Cameroon: Novel About Forced Marriage in Cameroon Honoured By French High School Students


A jury of French high school readers has awarded the prestigious Goncourt students prize to Djaïli Amadou Amal for her novel “Les Impatientes”. The Cameroon-born writer says she is glad her message about violence against women in African culture has been understood by today’s young people.

Les Impatientes (The Impatient Ones) describes the lives of Ramla, Hindou et Safira, three young women from wealthy families in Marouna, northern Cameroon, and their struggles to live up to society’s expectations.

The novel deals openly with polygamy, rape and arranged marriage, realities which women of all social classes across the Sahel must face.

Upon learning the jury’s decision, via video conference on Wednesday, Amadou Amal said she was “very proud and moved”.

“This represents so much for me,” she said. “That we can talk about violence against women… and that young people have chosen this story, it means they are sensitive to its message. And that represents hope for the future,” she said. “It means they can change the world.”

Heureux de remettre à Djaili Amadou le #Goncourtdeslycéens 2020, roman poignant sur les violences faites aux femmes qui a ému nos 2000 lycéens jurés.

Elle rend hommage dans son discours aux victimes de Boko Haram.

Bravo aux lycéens et à leurs professeurs !

Vive la lecture! pic.twitter.com/Vu5xMedv3A

– Jean-Michel Blanquer (@jmblanquer) December 2, 2020

“Happy to be handing this award to Djaili Amadou Amal,” wrote France’s Education Minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, on Twitter.

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