Bitter Bananas is an upcoming documentary project exploring the history of banana farming in Cameroon and how it ties into the wider theme of corruption in post-colonial politics. It will be written and directed by Stephen Tonteh and will be produced by Purple Camera Media.
We open with Cameroonian native Stephen Tonteh telling us about the culture shock of visiting Germany in the 1990s. He begins to wonder what was stopping Cameroon from reaching the cultural heights of more advanced Western countries.
We will briefly go over the history of Cameroon from 1886 to 1960. This covers the period in which the country was occupied by the Germans and then split between the French and the British at the end of World War 1. In 1960 Cameroon finally gained its independence, but this was not without its own problems. Stephen will then interweave his personal story growing up on the plantation with the political history of the region. This will form the backbone of the documentary.
We will also cover the vast corruption that affects every level of the Cameroonian government. We will ask difficult questions about the merits of occupation. We will explore why the infrastructure of the country hasn’t changed since the 1960s and we will try to understand the consequences of a nation divided between French and English territories. All these vast themes will be put in context by Stephen through his deeply personal stories.
In closing we will put forward a simple message about the need to shift Western attitudes towards African nations from one of pity and guilt to one of confidence and support.
We’ll update the site on the progress of the documentary as it develops.