions in written form.

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