Another very interesting group outing today! DWIG ladies visited the pagne factory CICAM (Cotonniere Industrielle du Cameroon) located in Bassa, Douala, Cameroon. It’s half an hour drive from our usual meeting point, the Bombay Masala Restaurant in Bonapriso. As usual, the group gathered at the appointed time and at 13:15 sharp, we were on our merry way. It was a pleasant drive with minimal traffic on the street, considering that Bassa is home to one of the busiest markets of Douala.
As soon as we arrived at the factory, we were briskly whisked away to the receiving hall of CICAM and the security officer gave us pointers on how to conduct ourselves during the tour and within the premises. The presentation was swift and to the point. Everyone appreciated that.
CICAM was founded around 1965 and is the only pagne factory in Cameroon. Pagnes are 100% cotton tissues/cloth especially printed with lively and colorful designs. They are in-demand during special occasions such as International Women’s day, Labor day, elections, all sorts of feasts, funerals and weddings. Pagnes are great not only for clothing for men, women and children, but they are also made as attractive and colourful curtains, table cloth, bed sheets and all sorts of stuff you can think of. CICAM produces pagnes and other clothing materials not only for Cameroon but also for other countries such as DRC, Gabon, and Benin. CICAM sources the tissues or calico cloth from its own cotton weaving factory in Garoua, a province in the north of Cameroon.
The first major process center we visited was the design center. Designing includes both manual and computer-assisted. The design team is made up of Cameroonians, some of whom have been with the company for 30 years or so. We were amazed by the designs that were ready for selection. They were truly beautiful! Designs that are selected are then sent to production which includes vinyl-engraving, printing, washing and treatment, cutting, packaging and finally delivery to clients or to the shops. After the tour, everyone bought various pagnes of fabulous designs from the boutique. We went home happy with our own loot-bag of pagnes.
Our appreciation goes to Leria who made this tour possible for the ladies. Thanks Leria and thanks to the wonderful staff of CICAM who patiently explained each process and answered our never-ending questions!
by Joy G.