By Joyce Ashuntantang, Ph.D.
This Valentine’s day finds me in Granada, Nicaragua at the VII edition of the Granada International Poetry Festival. There are over a 100 poets here including local Nicaraguan poets united in the theme “La poesía es el reino de la imaginación y el más feliz y doloroso testimonio del ser humano sobre la tierraa” In English, “Poetry is the realm of imagination and the most happy and painful testimony of human beings on earth” . On this Valentine’s day then, I decided to honor some male poets of my youth. These are the boys and young men who composed all those beautiful poetic monologues complete with performance in the name of “braining”. Braining, the way it is done in Cameroon can be rightly considered an art form. The English call it “to woo” which means to seek the affection of someone with intent to romance or to court a woman. In English Speaking Cameroon this phenomenon is known variously in pidgin as “to brain”, “lay case”, “nak kwadi”, and “nak parole” (or nak pa). These phrases combined together suggest that what is going on here is decidedly a creative and intellectual process.