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« Breast ironing, a painful practice for Cameroon's girls | Main | Citizen Democracy in Cameroon »

Saturday, 20 March 2010


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The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

..I will guess the writer will have a-plenty photos of corpse riders in his family. Yet, he didn't use them. To have abused the photo of a solemn ceremony at the University of Buea, in which colleagues are giving last respect to a departed patriot that contributed to the upliftment of humanity, speaks volumes of today's writers/journalists from Africa...., especially anglophone cameroon....


This is a succinct and revealing indictment of the political economy of funeral rites in Cameroon, the implosive effects of corruption in all its material and immaterial facets. If funerals and burial rites are social events where one witnesses the performance of a society's most salient beliefs, then one sees in this article how a community's collective belief systems have undergone radical transformation for the worse. Social rites always address the contingencies of their performers as well as incarnate the lifestyles of the community in question. Who hasn't seen these transformations coming? Who can claim he or she has not witnessed these events during the burial or the passing away of a loved one? The question is whether we should sweep them under the red Arabian carpet, as the regime would have us do, or mirror them so we can see, as Bate Besong once said, how ugly we have become (cf: The Grain of Bobe Ngom Jua). Until we see how ugly we have become, Ayi Kwei Armah's incisive parsing of a society in full fall will always haunt us.

Hopefully, we haven't reached the state of Ghana in the eighties, but we'd be there soon if as individuals and as families we do not begin to address this crisis from our own immediate circles and social environment.

I understand the above writer's comment that the use of the photo in the article constitutes abuse. However, I think the writer of the article uses it more in a generic than in a particular sense, and his intention is not to defame.

Moving further I will mention Petina Gappah's recent work "An Elegy for Easterly" (2009) and Zakes Mda's "Ways of Dying" (2002) as insightful and trenchant fictional works in their evocation of similar social transformations in the case of Zimbabwe and South Africa, respectively.

We need more of such writing - both in fiction and creative non-fiction, if we have to move ourselves and our society towards change. And to add, Zakes Mda's recent collection of essays "Ways of Writing" (2009) could be helpful to any writer in that regard.


I found Fon Achobang`s articled on the ferrying of coffins from hospitals interesting.

However, I found it unaceptable and misleading that the illustrative photograph he used was not captioned. To make matters worse, it carried no credit indicating who took the photograph.As a result, the photograph could be very misleading to the reader. What aspect of his article is the photograph substantiating? By the same token, why did UP STATION MOUNTAIN CLUB accept to publish a captionless photograph? Please, correct this.


I might have overlooked the role of the photograph, and I must agree with you (in spite of its generic use) that it should be captioned. Likewise I agree with The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc. that an appropriate photograph would have reflected the article better. But again I see the writer's dilemma in using any photograph at all for this article. Now, Mr. Azonga, being a seasoned journalist, what would you suggest as a way out of such a dilemma? This might be instructive to writers and other journalists.


Well, I have one suggestion for the coffin riders in Cameroon:in their quest to trivialize death by transforming a solemn occasion like mourning into a form of mercantilism and desecration of traditional mores, I suggest that they also hire professional mourners(people who are hired by the families of the bereft to shed abundant tears for the departed). This trade is already blooming in the Republic of South Africa where just like Cameroon, death has been devalued. For tips on how to go about this business successfully, I suggest that Cameroonians should buy and carefully read ZAKES MDA'S novel WAYS OF DYING(OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS SOUTHERN AFRICA, 1991). This book is a blueprint for those of you wishing to engage in the trade of professional mourning.
Money speaks and bullshit works felas!



Un jour je retournerai à cette terre mienne
Qui m’attend bras ouverts
Je lui dirai—
Embrasse-moi sans peur—
Je lui affirmerai :
Si je ne sais que hurler,
C’est pour toi que je hurlerai.
Ma bouche sera ta bouche,
Celle des laissés-pour-compte de mon pays natal,
Ma voix sera la voix des sans-voix,
Celle des opprimés de mon pays de naissance.

Un jour je regagnerai ce pays mien,
Je lui dirai—
Accueille-moi sans crainte,
Ma liberté sera celle des malheureux,
Celle des incarcérés qui végètent,
Au sein des cachots de Kondengui et de New Bell.
Je leur dirai—
Embrassez-moi fort,
Car je suis votre libérateur.
Je dirai aux sauveteurs de Mokolo
Et du Marché Nkoulouloun
Ne trébuchez pas!
Je dirai aux buveurs de matango
Et aux mangeurs de soya à Swine Quarter
Et surtout ne restez pas
Les bras croisés en guise de spectateurs,
Car la vie n’est pas un spectacle.
Le jour de notre victoire est bel et bien arrivé!

Je dirai aux bayam sellam au marché central,
Et aux taximan de partout,
Embrassez-moi tendrement,
Et aux bendskinneurs au Chomencam,
Et aux pousse-pousseurs en nage,
Je leur dirai—
Ne laissez rien à la providence,
Car un Ongolais qui pleure
N’est pas un cinglé qui danse!
Je suis votre Messie,
Celui que vous avez tant attendu.

Et nous nous tiendrons droit debout,
Mon pays natal et moi,
Les yeux levés vers le ciel,
Nous combattrons les assoiffés de pouvoir,
Nous casserons la gueule à tous les dictateurs vampiriques,
Nous descendrons tous les fossoyeurs de la République !
Nous mettrons feu à tous les biens mal acquis!
Quand ce arrivera,
Il y aura sauve-qui-peut général !
Il y aura des grincements de dents !
Un jour je reviendrai au pays natal.

© VAKUNTA 2010

Christopher Fon Achobang

Sorry, I didn't provide any photograph. Permit me to submit one now and I crave the indulgence of those publishing my articles to request original pix from me. Gratefully at the service of our community.

© 2010 Anonymous

Christopher, seems the photograph has been taken out, so it doesn't detract from the merits of the article. Keep the articles coming, and let them be incisive, provocative, transformative just as the above...

We need more from your pen!

Thank you.

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

This is the joy of being a responsible citizen...True patriots stood up. And the author reacted...Heat was conveyed, surely...

And the photo has been replaced with the right one, albeit without apologies to UB Academics who were insinuated to be perenial coffin riders....

Join us with your Bazookas to finish this battle that has commenced, once and for all:

The comments to this entry are closed.


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