vendredi 30 juillet 2010
I know what you want
It`s the last of the apple gates
That`s why you`re here
But where`s your outer gear?
Did you leave it on the train
Or did you sell it for a penny?
I know why you rant
You`re dreaming of the United States
Wishing that you retired there
Yet to you your apple gates are dear
What if suddenly it begins to rain?
Won`t you then be filled with envy?
I know a twitter when I see one
There may be many
But there`s just one
The right one.
Check it out
It looks immaculate
Smells like Ngaoundere perfume
Tastes like chicken without lemon
No doubt,the archbishop loves it
Because it looks like a chalice
Spotted outside of the cathedral
The archbishop recalls that from his good old days
And in Bangui.
But we weren`t there
Or were you?
I stand accused
Accused of being too kind
I sacrificed my life
Without sparing any part
To save mankind
Now I`m paying for it
With my own blood.
My cup of tea is not infused
But I know I`m not out of my mind
Even if I was being mortified by strife
Any time,any where,I`m ready to start
Hoping I won`t again be blind
Yet you`re alone to have the ray lit
Me,I`m marooned herewith my cross to plod.
jeudi 29 juillet 2010
Insecticides are not good enough
Especially in the agro-business industry
Forget about poached protected species
Or informally run modern day brothels
What matters is ownership of google
And red-necked camels thirsty for revenge.
Sole proprietorship is very rough
Even when pesticides are the core of the industry
When the whole range is wheeled out of the seas
And professors line up before their hotels
I will fetch my lone goggle
And in the process, elope to Stonehenge.
He sold it for how much?
Two hundred francs?
And you bought it?
Are you crazy or what?
Do you take me for a Dutch?
Or are you only thinking francs?
Don`t you know I`m also fit?
That`s why sophists prefer to swat.
You can`t do it alone
No, you can`t fish single-handedly
The well is full already
And its banks overflow with foams of wrath
The farm birds are cut off and stranded.
I`m the one who grew up in Leightonstone
But I didn`t live cowardly
I gathered empty cans and sold them cheaply
While every evening I read McGrawth
Today they`ve made me an item that is branded.
You`re called to answer
Not to pay for missing gas bottles
Or to purchase new certificates of residence
That is the golden bottom line.
You may have come from Gloucester
Where the old abandoned Vauxhaul throttles
But mind you, if you need a line of defence
Revise your theory of the sine and cosine.
It`s not expensive
Although it`s extensive
It`s a crow bar with a chisel
But no axle and no piston.
It has genes that are clearly recessive
Its clinical methods are preventive
But don`t blow the whistle
In case they think you`re from Brixton.
It`s possible to donate
But easier to dominate
So, what are your projections?
Are they environmental impact proof?
If you talk about the rebate
Then spare a thought for the profligate
But also be prepared to lower film projections
And ensure pour list doesn`t burst the roof.
Don`t roast the bull
All he knows is New York
Don`t even waste your time about Cork
He may think you`re just a tool.
I`m no marketing guru
No business plan, no viable option
But I have techniques of suction
If you like, call me Sumanguru.
mercredi 28 juillet 2010
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
Blessed are those in the Lord
For they are the core of God’s glory
They alone will see the light on high
And walk the Sanctum Sanctorum
Theirs is a life full of honey and milk
And their very being, the Lord’s temple.
Since not every president is a Ford
Even those who come along without a story
It is easy for one or two to vie
But when it comes to counting blessings on the fulcrum
Almost everyone will dry them out on silk
Not knowing that what will last is the ripple.
I went in headlong
Not because I was headstrong
But because I was foolish
And to boot, bullish.
On every two-lane highway
What matters is the tarmac symmetrical display
Not the number of vehicles driven
Even if the tally is uneven.
I went in headlong
Not because I was headstrong
But because I was foolish
And to boot, bullish.
On every two-lane highway
What matters is the tarmac symmetrical display
Not the number of vehicles driven
Even if the tally is uneven.
One of the most vocal advocates of what has come to be known as “The Anglophone Problem” of Cameroon, has again slammed his hand on the table, figuratively speaking, in order to drive home his point. The advocate, who is none other than Chief A.S. Ngwana, has done so by publishing a pamphlet in which he takes as stimulus the recent verdict by the African Commission in Banjul.
Entitled, “The Anglophone Problem: The Verdict of the African Commission”, the 25 page publication picks up the debate from the point of view of the ruling having been a timely vindication of the author’s advocacy of a federal state structure as the final solution to the Anglophone problem.
A.S. Ngwana places the issue within the wider context of the ‘world’: “The verdict of the SCNC versus La République du Cameroun by the African Commission on Human Rights is so important that we consider it a victory for the English speaking people of the British Southern Cameroons (West Cameroon). The outside world has been informed and alerted as to the injustices, marginalization and the betrayals the people of the British Cameroons (West Cameroon) have suffered since the abolition of the Federal Republic of Cameroon”.
Ngwana reproduces the recommendations made by the African Commission; firstly as they apply to “the Respondent State, the La République du Cameroun”, and next as they pertain to “the complainants and the SCNC and SCAPO in particular”. According to the verdict, the respondent state is enjoined to ensure fairness and justice while the opposite party is asked to “transform into a political party” and “abandon secessionism”, as well as “engage in dialogue with the respondent State on the constitutional issues and grievances”.
The author further remarks: “As you can see from the above, the recommendations are a very great victory for us who actually voted for unification and for the Cameroon Democratic Party / Cardinal Democratic Party and for the Cameroon Democratic Party”. He further says: “We have never supported violent secession but have advocated a return to federalism and have condemned marginalization, betrayal and abuse of unification. So the recommendations are in keeping with our aspirations.” In the latter part of the publication, Ngwana reproduces a speech he made some years earlier outlining the position of his party on the question of the Anglophone problem whose solution he summarizes as federation instead of secession.
Undoubtedly, Ngwana²s pamphlet is a useful contribution to the ongoing debate on the status of Cameroon’s minority Anglophone community and where it goes from here. Nonetheless, it is regrettable that for a publication on such a sensitive issue, the date of publication is nowhere indicated in the work. As a result, this vacuum creates confusion in the mind of the reader and leaves him or her unfocused and unsettled.
mardi 27 juillet 2010
Marching orders are marching orders
They`re executed, not disputed
That`s why when Eric the Brigade Commander sends for officers
They rush with tails decapitated.
People are meant to move
Not to stand still
If you stand still, then like Lot`s cursed wife
Not every stupid human act points to the symmetrical dove
But God`s actions stem from the common will
That`s what I call the essence of life
Even if you are a second prodigal son
You still end up with an ear flea besieged.
samedi 24 juillet 2010
The man came back today morning
He carried a raffia bag
And looked unkempt
So he took us unawares.
If this life is sometimes boring
It’s because drivers eat without bones
Al they think of is their fag
Our man of today was given the belt
By the strange woman who sells earthen wares.
A mile isn’t long enough
Make it three
That’s both substantial and substantive
It isn’t a sea change, agreed
But it’s a step forward.
I don’t like snuff
Even if it’s for free
I lost my mileage superlative
Out of snuff greed
And that was it for a reward.
They came straight at us four
And for cover, we ducked
It was like re-enacting Musinga
Because the siren tore the quiet atmosphere
No one dared to cry out.
The prefect was on tour
While our hour clocked
We longed to escape on the Cam Bubinga
Out of the den and to just anywhere
Suddenly, the senile referee ended the bout.
I just came in from Washington
Where I went to see the queen
I brought back her bedside bible
And left her my bedroom slippers
I wonder what the President will give her
As she troops back to Buckingham Palace, sullen-faced.
These are no longer the days of Bill Clinton
Nor those of Steve Mc Queen
This is the season of the rotten rubble
When royalty goes in search of fresh waters.
Our only hope is that they don’t go too far
Otherwise, the entire race will be razed.
vendredi 23 juillet 2010
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
Don't hand it that way
I want it gift-wrapped
Think nothing of the paper
Anything will do
But when it comes to pulling the stops
Remember to start with Sarkozy.
Here the worst month is May
When sprouting plants are dappled
And four-footed mamals recall their maker
But if you want to just go with the flow
Then who will fill in the glotal stops?
Or should we head back to the Zambezi?
I'll never bow to you
Why should I?
You're neither my God
Nor my mother.
Honestly, I think your place is in the loo
I fear the Almighty on high
All you care about is your smelling cod
So, why should anyone bother?
Chances come in all shapes
To the expectant
And the unexpecting.
They're not quite apes
Rather, footmen at the Court of Assizes
They're not repentant
No, they're rather exciting.
Has she sent them yet
Or is she still hanging on?
Has she even called
Or is she still, as ususual, procrastinating?
When it's too late for the bet
Won't she miss all the fun?
Won't she also be appalled?
So, why is she protesting?
While waiting, we shall hum
All of us
And without fuss
But we won't accept any bum.
When he arrives late and is ushered
We shall all stand and bow
Like the hen, not the cow
In that way he'll feel honoured.
She won't speak
She won't say a word
So, save your breath
Say nothing whatsoever
Ask for nothing at all
When things are at their peak
Look for the king bird
Throughout the length and breath
Of the universe with a lining of silver
If your own doorman evokes the eagle's fall
Then throughout your life, avoid doting
I mean, doting.
I don’t like pent up feelings
They make me feel awful
As if I still lived in Liverpool
Yet, I’ve never been a fan of Liverpool City
Anyway, Liverpool is better than Newcastle
The worst is Yorkshire for its pudding.
Thank God coal pits are no longer banana peelings
They’re modern day Picassos for the artful
Or journeymen who fear falling in the pool City
Even so, for those of us who live in Bristol
Southampton smacks of a bit of pudding.
mercredi 21 juillet 2010
It’s surely not everyday that one comes across a book on one’s own local community, especially in a Cameroon where the average citizen with money in his pocket, would rush for a bottle of beer rather than a book to read. So when one is landed with such a catch, it is a moment that calls for celebration. It’s a windfall.
Such is the case with my recent discovery somewhere of a booklet that traces the recent history of the Mankon people. Mankon is one of the four main villages that make up Bamenda I Sub Division and Bamenda I Council in Mezam Division of the North West Province of Cameroon. The other three are Chomba, Mbatu and Nsongwa. Interestingly the four villages speak various dialects of the same language which when expanded to include similar other ones in the Division, is called, “Ngemba”, the meaning being, “I say, eh?”
The book entitled: Focus on Nukwi Nu Fo Ndefru III: Mankon Cultural Festival, 23rd to 31st December 1984, is compiled and edited by Yalla Eballa and Emmanuel Aloangamo Aka. In the introduction, A.F. Monikang and F.A. Ndenge state: “In this pamphlet an attempt has been made to present the Mankon people to the general public, especially to the younger generation, and the significance of the cultural festival, Nukwi which is one of the most important heritages of the Mankon people.”
The writers go on to say: “historically, Nukwi dates back to the period of the founding fathers of Mankon. This cultural event takes place once during the reign of each Fo of Mankon to commemorate the death of his successor. Thus the present festival is in memory of the late Fo Ndefru III, and therefore called Nukwi Nu Fo Ndefru III. My impression is that although the present publication is on the Nukwi, it could, in fact have been on any other topic related to the Mankon people, the topic itself being only a ‘pretext’ to highlight some aspect of the locality covered.
The cover of the book is a display of history because it carries the photographs of three Mankon Fons: Fo Angwafo II, grandfather of the current Fo Angwafo III, and Fo Ndefru III, son of the former and father of the latter. Also conspicuously on display on the cover is the cultural emblem of the Mankon people. According to a description of the object found on page 5, the emblem is made up of the cassia leaf which symbolizes compromise and peace, the twin gongs which represent authority, as well as the two elephant tusks which stand for the monarchy. Finally the two hands signify the Kwi’fo (executive body) and Takumbeng (legislative body).
The publication is divided into thirteen sections which include the introduction, the Nukwi festival, an outline geography of Mankon, the origin and migration of the Mankon people, the reign of Fo Ndefru 1919-1959, the integration of malcontents in Mankon in 1947, as well as biographical notes on the late Mafo Manka’a Ngunguru, an outstanding political figure in Mankon political history.
Focus on Nukwi Nu Fo Ndefru III: Mankon Cultural Festival, 23rd to 31st December 1984 is flawed by the fact that it does not carry a date of publication. Furthermore, although the photographs reproduced therein are attention catching, their value diminishes because many are not captioned, neither do they have the year in which they were taken indicated. Even so, the book is one that should be read by everyone, not only people from Mankon.
How is that for an article headline? Misleading, you may say? If that is what you think, then I beg to differ, because I strongly believe that Buea has a problem that needs to be looked at with all seriousness.
Buea, headquarters of the South West Region, is one of Cameroon’s ten regional administrative headquarters. The other nine regions and their regional capitals, are: the Far North with its capital as Maroua, the North whose capital is Garoua, the Adamawa and Ngaoundere, the North West and Bamenda, the West and Bafoussam, the Littoral and Douala which is also the national economic capital, the Centre and Yaounde which is also the national political and diplomatic capital, the South and Ebolowa, and finally the East and Bertoua.
One of the problems with Buea is that while the nine other regional headquarters have “grown up and moved on”, Buea has basically remained rooted to the spot, refusing to grow up and join the “big boys”. One example is that a couple of years ago when the government decided to break up the big towns into three different administrative units and thus increase the number of sub Divisions in the country, all of the other nine regional headquarters benefited from the move by being split. Buea alone remained as a single sub division. Yet with each of the new sub divisions came a local government council and a new way of looking at things.
The new administrative units were a welcomed innovation for the local populations because as the government put it, this was a way of bringing the administration nearer to the people”. To substantiate the point, they point to the services brought about by the new administrative units such as a district office, a police station, sub delegations of the various ministerial departments and a host of other amenities.
The creation of new local councils has also greatly changed the outlook in the towns in question. A typical example is the keen competition that has developed among the three new local councils in Bamenda city, headquarters of the North West Region, which benefited from the split into three units. These are Bamenda 1 Council which corresponds to the territory of Mendankwe village and includes the administrative quarter of the city since this is where the regional governor and his Etat Major as well as the Senior Divisional Officer for Mezam and his own Etat Major live and work. The Bamenda 2 Council area corresponds to the villages of Mankon, Mbatu, Nsongwa and Chomba. Bamenda 3 is Nkwen village and its northern neighbour, Banjah. Like we said earlier, the two new structures that are the sub Division and the Council have greatly enriched life in their localities. One can therefore imagine the loss that Buea suffers from having been left as single Sub Division and a single Council. One government official said Buea did not qualify for the spit because it is still a “small” town, compared with the others.
One aspect that is even more striking is that in addition to the other nine ten regional headquarters being split, in some regions, even divisional headquarters considered to be large were also split. An example is Limbe, headquarters of Fako Division of which Buea, the regional headquarters is part. Kumba, divisional headquarters of Meme Division still in the South West Region was also broken up into three new sub Divisions and three new Councils.
Paradoxically, the regional hospital of the province is located not in Buea the regional headquarters but in Limbe, the divisional headquarters. Instead, Buea has been made to host a provincial hospital “annex”, which of course is comparatively smaller and less commanding. Still, compared with Limbe, Buea really does not have urban roads worthy of the name. Apart from the long street that runs from Mile 17 through Bongo Square and up to the SOWEDA and National Security junction, there is not much else to see as a road in the city. Even so, one notices that the city’s lone main road described above , despite having been redeveloped some years ago and given two lanes, still remains a death trap which one has to seriously watch out for when crossing because the narrowness makes fleeting vehicles a danger to pedestrians.
Buea does not have a market worthy of a regional headquarters. For years now, it has had to contend with the make shift and unsightly structure that stands like an eyesore next to the OIC, the international outfit put in place to train young people in professional job skill areas such as catering and carpentry. Ironically, people who live in Buea and want to buy foodstuffs in a “serious” market are obliged to go to Muea whose market attracts sellers and buyers from all the neighbouring towns. Yet Muea is a smaller town in Buea Sub Division. Furthermore, some necessities that one might take for granted in a town or city may be surprisingly missing in Buea. One example is the fax machine. So it is very frustrating for anyone, notably a businessman who has an urgent text to fax to realize that after hours of searching, they are till unable to find one.
Even so, when one looks carefully at the city of Buea, one finds that probably in no other place in Cameroon are there as many assets as there are in Buea. For the tourist, Buea offers a unique climate which changes as one goes up the town from, Mile 17 and passes through the bright weather of Molyko, the overcast sky of Bongo Square, the fog covered atmosphere of Bishop Rogan College and the humid tea plantation of Tole.
Buea is a major historic town of Cameroon, the proof being the legacy the Germans left when they settled there. This includes the former residence of the Governor General at the time, a building which later became the famous 72 bedroom official residence of the prime minister of the state of West Cameroon. The building still stands there today as testimony of the role Buea once played in shaping the history of Cameroon. Apart from that sumptuous edifice, there are numerous other houses in the city which were built and inhabited by the Germans before they were booted out by the allies when they lost the World War. Today, they constitute a major tourist site.
The history of today’s Cameroon or that of the former West Cameroon or even the Southern Cameroons can not be effectively written without pride of place being given to Buea. Who does not remember that this was the seat of power in Cameroon West of the Mungo, even when our people sat in the Eastern Nigerian House? When later following the plebiscite the State of West Cameroon was created as part of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, who does not remember that this was where our prime ministers lived and worked. Who does not remember that this was the seat of government of the State? Has anyone forgotten the capital role played by Radio Buea at the time? How about the penetrating music of the Super Ambiance Orchestra of the Lido Bar in Kumba? Have we forgotten the Bali Modern Jazz Orchestra led by Dr Moses Fokong? Have we forgotten famous radio names such as Mary Kamara, Annembom Monju, Rahel Fombuh, Maurice Odine, John Ndane, Paul Kode and a host of others?
Buea boasts cash crop plantations of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) in and all around it. As plantations are crowd pulling locations in terms of the many people who have to go and live and work there, their mere location adds a spice to the daily lives of the community. Plantations are of course a source of employment for those who are interested in working. Increasingly though, businesses and other investments are taking root in Buea. Some of the latest are Chariot Hotel, the new palace of the Chief of Muea, the King David Square Hotel in Muea, the three new petrol stations along the road from Mile 17 to Mile 13, the multiple storey building being put up at Mile 17 by the Lobe Cooperative Credit Union, the National Social Insurance Fund complex, as well as the numerous student hostels, popularly known as “mini cites” dotted here and there in the city. Unfortunately, Buea lost the historic Mountain Hotel some years ago. It was allowed to fall into disuse, get dilapidated and collapse. This is a pity because of what the hotel represented in the making of the history of Cameroon, especially history west of the Mungo.
Apart from the thousands of students that the University of Buea has on its campus, there are also students in a good number of other educational institutions which make the city an indisputable citadel of learning - in fact one of the major ones in the country. Others include the Pan African Institute for Rural Development, the National School of Penitentiary Administration, the National School of Public Works and the National School of Posts and Telecommunications, to name some. Mention must also be made of the numerous institutions of higher education which have seen the light of day in conformity with government’s policy of expanding higher education in the private sector.
So, what has happened to our Buea? Has it been cursed? Is someone holding it back deliberately? Whatever is the case, what is certain is that the city needs shock therapy to get up and take its rightful place in today’s Cameroon. The problem is no longer at the local level. So it is not a matter for the governor or the District Officer or the Mayor. It is a matter for everyone. It concerns anyone who lives or works in Buea or cares about the place, even if they live and work elsewhere. Perhaps such people could now come together without any discrimination and set up some form of platform for the resuscitation of the city of Buea. Only then can this lovely city of ours rise and shine again.
lundi 19 juillet 2010
I met the pastor’s wife yesterday
She carried a blown balloon
And a sharpened kitchen knife
What she lacked, and lacked badly
Were sandals made to match.
She didn’t stop to pray
All she thought of was the monsoon
And herself as the ideal wife
Not knowing children watch her sadly
Because she’s not marching with her own batch.
We hired them
Yes, but we didn’t wire them
When you dumped your wasted satchels
Remember you erred with the minstrels.
I’m certainly not a standby generator
So just in case you think you’ve landed
I’m a piece of rock fashioned by the creator
That’s why my wishes are always granted.
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
Why things happen the way they do
That is the question
Nothing more, nothing less
There`s no escape route
Not even for the fleet-footed Aries
There`s no turning back
The Rubicon has been crossed.
Just in case you`re thinking of tango for two
Don`t forget the watchword, creation
Even if you think you`re penniless
The day you`re en route
You may want to check out Dumfries
And perhaps grab a Big Mac
But only make sure nothing is crushed.
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
No matter what, don’t give up
Stay the course and dig in your heels
Tell them you’re here to stay
Don`t throw in the towel
Never give up
Until the bones are rotten.
Don`t be afraid of the bust up
Surely, it can`t be meals on wheels
It`s simply a question of making hay
More or less like George Orwell
And feeling fired up
Also, wherever you go, don`t forget your cotton.
Quelle volte face !
Tu te places sur le toit
Pour dire que tu vas descendre tout le monde
Et maintenant tu te places ici
Sur le seuil de la porte
Pour dire que personne ne sort ?
Tu es un homme
Ou une femme déguisée en homme ?
Comment peux-tu être si faible
Et aussi vulnérable et aussi changeante ?
Tu as des pieds de quoi ?
Et tu oses invoquer le nom
Du Tout Puissant ?
Il vous a sali
Pourtant vous l’épargnez ?
Vraiment, vous êtes normal ?
Vous ne voyez pas ses vêtements souillés ?
Ou vous êtes aveugle ?
Comme le vieux Pa Ambe.
Ce n’est pas par ce que je m’appelle Sali
Que vous me ferez porter toutes les croix concassées
Non, je ne suis pas la femme fatale
Même si j’ai des pneus crevés
Je ne vis pas dans la jungle
Mais je parle couramment la langue harambé.
Si jamais tu as la joie au cœur
Remercie ton Dieu Tout Puissant
Il est là pour tous et pour toujours
Face à l’agresseur
Il est votre bouclier
Face à la tentation
Il est votre sauveur.
Aimer Dieu n’est pas une sinécure
Loin de là, c’est un régal
On retrouve chez lui et en tout temps
Tout ce qu’on veut et plus
Alors, dès ce jour
N’ayez plus peur de rien
Si vous êtes en difficulté
Dites seulement : « Seigneur, je suis ton serviteur ! »
vendredi 16 juillet 2010
Il sait tout. Tout
Sa mère le lui a dit
Elle l`a d`ailleurs toujours affirmé
Son fils a été partout
A la Présidence de la République
Et même au Vatican.
Aujourd`hui qu`il est dans la boue
Tout le monde en fait fi
Et sans trahir ni le do, ni le lit
Chaque jour et nuit debout
Il cherche la juste réplique
Mais sait-il ce que lui réserve le volcan?
Non, c`est ce que j`ai dit
Je n`ai pas rouspété
N`étant pas ancien d`église
Encore moins, ancien ancien
Je n`y suis pour rien
Meme si le doyen a tapé du poing sur la table.
Lui, il en sait quel que chose
Alors, pourquoi veut-on que ce soit toujours moi
Qui ferme l`église chaque dimanche?
Moi-ci, je suis quoi dedans?
Modérateur? Pasteur? Mécène?
Je ne suis qu`un pauvre fidèle
Qui cherche ses beignets
A l`heure de la récréation.
Ce petit fleuve
Tout petit come le Tout Petit Homme
Me fait rire
Il me fait rire aux éclats
Car il me rapelle Paris Nanterre Prefecture.
Vous vous rendez compte?
Un bout de mer au milieu d`un people maudit
Et Monsieur le Maire nous parle d`une victoire pyrrhique?
Il ne s`agit pas d`un conflit maritime ravivé
Loin de là, il s`agit de suivre les traces de notre illustre président
Un fleuve est un fleuve et non la mer
Et le peuple parisien le sait bien
Voilà pourquoi même une armée de cinquante hommes
Ne pourra jamais perdre tant de réservistes et soldats aptes
Si vous voulez, allez relire les discours de guerre de Napoléon
Vous n`y verrez aucune allusion à un fleuve.
A day is too long
Too long for comfort
So, let’s cut it short
And quickly too.
When in Lille we say Madame Lelong
We never thought of the fort
But when we voted for Clare Short
All we heard was the wild boo.
Right here on London Bridge where I stand
I think of the Pont d`Avignon
I wish it also bore dancers
Although I never saw them in Avignon.
Yesterday I was at the Strand
In search of my wife’s Avon
But I met with the hackers
The same who harassed us in Dijon.
I am the one and only cardinal point
The wind vane, if you like
But I’ve lost my white lilies
And my rainbow heroine.
I may be numb at the joint
And in need of another hike
But when it comes to selling wellies
Even Rosemary’s old van can’t be the heroine.
I have withdrawn the bouquets
All of them
They’re all here with me
Not a single one is left
When she comes back
She’ll see an empty space
Reminiscent of Godot`s long wait.
I’m not a middle road man
That’s why bouquets mean the world to me
The road carcasses are twitching
Yet not one fly has left them
Even they are thirsty for bouquets
So when the time comes spaces or no spaces
All the front-runners will fail to run.
They have acknowledged the fact
They told me so a long time ago
That’s why the standard bearer is here
Clear the decks
And saddle the horses
Make way for the ombudsman.
Forget about the humid weather
If you have lost your bearings
Don’t wait for the water bearer
Continue to stack the coffee sacks
And at all times, put your hand to the plough
In the end, put up your feet and have a good laugh.
Sorry I can’t see you tonight
The stream is overflowing
And the wooden bridge has been swept away
The roaring waters and brown and angry
I can’t dare to put my foot forward.
But I know I’m yours by right
And it doesn’t matter if I come by rowing
I’m not keeping you at bay
Even if you’re now lean and tawdry
Whatever is the case, be sure of your reward.
I’m not too keen on a sea bath
I prefer one with just Aloe Vera
And a pinch of camel water diluted
The sea doesn’t cherish my wry hair
Because it hates to waste its waters on it
That’s why any bather who tries anything crazy
Ends up by being gulped by crocodiles.
Thank you for the golden path
I won’t forget to hint Vera
Even if she still feels butted
Although you may think this not fair
I know it is right and we’re fit
Count out those who are lazy
For we’ll make them walk on burning tiles.
The wind is blowing mildly
But the rain gods have all
And against all odds
Again reared their ugly heads
Not even the fact that Marimar is on
And that our kids are glued to the box
Or anything else, matters.
Yet, old Babila languishes quietly
He is mindful of the fall
And this season`s deadly pods
Agriculture will be the watchword for heads
Even those who steal away to Miramare for fun
But the ones who return without socks
Will regret they lost their knickers.
mercredi 14 juillet 2010
Substance is a relative term
For what it is to me
May not be the same to you
That`s why we place molecules
And atoms, all of them
In different categories.
Although you may consider me not firm
Remember I also pay my fee
Like you, I visit the loo
But sometimes I miss my cues
So, when next you`re in Bethlehem
Send me relics from Christ`s diaries.
It`s not yet closing time
So how can you block his calls?
How can you draw the curtains
When our chimney is still smoking?
Everything in here is coated with lime
Including the three frescoes of the Great Falls
But for those who live in Upper Costains
The answer is the gun that is smaoking.
This is the right wing
It`s not what you think
It`s the place for shakers and movers
And the very well from which Peter drew.
This is not quite a swing
Although it can pass for a link
If push comes to shove for lovers
Expect a large cry and hue.
We heard them scramble out and off
It was when the cock crowed twice
The sky was overcast
And bundled up in our cage we held our breath
Our voices drowned in the hissing of the crickets
Trees swayed and shook with the wind
Only the legendary peace plant stood in defiance.
We still alive, considered ourselves tough
As the unfortunate went away with their fat lies
We felt never before had the devil been so recast.
I remembered the day the French president ran out of breath
And the British premier mocked him about sour wickets
Now, I thought, I really must rescind
After all, the essence was what the Swiss call `confiance`.
dimanche 11 juillet 2010
Je ne suis pas éboueur
Et ça je vous le dis
Mais je suis fataliste
Jusqua`au bouts des ongles
Je connais bien la France
Montpellier, Toulouse, Marseille
Dijon, Lille , Besançon et Tourcoing
Et bien sur Paris!
J`ai travaillé chez Renault
J`étais à Billancourt, à l`usine
Je connais donc tout sur la voiture
Mais éboueur, jamais!
Je n`ai pas la présence d`ésprit
Pour en être un
vendredi 9 juillet 2010
River blindness is a calamity
At least where we come from
It`s in league with malaria and HIV AIDS
Together, they`re the three great vices.
Seeing is believing, but also a necessity
Especially when you`re deprived of your drum
If you evoke the name of Bill Gates
Then you must nominate three new vices.
How do you want it?
Hot or cold?
And do you want it shredded or puffed up?
What about the small print?
Shall you read it
Or shall you, like Lukong, simply ignore it all?
I need fishing tools that fit
Not talking drums that scold
So if you can`t decipher, then shut up
People who shudder should visit Presprint
And make sure when they browse, they don`t posit
Remember the saying,`all for one and one for all`?
jeudi 8 juillet 2010
No, I haven`t lost my crystal bearings
I still have my head solidly above my shoulders
And my sour grape mouth where it should be
That is, where my metallic money is
No matter how strongly the westerly wind blows
I resolutely refuse to be blown away.
I`ve steered clear of the haply ducklings
And stacked away all the king boulders
I`ve reinforced the mutinous family tree
And warded off all below-the-belt blows
That`s why I`m cock sure I can hols sway.
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
Your exquisite looks are vague and blank
Your crimson eyes are sunken and jaded
And your Mongolian noes, upturned
Who do you think you are?
You`ve just been to the London City bank
And with good luck, you have landed
But what about the customs free goods that were returned
Or do you think they`re for ever planted on tar?
Have you finished?
Or are you still struggling?
Are the covalent bonding chips down
Or are the still counting the organic odds?
Remember you`re on solid ground if you fished
The only alternative is the silver pot for ever boiling
So there`s no earthly reason to frown
Unless you want to spend your life in the fjords
Your clock time is up
So, don`t bother
Down your ancient tools
And pack your worn out bags
Polythene, textile, plastic
Put all of them together
Lump them together.
I know you`re fired up
But not all burning coals smolder
For that is the preserve of fools
On your way, beware of makeshift gags
They turned Umaru Diko into plastics
The only place for salvation today is Bethlehem
It`s only there that you can live for ever.
Tikum Mbah Azonga
Why do people smile?
Why do they cover their faces with inviting innuendos?
Why don`t they go on and just cry for days?
Are they afraid the sky will fall on them?
Or do they fear they may burst through the roof?
Is it because we all live in glass houses
Or because life is rough, amorphous, acidic and shapeless?
I`m always prepared to go the extra mile
Where others fear to trade their wrists
This is because I have decided to follow Christ’s ways
That`s why when I smile, I smile for them
By the way, if you have lifted the horses’ hoof
You`ll know why when people cry, a simple smile douses.
To smile, you must be spiteless, spotless and stainless.
Are you the errand girl?
Or are you just the mail runner?
Did you did your hand in the holy water well
Or were you only eager to receive Holy Communion?
Don`t imitate the priests
Do your own thing
The church is not a whirlwind in a twirl
It`s God`s fortress for the sinner
Or those who want to avoid hell
And for ever dwell in God`s dominion.
Stay close to your priests
They`re those in God`s chosen ring.
mercredi 7 juillet 2010
Title: Say No to AIDS
Author: Tikum Mbah Azonga
Language: English and French but no translations
Discipline: Health Communication
Method of communication: Mass communication
Target readership: Secondary school, high school, university and adults
In the face of the prevailing grim statistics that depict the unprecedented ravages caused by the HIV AIDS pandemic not only in Cameroon but in the rest of Africa notably, it is clear that the world is at the precipice of a major world catastrophe.
In reaction to the daunting deadly disease, various action plans have been put in place by the world community through relevant UN agencies such as UNAIDS, WHO, UNICEF and international NGOs such as PLAN International, the International Red Cross and Save the Children, as well as individual governments. The case of our country, Cameroon, is strongly stated by the former Minister of Public Health, Urbain Olanguena Awono, who in the preface to Say No to AIDS, affirms:
“Pour contrer le drame et le conjurer, notre chef d’Etat, son Excellence Paul Biya, a pris des mesures fortes: guerre totale contre le VIH SIDA, campagnes de sensibilisation musclées, baisse des prix des anti rétroviraux, prise en charge des personnes affectées. Afin de mieux mener ce combat, le chef de l’Etat a, en outre, mis sur pied une structure de coordination de l’action contre la pandémie : le Comité National de Lutte Contre le SIDA (CNLS). »
The book picks up a novel path in the bid to target especially teenagers and young adults who are the most vulnerable members of society as far as the HIV AIDS epidemic is concerned. Say No to AIDS does so through the medium of mass communication. It employs the language of poetry, which like drama and song, fall under what has come to be known as the “folk media” . The idea is to tackle a phenomenon as grave as HIV AIDS not just through education-sensitisation as such but through what some researchers have called “edutainment”. For a vulnerable group of young people such as those we have in secondary schools and institutions of higher education like the University of Buea, this approach can be quite appropriate.
Say No to AIDS is conveniently broken up into five main thematic sections: prevention, voluntary testing and counselling, care of the infected, support of the affected, and living with AIDS. Poems that fall under each section are thrown into that section, regardless of which of the two official languages (English or French) they are written in. Viewed from another perspective, this notion of bilingual poems being laid out thematically rather than linguistically constitutes a new approach to bilingual publishing in Cameroon. So far, publishing bilingually had meant publishing in one language and then turning the book around and publishing in the other language such that one of the two covers of the publication is in English and the other in French. In the case of the print media though, it has been common to find a few articles in English sprinkled on a limited number of pages of some French publications.
Systematically in Say No to AIDS, poems are subtitled, to give the reader a quick gist of what is going on in the poem. Randomly selected examples among the English poems: Our plight (A universal problem) on page 12, Only one me (The body, God’s temple) on the same page, Beware (A big threat) on page 14, Kill (Trust no one), page 15; Pregnant and afraid (Test to protect your baby), page 22; Who is next? (No one is safe), page 27; Eyewitness (Recalling the death of an AIDS husband), page 53; and Farewell (Separation from a dead lover), page 52. Among the French poems one can cite Le Village du SIDA (Peuple abruti), page 49; Tante Isabelle (Une femme affectée), page 49; Nécrologie 2 (Victime du SIDA), page 48; Ensemble (Fidélité envers une victime), page 46; J’attends (Le SIDA tueur des rêves), page 45; Paradoxe (Epouse d’un sidéen décédé), page 44, and La Fondation Chantal Biya (L’œuvre gigantesque d’une dame de cœur), page 40.
As a pedagogic tool, Say No to AIDS can have limitless uses. Not only can students work on poems in their first Foreign Language but also, they can study the second Foreign Language through the poetry of that language. In this way, cross-boarder interaction or what is more commonly known in research as multidisciplinary pedagogy is enhanced. The icing on the cake comes from the fact that since no poem in the collection is a translation of the other, each poem having been written in the language in which it is published, whatever poem the reader chooses to look at is “new”.
Concerning the applicability of the work, the author says: “Say No to AIDS is a practical work of art, written for everyone and anyone, and conceived such that it can be used by readers at all levels. Teachers can use some of the poems as stimuli for classroom exercises or in HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns. It is possible to extract part or all of a poem and use it as a slogan that can be recited by pupils or students, made into a label and stuck on home windows and doors, vehicles or even bags. Musicians can select some poems and compose songs that can be listened to or danced, just as dramatists can adapt some for school or community theatre”.
The ultimate aim of the book is to carry the message therein to as many victims and potential victims of HIV AIDS as possible. We hope that this approach of HIV AIDS awareness creation through mass communication, which is an aspect of health communication, will go a long way towards attaining that objective.
I lit it twice
I gave it life
And made it walk
Then I added the dreaded locks
For good measure.
I couldn`t care less about the price
Lest shredded wheat be rife
All I needed was cam wood and chalk
And a chip off the old blocks
That`s why I call it the looted treasure.
I`m not Akoh the stick man
At least not your foreman
I may be the last wine tapper to sing
But if you press the sour grapes
They will spurt vinaigre cakes.
I`ve never turned back ham
Even when they came from Brahman
What I fear most is the deadly sting
Because it turns men into unwilling apes
With their next destination being the dark lakes.
Where is their rag tag army?
Is it holding on fast
Or has it run out of steam?
Did they leave behind arms as they fled?
That always happens with men that are barmy
Because they fear facing ovens that are vast
Whether for real or for fun
The last thing they want to remember is that they bled.
Did you say, `vow`?
Or did I hear, `wow`?
And you think it`s all gossip
Even though there`s no tulip?
I may not be your rainbow warrior
But I`m one of those who came from Rio
We`re the ones who turned back the river
Simply because the boss denied us the river.
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
I know them
I know them all
I know each of them by name
I have counted their match boxes
And they all tally perfectly
Their names are written in scarlet and gold
And their index fingers are guilt-edged.
They wear socks without shoes
And rake their home paths the wrong way
They have all mortgaged their wanton lives
All because they hoped for crumbs
From the minister`s dinner table
They don`t know they`re like the naked emperor
Nor that they live in transparent glass houses.
mardi 6 juillet 2010
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
On July 21 of this year, 2010, it will be exactly six months since Ndeh Ntumazah, incontestably one of the greatest makers of modern Cameroon died. He gave up the ghosts in London, at the ripe old age of 83. He went blind for some years before he died. Incidentally therefore, he died out of Cameroon, which is where he spent the greater part of his life as a leading member of the opposition party, Union of the Populations of Cameroon (UPC).
Writing on the UP STATION MOUNTAIN CLUB blog, Prof Tazoacha Asonganyi, a modern day political pundit and former Secretary General of the main opposition SDF party of Cameroon said: " Pa Ntumazah was a political activist for nearly 60 years. He joined the UPC around 1950 and remained a militant of the party until his demise. When the UPC was banned in French Cameroon in 1955, he was advised by his comrades to create another party in the Southern Cameroons, which would be the UPC in disguise. The party was called "One Kamerun Movement - OK", with Ndeh Ntumazah as its President. Following its banning, the UPC started a war of liberation in French Cameroon, so Ntumazah from the safety of Southern Cameroons, liaised with his comrades in French Cameroon to carry out their underground operations."
Following the determination of France and the Ahidjo regime to crush the liberation war (a `war of terrorism` according to the other camp), Ntumazah went on self-exile in 1962. His life and experiences abroad as he stayed committed to the cause of the UPC can fill volumes of books. In the process, Ntumazah moved from country to country, bought and smuggled arms into Cameroon where other leaders of the UPC such as Ernest Ouandie and Um Nyobe had stayed on to continue the struggle. He changed his names to Mbarack Ben Ibrahim. Back in Cameroon, Ntumazah was some kind of maverick. He was believed to be a magical man who could appear and disappear at any time and go unnoticed by the forces of law and order who were out for him, dead of alive. Ntumazah was a highly intelligent man who spoke both English and French with ease. He was knowledgeable in many disciplines and areas. In fact, Ndeh Ntumazah was known to be highly intelligent. He met and rubbed shoulders with many world great leaders and I would like to think that he learned a lot from them.
That was how he struck me when I came face to face with him in London in the late 1980s. The occasion was a joint press conference he and Mongo Beti gave on the then political situation in Cameroon. I was at the event as a reporter for the London-based WEST AFRICA magazine. When I raised my hand to ask a question that I specified was directed to Mongo Beti but also stressed that I would ask it in English, Ntumazah stepped in and asked me to ask it in French because as he put it, I spoke French very well. I was staggered because I had not known he knew me. On the same occasion, I asked him whether it was true that he used to appear in Cameroon and disappear at will. His terse but jocular response was: "Why should I tell you my secrets?" We all laughed about it.
That was Ntumazah as I new him. However, at the time of his death, he had lost practically all the leading comrades with whom he championed the liberation of Cameroon within the UPC party. Some had been tracked down and shot dead, others had been arrested, tried and executed, and some (at least one) had been poisoned. Worse still for him the UPC in the end lost the struggle to the French/Ahidjo regime that they had combated all along. And what’s more, some members of the UPC had crossed the carpet and joined Ahidjo CNU party. As Ntumazah left this world, Paul Biya whom he criticized as just another extension of Ahidjo was not just still ruling Cameroon but actually gave him Ntumazah a state funeral. Did Ntumazah realize this in the world beyond? If he did, how did he take it?The commendable statesman must have departed thinking of the many other liberation struggles in Africa, which in the end succeeded by leading to the independence of their countries, in this: how could a man as intelligent as Ndeh Ntumazah have chosen the wrong team? How could he have barked up the wrong tree so badly? Could he in his unfathomable wisdom not have known from the very beginning where it would all end up? By being given a state funeral by Paul Biya, it would seem that the president had in the end made Ndeh Ntumazah clad this virulent critique of the UPC in CPDM robes. That begs the question as to whether if it had been intimated to Ntumazah that on his death Biya would give him a state funeral, he would not have turned it down. But perhaps as the saying goes, politics is a dirty game.
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
Where on earth are the yellow filaments?
I mean the dyed ones of old
I don’t mean the Yellow Submarine
No, that’s a thing of the past
Today there’s no more pop sound gas
And no more pent up mayhem men
Pining for the beauty queens they jilted.
If you’ve lost them, remember the commandments
Don’t forget the few who returned to the fold
The only regret is that they did so with no tambourines.
The filaments are the only memory from the past
So, like it or lump it, expect leaded gas.
If you weren’t a cuckolded hen
Why would you think my yellow filaments should be smelted
As if they ere some more Garoua Boulai iron ore?
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
I wound the clock
But I didn’t spite you
I’m too big for that kind of stuff
I don’t mind stuffed up watches
But when it comes to clocks,
Forget it! Clocks are just odd clowns
If I had to do it again
I’d do it in exactly the same way.
Don’t clocks get on your nerves?
They kill me, simply; they stand me on my head
Not slowly, but quickly like Meja Mwangi
Clocks? No, not again! They sound hollow and out of tune
When I’m about, keep them away
Far, far away. Out of harm’s way
Unleash your German shepherd if you like
But don’t show me the clock
Please! I beg you!
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
I’m certainly no one’s loose canon
So, don’t even think about it
The fact that I blow hot and cold
Doesn’t mean I’m a bottomless pit.
That’s why when I crossed the Rubicon
I turn round sharply and blow it
For, how could a few jokers claim we are sold?
Just because we dared to serve the writ?
I’ll get it
And soon too
No summits are too high for me
And no depths too profound for me
That’s why I’ll get it
I can get what I want
When I want
So don’t waste your precious barricades
Above all, if you ask me
Save your breath for your porridge.
I may not be in the cockpit
But neither am I in the loo
I can hum like the king bee
And rattle like the venomous snake of Bakingili
But make no mistake; I’ll get it
Once off on a limb, I never recant
Like the Lioness, I can very well rant
So if you prefer the ace of spades
Remember that pride goes before a fall
Which is why Eve left the hoe on the ridge.
So you’re a Buffalo girl
But not a Buffalo soldier?
Are you sure of that?
Or are you just kidding?
Are buffaloes so easy to come by?
Or are you one of a special breed?
I love beach flowers that twirl
So I can feel they’re so near and so dear
Give me a pat, not a swat
Because never have you caught me fiddling
Perhaps when my finest horse finally comes nigh
Then will I at last accept I was one of a noble breed?
Rose periwinkles, daffodils and the sunflower
The peacock, the starling and the woodpecker
They are for me Limbe`s catalyst
And Obama`s daily wake up call.
So if ever I were to be lifted lower
And all the while the dead chimes got louder
I’d suddenly rise as the world’s greatest Marxist
And at midnight, I’d be there to see the Great Fall.
jeudi 1 juillet 2010
I have a weird feeling
I have this odd sensation that
Any time from now
All the birds will stop chirping
All snakes will stop hissing
All asses will stop braying
All credit card holders will tear them up
All cars on hire purchase will be returned
And all Cameroonians in the US will stop taxes to DC.
They’ll be asked to choose
Whether to go and not return
Or whether to stay and not go.
Two wrongs don`t make a right
So the saying goes
Jut like two corners don`t make a goal
And Nigeria`s President Goodluck Jonathan knows that too well.
If you think the difference between Yaounde and Washington
Is like day and night
Then climb up the Statue of Liberty
And like the owner of the colt in the bible
Tell the world the master needs it.