« We have our own history, our own language, our own culture. »
By following this African proverb, Stéphie-Rose shares « Je parle le Bassa 2.0 » with us. This project is about owing your African culture, by learning your language : Bassa.
SAYASPORA: Hi Stéphie-Rose.N. Tell us more about you.
Stéphie-Rose: My name is Stéphie-Rose Nyot. I am French, my origins are from Cameroon. I graduated with a double Master degree in International Communications and Education from the University of Quebec in Montreal.
SAYASPORA : How would you define yourself in 3 words?
S-R: In 3 words, I would say that I am a motivated, ambitious and stubborn person.
SAYASPORA : Let’s talk about « Je parle le Bassa 2.0 », what is it about ?
S-R: Je parle le bassa 2.0 (I speak Bassa 2.0), is a project which aim is to provide participating courses of one of the language of Cameroon, bassa. Through this initiative we wish to offer a place where people can gather and share their knowledges and lacks of the bassa language. It’s an ongoing process where we learn altogether.
SAYASPORA: And why did you create it ?
S-R: When I created the Facebook page Je parle le bassa 2.0, I did not think of it as a project, but more as a place where I would be able to improve my bassa language knowledges with other people. I launch it because by leaving away from my family, abroad (away from France) I was recognized as a French person, with some African origins.
So when I was asked about my black skin really, I told people my origins were from Cameroon and that was it. I was not able to say more than that because I did not have the chance to visit the country that much, I did not gain any territorial anchorage. My cameroonian background was my family, the food we ate, the music we listened to, the parties, the language that was spoken. It was really something passive.
During my studies abroad I’m moved back to France to do an internship with UNESCO and to visit my family. I had been away for so long that it was hard for me to understand when my parents were expressing themselves in bassa. What a pity! I used to be able to understand some bits but now that I have been away it was kind of hard for me to pick anything really. So when I’m moved back to Canada, I was determined to fill this identity gap, this language gap.
SAYASPORA: Was it hard to make it happen?
S-R: It was not that hard, because when I launched Je parle le bassa 2.0, it was more like a hobby, something I did on the side. Then it started to raise attention and grow beautifully.
SAYASPORA:Let’s talk about entrepreneurship. What do you think of the rising number of African women starting businesses?
S-R: It is a great thing, because it sets on example for African women in general; and show that our ideas, projects, community matter as well.
SAYASPORA: How would you define the African diaspora, in 3 words?
SR: New: age, awareness, and confidence.
“I was determined to fill this identity gap, this language gap.”
SAYASPORA: What impact do you want to have on women all around the world ?
S-R: I don’t necessarily ‘want to have an impact on women but if my project can raise awareness on protecting and preserving African languages through human beings, I would be very grateful.
SAYASPORA: What is success for you?
S-R: The accomplishments of ones dreams.
SAYASPORA: What would you wish to say to African and Black girls all around the world?
S-R: You matter, your voice matter.
SAYASPORA: Is it more difficult to learn a language behind a screen?
S-R: No, I think it is a practical way to learn this language or any other one virtually. Nowadays lots of people are connected to the Internet, some people even has a tendency to spend more time on their devices rather than with reality. To learn a language via the Internet allows a learning anytime and anywhere. Not everybody has the chance to go back to the sources, to their countries and villages where the language is spoken. We offer an alternative.
Je parle le bassa 2.0, is now followed by more than 4,000 people! This is incredible, people are eager to learn. In order to improve our services, we will launch a crowdfunding campaign pretty soon to develop a mobile application and some pedagogical tools; so the followers will have the possibility to keep learning wherever they are and also to evaluate their levels.
Stéphie-rose in the French magazine “Amina”.
You can find “Je parle le Bassa 2.0” facebook page HERE