Mr. E.A. MBIWAN, PIONEER GENERAL MANAGER OF THE WEST CAMEROON ELECTRICITY CORPORATION - POWERCAM, GIVES HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT AHMADOU AHIDJO A TOUR OF THE YOKE HYDRO-ELECTRICITY PLANT (1967)
THE STORY OF
MR. E.A. MBIWAN,
2 April 1925 - 8 August 2011
THE PATRIARCH, THE ENTREPRENEUR, THE SOBAN, CAMEROON'S FIRST CHARTERED ELECTRICAL ENGINEER ...
THE CAMEROON COLLEGE OF ARTS, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (C.C.A.S.T) - BAMBILI
OF THE LATE 60s & EARLY 70s...
Google-ing and emailing away from his computer,at age 86!
(Buea - April, 2011 - Just 4 months before his passing!)
Pictures or Info to submit?
The man whose funeral we hold today, our husband, father,grand father, brother and uncle, was born Godfrey
Ebaichuo Agbotoko Mbiwan, to Pa Moritz Agbotoko Mbiwan, catechist, and Ma Dora Manyiegbe Mbiwan,
housewife, on the 2nd of April 1925 in Besongabang, Manyu division.
He attended primary school at the Basel Mission Boy's School, Besongabang up to class four, and moved to Esusung – like so many others at the time – the only place then, where children could go to get up to class six.
In January 1941, he gained admission into Saint Joseph's College Sasse, (to which he walked from Besongbang,), and left in 1943 for Government College, Ibadan, Nigeria, having completed the entire education cycle Sasse College provided at the time. He worked for a few months in Lagos upon completing from G. C. Ibadan, then obtained a Nigerian Government scholarship to study Electrical Engineering at the University College of North Wales, in the United Kingdom. Upon graduation, he worked in London and Manchester in the UK, and then returned to Nigeria where he worked with the SHELL-BP Petroleum Development Corporation in Owerri. The Corporation moved him from there first to the Islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies in 1959, then to the United States of America and then back to Nigeria, this time to Port Harcourt where the Company had its Head Quarters.
It was from here that he came to Cameroon on leave and met the late John Ngu Foncha right there in Besongabang. He was there on a visit to Pa Moritz Mbiwan who was a friend of his. This was the dawn of independence, and John Foncha was delighted to be introduced to a Cameroonian Electrical Engineer who could handle WestCameroon's Electricity Supply problems, instead of the French man the state was having to “import” from Douala for that purpose. And so it was that in 1962, Papa obtained permission from SHELL OIL to abrogate his contract with them and answer the call for qualified Cameroonians in the Diaspora to return home and help build the emerging nation. He, it was, who set up the West Cameroon Electricity Corporation – POWERCAM, which people of a certain age know was brilliantly run with him at the helm as its first General Manager until 1968.
In the course of his work, he acquired State-leased land on the west coast of Victoria, today's Limbe, and it is in agricultural exploitation of this land that he spent the greater part of his days. Many people – again of a certain age – will also remember him as the owner of the building which housed one of Victoria's best known hotels, the (original) Park Hotel Miramare in the Botanic garden.
Along the way, he had met and married – in 1957 – Miss Elizabeth Efeti Mbongo, a teacher, and over the next seven years, they had four children; three girls and one boy. Life's vagaries moved him away for a while, and he had two more daughters. In 1981, he lost his only son in a car accident on the slopes of Mont Fébé in Yaoundé, in the wee hours of the first day of 1981; a loss from which we believe he never truly recovered. Barely two years ago, by the grace of God, he was reconciled to his wife, and both lived together in the Family home in Bomaka until his passing away on Monday, 8th August, 2011.
Pa Mbiwan always enjoyed a robust health; Except for surgery on his left knee which he had injured as a young man, and an occasional bout of malaria, there was virtually nothing else he suffered from. Just a few months before his passing though, he developed symptoms of degenerative disc disease; asituation he found quite distressing as the pain from it forced him to walk bent over. In spite of this – and with his characteristic humour – he described his new gait, “walking around like an ante-diluvian quadruped!”
About a week before he died, he complained of loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and the slightest physical exertion exhausting him unduly. At about 6:42 in the morning of Monday 8th August, he was found to have peacefully returned to his Maker, his heart having stopped beating between 3:00 and 5:00 am.
Eighty-six years and three months, that heart had beaten in this extra-ordinarily intelligent, wry-humoured, quite often irritable, extremely orderly, highly alert and very caring father and grandfather.
Eighty-six years and three months during which he filled our lives with his presence.
The vacuum is un-fillable, Papa! Journey well, and may the Great Jehovah, three-in-one, grant you the rest that only He can give.
HIS BIOGRAPHY ...
(As Penned and Read by his oldest daughter,
Mrs. EBOB EVENYE MBIWAN TANYI, at his funeral.)
While the Tribute and "ODE"above shed light on his educational and professional life pretty well, they don't quite paint the picture of who this man - nicknamed "BLACKSTONE", was as a person, "behind closed doors" far away from the public eye. To "fill in the blanks", here is a "TRIBUTE OF SORTS" which was written by his daughter, Mrs. EGBE MBIWAN MONJIMBO, on the Occasion of a THANKSGIVING Celebration organized by she and her sisters, on April 16 2011, four months before his demise!
Just 2 months before Papa's demise, his longtime friend and classmate, Professor VICTOR ANOMAH NGU, passed on ahead of him. The EULOGY and its intro below capture the love, respect and bond of friendship that existed between the two men ... the last 2 from their SOBAN Class of 1943 to leave this world! The Physician "bowed out" on June 14 2011, and the Electrical Engineer "turned the lights out" and exited the stage on August 8 2011.
Some Class Reunion they must have had up above!
DEAR NGU FAMILY,
It is with great emotion that we learned, about a week ago now, of the transition of your beloved father, brother and uncle into Eternity. Needless to say, the news saddened us like it did everyone else who heard it, but then it did not take too long for the overwhelming sadness we felt originally, to shift a little, making way for feelings of admiration, pride and, above all, GRATITUDE to GOD for all the astounding feats accomplished by the ONE-OF-A-KIND scientist and human being the distinguished professor was. A man so gifted and talented, yet so incredibly unassuming, down-to-earth and humble; A man with unswerving, heartfelt convictions, yet so soft spoken!
The last time my sister Didi and I had the opportunity to meet him at an ExSSA-USA Convention, he wasted no time, just like every other time we had run into him before, in asking after our Dad, his long time friend and classmate from their Sasse days, whom he mentioned by name, time after time, in interviews he gave to the press, in the most complimentary of ways. In one such interview with Mountain Echoes back in 2008, he was asked the following question:
M.E.: Who are some of your contemporaries in Sasse and where are they now?
Professor Anomah Ngu (Prof. A. Ngu):
Ebai Mbiwan is one of them. Like I told you before, he was the best student in my class. He is in Douala and he called me a few days ago. Most of the other contemporaries, even those who came after us are all dead.
We therefore knew the impact that the demise of one of his truest and most loyal friends would have on our Dad who is, himself, physically unable to undertake the trip he would have LOVED to make to Bamenda, to bid his cherished friend farewell in person. He therefore took the time to dictate the lines below by phone. He asked me to “modify and edit” as I saw fit, but I have not dared alter a single thing in what is clearly PA E.A. MBIWAN’s “ODE” to his departed friend. All capitals, punctuation and suspension marks are therefore his, dictated in characteristic meticulousness:
And it came to pass that...
In the month of March 1926, a son named Victor Anomah was born to the NGU family of Baforchu, Bamenda. Eleven months before, in the month of April 1925, another son named Godfrey Ebai had been born to the MBIWAN family of Besongabang, Mamfe. These two boys, in their mid-teens, met in Sasse village in January 1941, together climbed the hill to Saint Joseph's College Sasse, and there enrolled with the admission numbers 176 & 178. After three years in SJC Sasse, the same two boys found their way to Government College Ibadan, Nigeria. Firm and fast friends all through the years, both boys became old men. Now, it has pleased the Lord GOD Almighty to call Victor back home to Himself in eternity.
In heartfelt tribute to salute your transition, Anomah, and in total loss and inability to invent original expressions, let me recall and modify as best I can, some lines from Thomas Gray and Henry Longfellow:
"...The lives of great men ... departing ... leave behind footprints on the sands of time ... footprints that another seeing ..., shall take heart again... You rest your head, Anomah, upon the lap of Earth, having been known to Fame and Fortune in medicine and science... and you now rest your head on the bosom of your Father and your God..."
Adieu, Victor Anomah, “Moto Graffis!” Adieu till we meet again to part no more!
Ebai Mbiwan (“Moto Banyangi”)
There can't possibly be too much to add to his words, except to express our sincere condolences, as we join thousands of others to pray for the repose of Professor Victor Anomah Ngu's gentle soul.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
Egbe Mbiwan Monjimbo, For and on Behalf of The MBIWAN Family
With the facial traits and complexion my sisters and I have, chances that we would NOT be recognized and identified as “Small Mbiwan” were at best slim, or next to none, growing up first in Victoria, and then in Yaoundé! Just when we had managed to “fly under the radar” or walk around “incognito”, we would invariably hear “MÔ Mr. MBIWAN! CAM HERE!” from nowhere, and be asked how “BLACKSTONE” was doing! In fact, but for our brother who always had his svelte figure, we all took turns, successively, at being known and referred to as “DA Mr. MBIWAN E FAT PIKIN”! While we may have blushed at the “fat” part of that “epithet”, we were NEVER embarrassed to be known as “Mr. MBIWAN’s daughters”, and on that score, nothing has changed. Who would not be proud to be associated with someone whose intellectual prowess, mastery of the English language, and razor-sharp mind - even at the ripe old age of 86 – are just mind boggling? In fact, just the other day, I was “rummaging” around on the internet, and I stumbled across this article titled “INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR NGU”, which piqued my interest! A certain Mr. Enow Williams, representing “Mountain Echoes”, was interviewing the World Renowned Professor back in 2008. The whole interview is a riveting and compelling read from start to finish but the tiny section that caught my attention, (for obvious reasons), is this excerpt:
M.E.: How did you find yourself in Sasse College and when did you leave?
Professor Anomah Ngu (Prof. A. Ngu): I wrote an entrance exam to Sasse College from Bamenda. I passed and was admitted in 1941 and left in 1943.
M.E.: You were the best student in your class I suppose?
Professor Anomah Ngu (Prof. A. Ngu): I was not the best student in my class. In fact if I think about it, Ebai Mbiwan was the best student in my class.
True, that statement is based just on the Professor Emeritus’ recollection, and it is possible that actual records may tell a slightly different story but yours truly couldn’t care less!
So, it is fairly common knowledge that:
- He attended the prestigious Saint Joseph’s College, Sasse, graduating in 1943 (By the way, he never let any of us forget the fact that he “trekked” all the way from Besongabang to Sasse any time we complained about anything we considered “hardship”!)
- He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Bangor-Wales, in the United Kingdom, becoming a Chartered Electrical Engineer shortly thereafter.
- He was the pioneer General Manager of the Legendary POWERCAM
- He was a formidably astute tennis player.
His accomplishments and achievements, especially given his humble beginnings, are ASTONISHING and REMARKABLE, and it can hardly be denied that he has made the MBIWAN name one of the most readily recognized in all of Anglophone Cameroon, a feat which is normally the preserve of politicians.
Now, while I am proud of all these laudable achievements, I have to say they do not mean nearly as much to me as the tons of endearing things he has done over the years, as “PAPA”, NOT as “Mr. E.A. MBIWAN”, in plain sight as well as outside the view of the public eye.
- One such thing is the investment he made in our education, sending us to schools that complemented and solidified the values we had already learned at home. SAKER BAPTIST COLLEGE - Limbe, SAINT JOSEPH’S COLLEGE – Sasse, and CCAST – Bambili are all institutions that owe him a medal for the number of students whose education his hard-earned money secured on their school’s desks and benches – from his own children, to many of his siblings!
- Another is certainly the discipline and work ethic he instilled in everyone he helped raise. He set high expectations for us and held us accountable for the work we did, without actually holding our feet to the fire. Consequently, we worked hard because we did not want to let him down, not because we dreaded a spanking, or some other kind of brutal punishment. Proof? I made a “U” in “O” level math and was NOT buried alive. I was instead congratulated for excelling in the other subjects which were “my kind of thing”. And that’s just the thing! He let us be what we aspired and wanted to be, confident that we would make the right choices, and, PRAISE GOD, we have!
- As a woman, I cannot fail to mention the gratitude I owe him for not raising my sisters and I to settle for less, just because we happen to be girls or women, something many fathers do, to this very day. He expected the same mental and academic output from all of us, irrespective of gender, and I cannot express how much that did to boost my self esteem and lead me to believe I could achieve practically any goal I set my sights on. It may not have sat too well with our “suitors” and prospective in-laws but he wasn’t particularly shy about letting them understand that, while he was happy to see us married, he did not for one moment think that it had to be an “AT ALL COSTS” kind of affair. As “controversial”, “unseemly” and “untraditional” as that might sound, it told us, his daughters, in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, that we were CHERISHED and VALUED, NOT some merchandise to be sold to the highest bidder – NO REFUNDS, RETURNS OR EXCHANGES ACCEPTED!
What else do I owe him sincere thanks for?
- Those countless messages he leaves on my answering machine asking if my husband, children and I are safe, following some weather alert he has just seen on CNN regarding Hurricane “such-and-such” which is supposed to be headed in our direction. (9 times out of 10, his message would be the first I was hearing of any such impending disaster!)
- For being the inspiration behind my avid interest in current events and world knowledge, by his unwavering dedication to NEWS – via radio, newspaper, magazine and much later, TV. TIME magazine, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and JEUNE AFRIQUE were “staples” at our house, so that a keen interest in what was going on around the globe was ignited in me which has persisted to this day! By the way, I can still sing the jingle and recite the greeting for the BBC World Service News on the hour at 6 O’clock Greenwich Mean Time, for which he had a specific transistor radio (equipped with the longest retractable antenna I have ever seen), permanently tuned to the Shortwave Station that broadcast the news. Of course, we “stole” that radio and used it to listen to our favorite “Request Shows” when he was out playing tennis and, most of the time, even though we were careful to set the needle back to the right spot, he found out we had fiddled with his beloved radio! The culprit, (which was NEVER me, I swear on my honor), was made to “stand there” in the corner and face the wall for an undisclosed amount of time, but certainly loooong enough to make you wish you had gotten “the cane” on your palms instead, because, at least, the punishment, (scolding and tears all factored in), would have been over and done with much sooner, and you would have been able to move on faster to other more important things like wondering whether you were really only an adopted child from some orphanage in Besongabang to have received such “terrible” treatment!
- That peculiar way he whistled (through his teeth) along to hymns and familiar tunes when he was in a great mood, which had an uncanny way of making me less upset about having to sit through one of his routine “finger nail trimming” sessions which left you feeling like you were handicapped, because of how low he cut your finger nails! It is simply one of the world’s unsolved mysteries that we never bled!
- The tennis balls he brought home for us to play with as kids, and many moons later, the” Kumba Bread”, sugar cane and bananas he brought, RELIGIOUSLY, for my children every single time he went down from Douala to the South-West province on business. By the way, since no one told him that Houston, Texas where my sister, Didi, lives is practically “ENUGU ANNEX”, the poor man arrived on his first trip out here in the early 90s, “armed to the teeth” with plantains, because he knew just how much his “BORN ME AH FEEVA YOU” daughter LOVED “dodo”! OH YES! He attended his conference in Florida with them securely tucked away in his luggage, and delivered them “safe and sound” to her when he finally made it to Houston!
- For my better than average English language spelling, verb conjugations, and diction. You see, when your written request to your father for some more pocket money from a far away boarding school could be delayed because of your failure to spell “beginning” with the right number of “N”s, the absence of a left and/or a right margin, or your neglect to adhere to the proper rules of indentation, capitalization, punctuation, and a host of other “tions”, you learn NOT to make careless grammatical errors! Would I be adversely impacted if Microsoft decided to do away with the “SPELL CHECK” feature in its Word Processor? NOPE! I really would do just fine without it! I cannot question the presence of the “Encyclopedia Britannica” in our home since that came to us courtesy of his oldest daughter, as part of the stash of awards she won upon graduating from Saker!). What I cannot help being puzzled over is why we had all those dictionaries – from Michael West to Webster’s, en passant par Oxford, when we had a LIVE, WALKING DICTIONARY & ENCYCLOPEDIA in our very own Dad, at our disposal, free of charge! Ask him A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G pertaining to ANY topic under the sun –from the SOLAR SYSTEM to PHOTOSYNTHESIS, SHAKESPEARE to VOLTAIRE, MONET to VAN GOGH, HANDEL to TCHAIKOVSKY, and you would get a precise, concise ear full of an exposé, without him missing a heartbeat, blinking or even stopping to catch his breath, for all the world as if he had been anticipating the enquiry! Interestingly, nothing much has changed even now that he is in his 86th year!
- Those A Tracks and also 78 RPM and 33 Long Play DECCA or HIS MASTER’S VOICE records of music by artists and Maestros as varied as MYRIAM MAKEBA, MANU DIBANGO, THE MIGHTY SPARROW, MARIO LANZA, FRANCO (et L’OK JAZZ), HANDEL, DARK CITY SISTERS and, of all things, a YODELING SWISS GROUP, complete with Alp Horns, all of which were played on his beloved BLAUPUNKT RADIOGRAM (the kind with a side mirrored bar cabinet), and whose longevity defied all logic and certainly attested to the fine quality of early 20th century German Electronics! I can still sing line after line and verse after verse of all of these artist’s songs, and believe it or not, I still see him, in my mind’s eye, DANCING (in one of those rare moments), to FRANCO’s “TU BOIS BEAUCOUP” or DESMOND DEKKER’s “007”, standing right next to “THE FILING CABINET”, that 4 drawer vault of a contraption, which contained “a century’s worth” of our family’s history, with things like Birth Certificates, Land Titles, Receipts and EVERY SINGLE REPORT CARD we had received, from Kindergarten to University, all neatly and meticulously filed and labeled with machine-like precision!
He is certainly not without his faults. I KNOW! I have sat petrified in a car with him going AT FULL THROTTLE BACKWARDS, for several yards down a ONE WAY STREET, insisting all along the way that he wasn’t breaking any laws since his “EKEHTEH” was going in the required/prescribed direction! I have also tried not to pass out on many occasions when he has had brushes with salesmen, mechanics, and policemen, all of whom must have asked God what they or their ancestors could possibly have done so wrong as to merit crossing his path! That may be so, but when I look back on everything, and consider how things have turned out - particularly in the last two years, I cannot help but THANK GOD for choosing to send me into this world as the daughter of GODFREY EBAICHUO AGBORTOKO MBIWAN aka BLACKSTONE!!!
His Life, The April 16 2011 Thanksgiving Ceremony, The Funeral.
Click on the images Below to view the different albums!
Quite the Family Man!
Standing L to R.: Aunty Manyi Mbiwan Iyok, Uncle Agbor Eyong, Aunty Eyere Mbiwan Takor.
Sitting on Sofa: Mummy carrying Baby Egbe, Didi, Acha, Papa.
Sitting on carpet: Ebob & Uncle Ncha
(Chatting with Late Honorable S.T. MUNA at a cocktail party in Victoria.)
To Also Read The Sermon He Preached At The Funeral In Besongabang, Please Click On Icon To The Right!
BACK IN 2008, Mr. E.A. MBIWAN GRANTED CRTV AN INTERVIEW ABOUT HIS SERVICE AT THE HELM OF THE WEST CAMEROON ELECTRICITY CORPORATION (POWERCAM) FROM 1962 - 1968
CLICK, WATCH & LISTEN!
(If you have a keen ear, you would hear the song:
"POWERCAM, DEM DONG DO WANDA" by the
playing in the background, and, at the end, the catchy High Life tune
"BABY DEY CRY" by the
BUEA MOUNTAIN CLUB ORCHESTRA)
THOSE EARLY YAOUNDE DAYS ...
The 60s & 70s
And now, here is a brilliantly and succinctly written
Tribute to Mr. E.A. MBIWAN,
written by Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang.
It is all the more poignant, because it goes well beyond extolling E.A. MBIWAN esquire's exploits specifically, to recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of other trail-blazers of his ilk.
Standing Ovation for Mr. Ebai A. Mbiwan,
Cameroon’s first chartered electrical Engineer.
…And so they are returning one by one, the men and women who made our names count. We will never feel the aches and pains they endured as they trekked long distances from village to school with a faith in a foreign God they were still trying to know.
We may never know their fears as darkness crept on them on the way in between villages in the middle of nowhere. We will never know the pain of separation as they left their mothers and siblings to be part of a new dispensation removed from the world of their ancestors.
We can only imagine their agony and loneliness as they travelled to foreign lands where no one around them had gone before. We can only imagine how their parents must have hurt and pined while waiting for letters that took months to arrive and needed translators to read.
We will never know their doubts as they fashioned new identities in newly minted Nation States struggling with teething problems of their own.
But one thing we now know, these men and women gave their all and so doing, they carved their names on the landscape of our collective history. Now, as they make their exit suddenly or slowly lets shed the tears but pause and stand up to give them the standing ovation they deserve.
It is a roll call of honor. Yesterday it was the turn of Cameron’s first surgeon and award winning scientist; today it is the turn of Cameroon’s first ever Chartered Electrical Engineer, Mr. Ebai A. Mbiwan.
May we all rise? Let our loud applause ring out, cheering him on for blazing an illustrious trail and may the deafening noise of this sustained applause alert the young ones of the new roles they must now inherit.
In sympathy and profound admiration,
Joyce Ashuntantang, Ph.D.
THE FUNERAL BOOKLET/KEEPSAKE
Emmanuel, Ursula, Irmhild & Fred Tamen
Namondo Mbiwan, Mrs. Mbiwan & Egbe Mbiwan at the old airport, loooong before Nsimalen! (1972)
Sunday School at the Djoungolo Faculty of Theology - 1971
The Class 3 pupils of Government Bilingual Primary School - 1971/72 School year, with Headmaster,
Mr. Adolf NJONJI
TOP EXCO – CCAST BAMBILI (Graduating Classes of '68 to '70)
By the time yours truly got to CCAST Bambili in September of '83, Clubs like SOCAMAC & SONARA existed but, as I have learned, all of the hoopla that surrounded them is NOT even a close match when compared to the AURA and CLOUT the Clubs of the earlier years carried!! In fact, judging from just the garb and accoutrements of the gentlemen in the pictures, (without even factoring in their various achievements and successes later on in life), I daresay they were a force to be reckoned with!
May the souls of all the Faithful Departed in their ranks, Rest In Peace!
Taken on Handing Over Day, May 25th 1968 :
1968-69 inductees standing, in suits.
L to R: Ferdinand Dioh; Daniel N.Munongo (R.I.P.) Matthias Kimbeng; Matthew Sendze (was president of the group); Stephen Itoh; John Awamukalah ; Victor Ebai (R.I.P.); Dr. John Kal'a Kale (in white suit, R.I.P.); Tambe; Ernest Mbella Endeley (in grey suit, R.I.P.); Jeremiah Moni N. Andoseh ; Tunde Agbabiaka (in white suit, R.I.P.); George Mofor; George Asah (nicknamed "Natural Ruler" );and Joseph Bawak Besong (president of SUCCAST i.e. the Student Union, for the 1968-69 year).
Bottom row, seated, in agbada : The outgoing 1967-68 group.
From L to R : Athana Fote; Ndumu; Pa Adolf Njonji ;Matthew Folabit; Butake ; Augustine Nzeribe ; Joseph Cody Ndinteh (club president for that year); Albert Ikomi ; Henry Mofor (nicknamed "Achebe", with the "mallam" headgear ); Emmanuel Divine.
(Absent from the picture were Pius Nchanchu Ngassa (R.I.P.) and Dr. Fidelis Mofor who were both in the 1967-68 set of Top Exco.
Back Row Standing 1969 – 70 (INDUCTEES)
Chemfor, Dr. George Ngufor, ??, Peter Enyong aka Ojukwu ?, Dr. Lyombe Luma (in white), Dr. Joseph Awandak Nkwanyuo, Lape Mbome, Willy Mengot, Robert Ngong?, ??, Chumfong, Babila Fortingo, Roger?, Sammy Lifanda, Ghogomu?
Front Row Sitting 1968- 69 (Outgoing Class)
Tunde Agbakiaka, Mathias Kimbeng?, Jerry Andoseh, Ferdinand Dioh, Victor Ebai (RIP), Stephen Itoh, Dr. John Kale, Joseph Bawack Besong (in suit), George Mofor, Matthew Sendze (PRESIDENT), John Awa Mukala, Tambe, Ernest Mbella Endeley (RIP), George Asah.
The CCAST Bambili LADIES of this same era were certainly a fair match for their Male peers, if they did not outshine and out perform them altogether! No gainsaying this assertion on the strength of this 1971 picture of a group of BRILLIANT, TRAIL-BLAZING Ex-Students of Saker Baptist College.
(3 Gusty Blasts of my given-to-me-by-one-of-them Vuvuzela, in lieu of meager applause!!)
WHAT OUR TOWNS, VILLAGES, STREETS & LANDMARKS LOOKED LIKE BACK THEN ...
VICTORIA (LIMBE) - 1960s
To View The Other Pictures In The Album So Far, Please Click On This 1967 Picture Of "Half Mile Junction", Leading Into CHURCH STREET!
SOUVENIRS DE YAOUNDÉ – “ONGOLA” AS I REMEMBER IT … LATE '60s & '70s
pictures are simply PRECIOUS! For me, it is the POSTE CENTRALE picture
with the TRÉSORERIE in the background that just makes me want to weep
for what once was!!! The PRÉSIDENCE DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE was just up that
hill, with the “IMPRIMERIE NATIONALE” just around the corner if you went
left; and if you went right, you would, of course, run right into the
EUGÈNE JAMOT monument from where you could either head to INSTITUT
PASTEUR or go on past HÔPITAL CENTRAL, to dear old GRAND MESSA, cradle
of one’s childhood!!! Further down the street from the post office
though, if you made a right, (instead of going straight up to Collège
Charles Atangana and MVOG-ADA (fief of TONNERRE KALARA CLUB), and
continued up a little toward BRASSERIES DU CAMEROUN and the then
Airport, you would find BOULANGERIE ACROPOLE in front of which I stood,
clad in my blue and white Government Bilingual Primary School uniform,
with “follow me” plaits on my head, SOAKED TO THE BONE , a Cameroonian
flag in my right hand and a Nigerian flag in my left, as GENERAL YAKUBU GOWON came riding into town for a “2 day friendly visit to his Cameroonian counterpart”, EL HADJ AHMADOU AHIDJO.
Amazing how many memories just one glimpse at a picture can bring flooding into one’s mind – from CAMP YÉYAP, to COLLÈGE VOGT, to RADIO CAMEROON whose stars, at the time were the likes of PAUL KODE, MARK NIBO, FRIDA KIMA (with “Songs of Faith”), PERPS NCHE, PETER ESSOKA & WILLIAM ESAPEBONG (with "Points of View"?), and Dr. BERNARD FONLON (with "Classical Music"), not forgetting DANIEL ZOCK À MBASSA, (Tonton AMBAZO), whose program “SÉRÉNADES DANS LA NUIT” kept many a teen up after hours, trying to record the “slows” he broadcast, on audio cassettes (which were notorious for “wrapping”), or trying to copy down the lyrics of the songs in their SONG BOOK!! Aha! Remember the Jingle for "Luncheon Date" at the time? It went:
"Tune to Luncheon Date; Tune to Luncheon Date;
Luncheon Date is an educative program;
And for all information, and for all entertainment,
Tune to Luncheon Date, Our National Program"!!
(Wonder where the Lady who recorded that catchy tune could be now?!)
And, as far as "local" Musicians went, what you heard when you turned on the radio were the likes of ONCLE MEDJO ME NSOM JACOB, MESSI MARTIN, ELANGA MAURICE, ARCHANGELO DE MONEKO, and LOS CAMAROES! At the time, by the way, GEORGES SEBA was just this dashing métisse Lycée LECLERC teen whose Choir - LES GOSPEL SINGERS, rehearsed every Thursday afternoon at the ÉGLISE PRESBYTÉRIENNE CAMEROUNAISE de MESSA, in plain sight and "hearing" of yours truly and family who lived a mere hop and a skip from the Church door!
(We sure wish we'd asked for autographs!!)
Interestingly, I still hear the sounds - of a distraught mother wailing in the night as she walks home carrying the still-warm body of her child who has just passed away at Hôpital Central - just up the road from our Camp SIC Messa home, and hear the Muezzin's call to prayer from the Briqueterie Mosque. I still see the sights - of ecstatic newly-weds dancing their very souls away from the back of a "tipper" loaded with a live band playing away at full blast, totally oblivious to the very existence of the word "divorce". You bet I can still smell the fresh rain and the dust too and what wouldn’t I give for some hot “ACHOMO” right now or some “SOYA” ("avec piment", wrapped in brown CIMENCAM paper), from the MINISTÈRE DE SOYA in BRIQUETERIE!!!
This is the YAOUNDÉ that Talla Andre Marie sang about in
CLICK ON PICTURE ABOVE TO SEE A FEW MORE PICTURES.
(More Pictures To Follow!)
WEDDING BELLS CHIME! (1957)
Ebai Mbiwan weds Miss Elizabeth Efeti Mbongo
Late Honorable E.T. EGBE, (Far left), Mrs. CATHERINE MUSOKO and SISTER EMILY NKWANYUO are in attendance. (Far right)
Back Row Standing:
Mrs. Patience Gwanyama Ndi, Mrs. Eyere Mbiwan Takor, Mrs. Mercy Makia Esapebong, Dr. Rosa Njee Befidi, Prof. Sinata Shiro Koula?, Mrs. Grace Kangsen Nku, Mrs. Christiana Ewusi Aterre, Mrs. Kofo Agbabiaka Ngufor, Mrs. Juliana Ndoko Gobina (R.I.P.)?, Mrs. Helen Ndjodzeka Jumbua, Ms Jane Etta Takang, Mrs. Helen Gwanyama Tata, Dr. Stella Nwigwe Anyangwe, Mrs. Miranda Bell Lifanda
Middle Row, Sitting on Chairs:
Mrs. Grace Gwanyalla Daiga (R.I.P), Ms Grace Besong Eno Tanya, Ms Joan Chuo
Front Row, Squatting:
Mrs. Dorothy Ikome Forbin, Dr. Beri Dimla Ngong, Mrs. Liengu Litumbe Martin, Dr. Lilian Tendo Wambua
WHAT WAS UP IN GBEA (BUEA)
IN THOSE DAYS ...
BTTC STAFF: 1969 – 70
Sitting L to R: Ms Mboti NGONGI, ??, ?? , Ma MUSOKO, Miss Maryanne Fuchs, ??, Miss Felicity PAGE
Standing L to Right: Mr. Samuel BECKE, (Principal), ??, ??, Mr. Emmanuel CHIABI (P.E.), Chief Martin IKOME, Mr. Douala NJIE, Pa F. MOBIT (taught Agriculture), Rev. KEPLER? (in glasses), Monsieur ALIMA (in glasses and black suit), Mr. Jim FESKO (Peace Corps), Pa TAMBE J.U., Mr. MBOME, Mr. ADE (in cap) ??, Monsieur Jean-Paul MAGOUET, ??, Pa George HADDISON.
BTTC STAFF & STUDENTS (1969 - 70)
Sitting R to L: Ex-Sakerettes Marita Chie, Elizabeth Tanyi, Mary Edem, Grace Audu. Miss Felicity Page, ??, ??, Mrs. Catherine Musoko, Miss Maryanne Fuchs, ??, Miss Janet Ngongi, Margaret Abosi, Cecelia Manga, ??, ??.
3rd row, 2nd from right: Ruth Esapa
Back Row first from right, Maureen Ashu (Ebai), 2nd from right, Pauline Etchu (Susungi)
Also pictured: Ida Njee, Zaria Bebe (Najeme), Elizabeth Mosima, Joan Molungu, Martha Gobina, Elizabeth Lyonga (Martin), Juliette Kange (Kemmer)
Sitting 3rd from left, Mr. Charles NDOBEDI, ??, Mr. MONDOA, ??, ??, Rev. Mbella LYONGA, Dr. NJIE, ??.
FEBRUARY 18 1968
L to R: Pa OTUDOR (slightly cut off), Mr. MONDOA, Reverend Jeremiah Chi KANGSEN (erstwhile Moderator of the PCC), & Rev. Stephen Mbella LYONGA at the latter's wedding to Imhilde Gauch.
1964 - BASEL MISSION CHURCH BUEA TOWN
Mr. Bruno Njombe Ewusi's Christening.
From Left to Right: Pa Nako, (standing behind, to the side), Dr. Isoke Mbongo (in white shorts), Mrs. Susan Mbongo Mokeba, ??, ??, ??, ??, Mrs. Elizabeth Ewusi Azeme (RIP), Mrs. Dora Mbongo Ewusi, Mbamba Sophie Matute Harry (RIP) carrying baby Njombe, ??, Reverend Lyonga (RIP), ??, ??, ??, Mrs. Elizabeth Mbongo Mbiwan, (RIP), expecting Baby Egbe!
CHILDREN, L to R: Mrs. Namondo Mbiwan Ndando, Acha Mbiwan (RIP), Mrs. Ebob Mbiwan Tanyi, Ms Grace Ewusi (next to Baby Njombe), Dr. Mbella Mokeba, Mr. Hope Ewusi, ??.
JANUARY 14 1951
BASEL MISSION CHURCH BUEA TOWN:
ELONGI NDOL’A BITO (CHOIR)
Ma ESAME (Conductor with Baton, Far Left)
Rev. Daniel Mbua LYONGA & Mrs. LYONGA, Center.
GIRL GUIDES (Early 50s)
Standing L to R: Ma Katy MUSOKO, Aunty Kate IDOWU, Aunty Alice TORIMIRO, Aunty Caro Nku NGENDE?, Aunty Clara SIMON, Mrs. E.K. MARTIN (Hannah STEANE).
Kneeling L to R: ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, Mrs. Regina Oben?? (3rd from right), ??, ??.
Front Row Lying on Grass: Aunty Sissy (Mabel) QUAN, ??, ??, Aunty Sarah (Eko) LITUMBE, ??
Sitting L to R: Mrs. Sophie Namondo MATUTE, carrying son, Fritz Isoke MBONGO, Mrs. Dora Mbongo EWUSI, Catechist Thomas Isoke MBONGO, Mrs. Elizabeth Mbongo MBIWAN (between her father's legs).
IF YOU ARE WILLING & ABLE TO POSITIVELY IDENTIFY ANY OF THE UNNAMED PEOPLE IN THE PICTURES BELOW OR ELSEWHERE ON THIS PAGE, PLEASE CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW TO ...
OUR CURRENCY OVER THE YEARS!!!
Unlike American Currency which hasn't changed that much over they years and which, - especially when it comes to the bills (notes), looks "boringly" the same, color and size-wise, CAMEROONIAN "NKAP", "NCHOU", "KOLO" or "DOUGH" has always been very colorful, diverse and varied. In fact, the bills, in and of themselves, are bona fide postcards and mini history lessons, given the fact that they depict multiple facets of the political, socio-cultural and economic life of the nation. Take a look ...
Submitted to SAKER PRIDE by Dr. Bernadette NJEUMA
THOSE BATANWI YEARS!!!
When it came to PHOTOGRAPHY in the 60s, 70s and 80s, a period when it was quite UNCOMMON for the average person to OWN a camera, the photo studios that dominated the scene in the South-West Province were, amongst others,
- EVER GREEN PHOTOS, (15 Church Street, Victoria, West Cameroon)
- APOLLO STATES PHOTOS (Church Street, B.P. 161, Victoria, U.R.C.)
- NOBLE PHOTO STUDIO (P.O. Box 44, Buea, S.W.P)
- ATLAS PHOTO STUDIO (Opposite ATB Junction),
- UNESCO PHOTO STUDIOS (14 Church Street, Victoria) &
- PHOTO SAMMY (Victoria, South West Province, U.R.C.)
Well, anyone familiar with that era, I believe, would readily agree with me that the GIANT that stood head and shoulders above the GREATS mentioned above, (if it did not tower over, outshine and outlast them all), is "BATANWI'S STUDIOS", 8 Church Street, P.O. Box 32, Victoria,right there by PALADIUM Bar and JENGELE WATA, across from the RHOOM residence!
Interestingly, if you were shown pictures taken by ALL of these Photo Studios, (I have quite a sampling spread out in front of me as I type this), you couldn't quite distinguish one Studio's picture from the others - EXCEPT with the introduction of this peculiar and distinctive "genre" of photograph that was referred to in the 80s, when it became EXTREMELY POPULAR, as "BLACK BACKGROUND".
Whether you were a student in GHS, PYC, COMPREHENSIVE or the prestigious SBC, in that day's Victoria/Limbe, you hadn't quite "arrived" if you didn't have a "Black Background" picture in your album or wallet! I was looking through a couple of my Secondary & High School Albums the other day, and was pleased to note that I have quite a collection of these BATANWI pictures! Took me less than a minute to decide that I was going to not just SCAN & SHARE, but also HUMBLY & KINDLY REQUEST THAT THE MANY OTHERS WHO HAVE SIMILAR PICTURES "LANGUISHING & PINING" AWAY IN THEIR ALBUMS, FORWARD THEM, (LABELLED), SO THEY CAN BE ADDED TO THIS COLLECTIONwhich I am publishing to mark, recognize and acknowledge the "WORKMANSHIP" of a STUDIO that definitely earned its place and status as a household name back in the day.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO VIEW THE 11 PICTURE - AND GROWING COLLECTION. ENJOY!
THE COINS ...
When things aren't going quite right, a pretty common response to the equally common question, "BOH, HOW?", (besides "Ah dey like ah no dey"), is "AH DEY LIKE 5 FRANC NO GET CHANGE". Well, this would not have been an accurate statement in the 60s and very early 70s, because 5 FRANC BE GET CHANGE! Take a look ...
Yep! We did have 1 and 2 Franc Coins!!!
The 2 coins above along with the 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 Franc Coins (from my collection), some of which were minted prior to my arrival on planet earth!!
Submitted to Saker Pride by
Miss Eunice Kern
The ELDERS of The Presbyterian Church in DJOUNGOLO, Yaounde, THE ONLY ANGLOPHONE CHURCH IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL at the time! L to R, Front: Mr. Peter ESSOKA, Mme Rebecca NGO NYO, Mrs. Elizabeth MBIWAN (RIP), Mrs. Deborah SHU, Mrs. ATOGHO, Mrs. GLUCK?, Dr. Peter NDUMBE (RIP); 2nd Row: Mr. GLUCK?, Mr. Z.M. FORLEMU, Mr. WALLA (RIP) behind him, Rev. NDINGWAN (RIP), ??, Mr. Henry AGBORAW (RIP)
The S.C.M.(Student Christian Movement) group in C.C.A.S.T. Bambili of the late 60s.
Sitting Left to Right: ??, Grace Gwanyalla (later Daiga) RIP, Albert Ikome, ??, Gordon Acha, Sammy Kimbu, Victoria Tomedi Ndando, Sammy Akale, Janet Mboti Ngongi, ??.
Standing L to R: Agheneza, Johnson Ayafor (RIP), Nsoesie (RIP), Charles Mbah, Augustine Nzeribe, Margaret Tendo (later Besong), ??, Martha Eya Eyong (later Tasinga), ??, Joseph Bawak Besong, (Dr.) Mbanteku, George Asah, Alfred Mimba, Joseph Ndinteh.
TOP EXCO Induction of 1968-1969 Graduating Class.
L to R: Joseph Bawak Besong, Victor Ebai?, Matthew Sendze, John Awa Mukala, Ernest Mbella Endeley (White suit, arms folded - RIP), Moses?Tambe, Ferdinand Dioh, George Mofor?, John Kale (RIP), Tunde Agbabiaka (RIP)
TOP EXCO 1967 - 1968 (Graduating Class)
Sitting From L to R: Fidelis Mofor, Mr. Ngala, Joseph Ndinte (carrying Ngala Baby), Mrs. Ngala, Matthew Folabit, & Adolf Njonji.
Standing L to R: (Dr.) Pius Ngassa (RIP), Henry Mofor (aka Achebe), Augustine Nzeribe, Athanasius Fote, (Dr.) Bole Butake, Albert Ikome, Ndumu?, Emmanuel Divine.
A wedding in Yaounde on August 7th 1971. The ladies are singing ANYWHERE WITH JESUS. L to R are Mrs. Fomuso; Maggie Ngu; Half-hidden face probably Comfort Ngu; Matlilda Ndiba; Celine Chindo; Elizabeth Essoka (later Mrs. Betow) RIP; Patience Essoka & Janet Mboti Ngongi
TIKO AIRPORT (1965)
L to R: Judy Rager Peace Corps), Esther Tanga Gadpaille (Class of '67), Martha Beckett (Peace Corps), Grace Lysinge (Pioneer), Monica Akoachere (now Forchu), ?
Martha Beckett & Judy Rager Peace Corps teachers at Saker Baptist College, returning to the U.S. from Tiko Airport.
THE ESSENCE OF WEST CAMEROON:
ITS INSTITUTIONS, PEOPLE, PLACES & EVENTS
Dr. DIBUE & NURSES IN BAMENDA
BOY SCOUTS & GIRL GUIDES
Mrs. Catherine Musoko, Mr. S.T. Muna, Mrs. Alice Torimiro & Mrs. Ida Mallet at center.
THE COLONIAL POLICE FORCE
THE BASEL MISSION
THE N.A. (NATIVE AUTHORITY) SCHOOL
PLEASE CLICK ON PICTURE TO THE LEFT TO VIEW 80 PICTURE ALBUM
IF YOU ARE ABLE TO IDENTIFY ANY OF THE PEOPLE IN THE PICTURES OR HAVE ANY INFORMATION YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE, PLEASE
THE (W) C.N.U
PROFILES OF SOME OF THE MEN & WOMEN WHO MADE ANGLOPHONE CAMEROON WHAT IT WAS IN THE 60s, 70s & Early '80s posted at:
Dr. & Mrs. DIBUE (Matron Patience NGOO) in front of their Victoria home in Victoria.
OUR FLAGS & SYMBOLS THROUGH THE YEARS!
I am not exactly sure what your answer would be if you were asked to list a few things that REPRESENT or SYMBOLIZE a Country, a People or a Nation. I believe you would mention some universally recognized and recognizable things like a COAT OF ARMS, a MAP, an ANTHEM, ... and Most Definitely, A FLAG! Flags do carry a lot of meaning and have been known to evoke intense emotions in people as they wave them in International Sports Competitions (like the Olympics), carry or wear them fiercely and proudly on the Battle Field, stake and hoist them on a conquered territory, fly them at half mast when a National Tragedy occurs, or even drape them over the casket of one who has served their nation faithfully. Little wonder then that the Title and Theme of the United States of America's National Anthem: "THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER", is the 50 stars and 13 stripes that currently make up the Country's Flag! Given the place a FLAG plays in any country's history and "identity", it goes without saying that its COLORS and SYMBOLS are not randomly chosen. Bien au contraire! A lot of thought goes into the choices and decisions made regarding what to include. These choices may not always sit well with various individuals or groups that make up a nation, for all sorts of reasons - most of them political. Nevertheless, each country does have an OFFICIAL Flag and my intention as I embarked upon the research for this "Article" was to present the "COLD/HARD FACTS" regarding the various "BANNERS" that have flown over the area that I was born and grew up in, which was referred to then, as "WEST CAMEROON". You may be just as surprised as I was, by the "findings" of my mostly internet-based research!
First off, I was NOT even aware that there was a PROPOSED COLONIAL FLAG for "KAMERUN"! Here is a direct re-posting of an excerpt of an internet article on the History of Flags:
"In contrast to the territories of the British Empire, virtually all of which were granted a distinctive heraldic and vexillological identity, German colonies and protectorates did not have their own heraldic devices or flags. Following in the Portuguese and Dutch colonial practice, the Germans treated their overseas possessions an an integral part of one empire and consequently the Imperial German arms and flags were used throughout the Empire. (Bruce Berry, 13 Feb 1998)
The Secretary of State of the Reichskolonialamt (Imperial Colonial Office), Dr Wilhelm Solf, made a tour of inspection through the German "Schutzgebiete" (areas of protection), as the colonies were called by Germany, in 1912 and 1913. During this visit he was also allowed to go to some British colonies. After returning to Germany, Solf gave a report to Kaiser Wilhelm II, during which he especially emphasized the positive effects the colonial emblems had regarding the native people. Wilhelm II was impressed and gave instructions to Solf to design Coat-of-Arms and flags for the German colonies. Supported by Herzog Johann Albrecht von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Solf thoroughly investigated the history of the German colonies and chose symbols that were characteristic for the specific area. After some modifications, Kaiser Wilhelm finally approved the drafts by the middle of 1914. Altogether, Solf created six different Coat-of-Arms, one for each colony. All shields were topped by the Reich's-Eagle and the Imperial crown and displayed typical elements from the respective colonies.In the case of Kamerun, the shield showed the head of an elephant."
Well, no one who is familiar with the ELEPHANT-themed MALÉ tradition of the Bakweri People of BUEA, the town the Germans chose as their headquarters, would be surprised at this choice. HOWEVER, here's what the article goes on to state:
"Following the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, all plans for introducing the new colonial coat-of-arms and flags were postponed. After the defeat of Germany in 1918, it was obvious that neither arms nor flags would become official symbols of German colonies as each became League of Nations mandate territories. Rolf's proposals were thus never implemented." (Valentin Poposki, 26 April 2011)
Images of Proposed Flags & Coat of Arms for KAMERUN.
Current Flag: Adopted 20th May 1975
Flag from 1961 – 1975
Apparently, this proposed-in-1922 "FLAG BADGE" featuring a double circle with the inscription "Southern Cameroon" and within the inner circle a group of bananas existed, but was never approved. It is alleged that it resuscitated in 1954 and used perhaps until 1960. Again, no one who knows anything about South-West Cameroon-based CDC (Cameroon Development Corporation) Plantations or who has driven past MOLYKO headed to or from BUEA would amazed at the "BANANA" choice, methinks?! Come to think of it, weren't the words, "SWEET BANANA SWEET" the recurring words of a pretty well known Primary School song in them good ole days??!!
According to yet another internet posting by a certain Jarig Bakker, this version of our current flag (which I did not know existed), appeared in the September 1961 issue of the 'National Geographic' magazine, in an article about the flags of the 99 states which were then members of the United Nations. The article states: "Cameroon citizens last year adopted an unadorned tricolor: green for the luxuriant vegetation of the south, red for sovereignty, and yellow for the sunshine of this African nation's northern region. Joined U.N. 1960."
There seemed to be a little discrepancy with the dates there but, further along on the same page, the following statement sort of "clarified" things: "The first flag of Cameroon was adopted by Law 46 dated 29 October 1957 and confirmed by the Constitution of 21 February 1960 following independence on 01 January 1960."
First national flag (1957-1961)
The following statement sums up the essentials of this second tricolor: "The 1961-75 flag of Cameroon was a vertical tricolour of green-red-yellow with two yellow stars in the canton of the green stripe. It was adopted when the former British territory of Southern Cameroon voted to join French Cameroun which became independent in 1957. The two stars signified the two territories making the federation of Cameroon. In 1972 Cameroon became a unitary state and the second star was subsequently dropped from the flag in 1975 when the current flag was adopted."
The current flag of Cameroon is a vertical tricolor of green, red, and yellow, with a yellow, five pointed star in the center. When British South Cameroon joined the federation, two stars where added. In 1972, the country became a unitary state and three years later, the two stars were replaced with just one. The flag was officially hoisted on 20 May 1975.
Current 1986- adopted version of Cameroon's Coat of Arms. First version was adopted in 1960
PHOTO STUDIOS & PHOTOGRAPHERS!
THE NAMES BEHIND THOSE "SNAP SHOTS"!
In this day and time, if you have a cell phone, (and even my Dearest Mbamba Sophie had one over there in Mokunda, prior to her passing in 2004!!), you are a "Photographer". It's hard for our tweeting & instagram-ing kids to wrap their hi-tech brains around the fact that there once was a time when 99.99% of the pictures in any household "ALBUM" were taken in a PHOTO STUDIO or by a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER affiliated to, or "dispatched" from one, because few people owned cameras. Now, Face Book is over-the-brim FULL of "impromptu" pictures of people doing everything from cooking eru in their kitchens to brushing their teeth in their bathroom sinks, but an "informal", relaxed, in-the-parlor, picture like this one from 1966 showing Acha Mbiwan setting the table, Egbe Mbiwan sucking her thumb, Ebob Mbiwan blowing a balloon and Didi Mbiwan running around with 2 others, is quite a "RARITY"!
When people say "a picture is worth a thousand words", they usually mean that the IMAGES speak volumes; However, when it comes to our "SNAP SHOTS" of yore, the PHOTO STAMPS at the BACK of the pictures tell an equally compelling and intriguing story, as they bear witness to a time when it was quite an EVENT for a family to dress up, (in "one kind" or in their "last box"), "trek" or take a taxi to a PHOTO STUDIO, have their faces "rubbed" with JOHNSON'S BABY POWDER, asked to stand in some kind of order or pattern, and asked to say "CHEEEEESE" by a photographer behind his TRIPOD camera, just before he "disappeared" under his big black cloth!!
The ALBUM below is my attempt to SHOWCASE & "CATALOG" some of those PHOTO STUDIOS, PHOTOGRAPHERS & AGENCIES to whom we owe our cherished pictures from the '60s, '70s and '80s, simply by PRESENTING the PHOTO STAMPS at the back of the pictures they took. My sincere thanks to Dr. DAVID ZEITLYN, Professor of Anthropology at Oxford University, whose keen interest in the history of Cameroon Photography providentially led him to THIS VERY WEB PAGE one bright day last July, for sending me 6 of the 45 photo stamp images that make up the Album. ENJOY - and CONTRIBUTE TOO, if you can!!
CLICK ON IMAGE TO THE LEFT TO VIEW PHOTO STAMP ALBUM
LATE PRESIDENT AHIDJO VISITS THE UNITED STATES
13 MARCH 1962
Description: Motion picture covering the official state visit of President Ahmadou Ahidjo of Cameroon to the United States, including welcoming ceremonies with President John F. Kennedy and a visit to the White House, other stops in Washington, D.C., and a visit to New York City and the United Nations (UN) headquarters.
Source: United States Information Agency (USIA), received from Paul Fisher, White House, 9/18/64. Presented by: United States Information Service (USIS).
Produced by: Thomas Craven Film Corporation Productions.
Copyright Status: Public Domain
STUDENTS OF SAINT JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, SASSE - BUEA
The only 2 persons identified in the picture so far are:
- Late Reverend Stephen Mbella LYONGA, and
- Late Mr. Eric Dikoko QUAN (sitting 5th from right)
MORE PICTURES FROM YESTERYEAR!!
OCTOBER 1970 - LAGOS, NIGERIA
Picture shows Veteran Journalists BOB FORBIN seated far right in the dark glasses, and HENRY FONYE seated far left, (with kontri cap). The others in the picture are Ms Becky Onana ; behind her, the late Dr. Pius Ngassa, Dr. Atanga Onana, and Late Lawyer Edjua
(in lawyer's robe and wig)
BUEA GOV'T. NURSERY SCHOOL MARCH PAST, Circa 1966
Front Row with Mrs. Ndoko:
Irene Tamajong and Jecinta Foncha;
2nd Row: Florence Ngassa? and Marilyn Shang;
(Row 3 is covered by the Flag)
4th Row:Dorothy Nji and ...;
5th Row: Elinge Musoko and Banyo Makia.
(Could not help noticing that the FLAG in the picture is the one that had 2 YELLOW STARS ON THE GREEN BAR, representing the 2 DISTINCT territories - EAST and WEST Cameroon, that made up the FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON.)
THEN & NOW, 50 YEARS AFTER!!
BUEA GOVERNMENT NURSERY SCHOOL ALUMNAE & THEIR TEACHER
Mrs. Marilyn Shang Simo,
2nd Row, Right in Photo
1964 (Pioneer) Batch
(Class of 1977- S.B.C.)
Mrs. Banyo Makia Ndanga,
5th Row, Right in Photo
1965 (2nd) Batch
(Class of 1978 - S.B.C.)
Mrs. Susan Musoko Ekollo,
5th Row, Left in Photo
1965 (2nd) Batch
(Class of 1978 - S.B.C.)
Ms Irene Tamajong
1st Row, Left in Photo
1964 (Pioneer) Batch
(Class of 1977 - S.B.C.)
Mrs. Julianna Limunga NDOKO nee Endeley,
TEACHER leading her pupils in photo above, still marching - right foot in mid-air, left foot on terra firma in the photo below.
CONGRATULATIONS, MA NDOKO! Me thinks the BOUQUET OF FLOWERS is WELL DESERVED!
THAT 1972 "8eme COUPE D'AFRIQUE DES NATIONS" ...
A TALE OF 2 TOKOTO JEAN-PIERRES ...
A couple of months ago, my "Tar Heel" (UNC) son asked me if "TOKOTO" wasn't an African name. I said it sure was, and hastened to add that I knew of 2 CAMEROONIANS with the name: TOKOTO ASHANTY aka "L'HOMME DE CHEVRE" the musician of "NGONDO" and "EBANDA MBODI" fame, (God rest his soul"), and TOKOTO JEAN-PIERRE the football (soccer) Player and Coach. He then pointed out that there was a JEAN-PIERRE TOKOTO on his college's BASKETBALL squad. Convinced that there had to be some "athletic connection" lurking around somewhere, I did the obvious: I went a-GOOGLE-ing, and it took all of 1 second to find out the following about the University of Chapel Hill's Basketball team's forward:
"Born Jean-Pierre Tokoto in Rockford, Ill. • Birthday is September 15 • His parents are Trevor and Laurence Trimble • Played soccer until age 13, when he first began to play basketball • His grandfather, J.P. Tokoto, played for the Cameroon national soccer team • Majoring in exercise and sport science in the sport administration program • Last name is pronounced TOE-kuh-toe." (LOL!)
Not being one tenth as much of a basketball fan as I am a soccer fanatic, my thoughts shifted to GRAND PA TOKOTO, going all the way back to 1972 and that 8th AFRICAN NATIONS CUP Tournament in which quite a few hospitalizations and suicides were recorded when Cameroon lost at the Semi-Finals to Congo-Brazzaville, with the "consolation" being JEAN-PIERRE TOKOTO's Winning of the "MAN OF THE TOURNAMENT" trophy.
Well, a little bit more "searching" produced this NOSTALGIC GEM of a VIDEO, complete with RENAULT 4s, Snippets of MUSIC that was composed specifically for the tournament, "Baba" AHIDJO himself, etc. TAKE A LOOK!
The 2 TOKOTO JEAN-PIERRES!
Grand Pa, The FOOTBALL player (Right), & Grandson, The BASKETBALL player. (Left)
"SCOOP" OF AN UPDATE!!!!
THE BEAUTY WHO WAS CROWNED MISS HUITIÈME COUPE D’AFRIQUE DES NATIONS IN 1972 IS …
Talk about a very interesting case of "ASK & YOU SHALL RECEIVE"! In the email I sent out a couple of days ago to accompany the NOSTALGIC 1972 8eme COUPE d'AFRIQUE des NATIONS VIDEO posted above this entry, I made the following statement:
" ...With NO TV available at the time, I did not get to SEE:
- "BABA" AHIDJO'S Kick Off,
- The crowning of the MISS HUITIEME COUPE D'AFRIQUE DES NATIONS (Wonder where that svelte "Mademoiselle Ikom Elise" could be right now?)
- The "MAN OF THE COMPETITION" Award to TOKOTO JEAN-PIERRE, and a few other priceless/nostalgic details that the video clip I just posted has revealed."
I was THRILLED to hear back from tons of readers/viewers who felt the same nostalgia I felt, and was thoroughly entertained by the narratives of those of them who actually attended the games in DOUALA! What I certainly did NOT expect was this email that contained a VERY DIRECT & ASTONISHING ANSWER to the question I asked, (which I have highlighted in red above)!!!:
"The Miss Huitieme Coupe d'Afrique of 1972 was won by Sakerette, ELSIE IKOME. She is in Limbe and doing well."
WOW!! If you look back at that quote from my email, I have her name spelt as "IKOM ELISE" because that is exactly how the ("FRANCOPHONE") commentator pronounced her name in the Video!!! (Listen for yourself at 8'06"!!)
My apologies for the inadvertent slip and MORE IMPORTANTLY, HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS to the Deserving QUEEN!! ALL HAIL!!!!
PLEASE CLICK ON PICTURE ABOVE TO VIEW A FEW MORE OF MA SAKERPRIDE'S VISIT TO THE MLK Jr. MEMORIAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C.