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Bars And Loud Music: Causing Harm 

By Rachael Takang* — Most bar tenders in Cameroon violate a November 9, 1990 decree regulating the bar sector as they play music loud enough to wake the dead. Bars in the country seem to announce their presence by the loudness of their music. As one commutes through the country’s major cities, bars come alive with the blast of bikutsi, makossa, bendskin and other popular brands of music.

This is the case with some streets and junctions that bear attractive names such as “Rue de la Joie” and “Carrefour j’ai ratte ma vie” in  Douala, and “Carrefour beaucoup des  bars” in Kumba.
A visiting Nigerian to Cameroon, after observing the drinking rate in the community where he spent his time there, remarked that Cameroonians drink as if they are on special assignment.
However, it is apparently the drinking habit of most Cameroonians and their penchant to listen to loud music that most bars tend to operate as such.

The Post found out that many bars come open their doors as early as 8:00 am, with early customers savouring the precious liquid from the bottle. In Buea, capital of the Southwest Region, moving from the Mile 17 Park to Clerks’ Quarters, one can count some 100 bars lined along the major road talk less of the many others found in the neighbourhoods. Most of these bars hardly close.

Logically, most of the noise one gets in the rather calm town is from bars. Bar tenders blast popular music at very loud tone that can cause damage to inhabitants. Popular Nigerian artists like P-Square, Timaya, 2 face and wiz kid; western musicians like Rihanna, Beyonce, Jay-z and Cameroonian artists like Lady Ponce and Petit Pays greet the average passerby.

A bar tender, who has had over 10 years experience in the business, says he had few customers at the beginning. “One day I took a stroll around town and discovered that loud music goes with drinking, as long as the youths are involved. It is not just about playing loud music, but then you need to get good amplifiers to get quality sound and consequently quality consumers of alcohol,” he explains.

“Though few people complain about the loud music from the bars and sometimes ask that the volume be reduced, I simply tell them to try the next bar. My regular customers like my style because I give them what they like,” he says further. While many condemn loud music, many others love it. “I am a fan of loud music, especially when I am drinking in a bar. I do everything with music except when having lectures in school.

And this is because it is forbidden to. Loud music makes me forget my troubles,” says Manfred Choucks, a student of the University of Buea. At the University of Buea Junction, some of those affected by loud music are students, managers of schools, financial institutions, beauty saloons and cyber cafes as these bars play different kinds of music at once. “Most at times, my customers cannot take the noise and they are forced to go else where.

If I need to survive then I will try to relocate, but this is not easy. I think the government can do something that would be conducive for all,” she says. A secondary school teacher, Johnson Biyana, decries loud music. “With loud music I cannot think well. It is like my brain has been blocked. Listening to music played in high volume, I do not get the words. So, to me, it is noise,” he says.

According to him, when in Molyko he cannot visit a cyber cafe because of the noise around. “The noise of cars coupled with that of the one thousand and one bars is like getting the cries of a hundred babies at a time,” he argues. Students around these bars who play blaring music say it hinders them from concentrating on studies. “One cannot study in such a noisy environment. I got nerves problem and I am not supposed to be in noisy areas, but the noise meets me in my house. I am surrounded by bars,” says Falonne Nkom.

It is time the local government took into consideration that Buea, especially Molyko, is a student residential area. So, all bars should be closed or re-located. The consequences of loud music could manifest in varied forms. A general practitioner at the Buea Regional Hospital Annex, Dr. Divine Anaro Wose said noise generally causes severe damages to the human system.

According to Dr. Wose, loud music provokes hypertension and heart diseases. These illnesses could last for long for, it cannot be treated medically, he says. “Remember, not only loud music is considered noise. Think of soldiers in battle fields, all the noise from gun shots and bombings cause psychological problems. If a victim of this gets, let’s say, the noise produced by thunder, he would be traumatized.

To cure this, the doctor recommends that the patient should be monitored daily in a psychiatric hospital. Thus, Dr. Wose advises fans of loud music to change their habit and listen to music in low volume. “In that way they would follow the words and get the meaning of the music,” he says.

Not just do medical personnel discourage loud music, but equally the government, as it is seen in the decree of November 9, 1990 regulating the bar sector, and the November22, 1993 decree on the implementation to create a world of enjoyment spots, proscribes not only street-side beer drinking, but also loud music, drunkenness and crime.
*UB Journalism Student On Internship

First published in The Post print edition no 01376

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