Respect is a very big thing in Africa. One is expected to show respect to elders or people in positions of authority by various, acts one of which is greeting which can be done in so many ways in so many cultures. A simple greeting recently birthed the viral Bidoung challenge.
Meeting a President is always a big deal and it can be a struggle figuring out exactly how one should conduct themselves. Cameroon’s Sports Minister Pierre Ismael Bidoung Mpkatt seems to have run into that problem as he met and bowed in greeting to President Paul Biya.
He managed with that single act to create a challenge that is sweeping through African social media as fast as the Ice Bucket Challenge or the Mannequin Challenge.
The sport’s minister executed a very deep bow while simultaneously shaking the hands of the President. Since then, the hashtags #BidoungChallenge and #CourberdosChallenge meaning to bend the back, have been included in 11,000 tweets.
Cameroonians also got to work immediately, recreating the image as well as photoshopping the original on social media. A Cameroonian journalist named Nfor Hanson Nchanji, who allegedly started the bidoung challenge, said that he sought to shine a light on how Cameroon ministers worship President Biya.
“I wanted to use the picture to pass a message to the public to see the level at which government ministers greet their president, a sign that they do not only worship him, they adore him, he is seen as their creator.”
“We suffer in this country because ministers have taken Biya like demi god, such a greeting only goes to show how critical the situation is it can be likened to biblical story of Moses and encounter with God in the burning bush, where he hide his face saying he never wanted to see God.”
The bidoung challenge is apparently another comical hashtag from Africa that can be traced back to some pain or anomaly regarding problems on the continent.
President Paul Biya has been the President of Cameroon since 1982 and he has been described as “one of the world’s worst dictators” with a salary that is allegedly the highest among fellow African leaders.