mercredi 29 juin 2011


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

It wasn`t worms
At least not another battalion
Weren`t we infested and festooned enough?
Did we still have to be inundated, drenched, drowned and swept away
Like the fish in Pa Muka`s flooded fishponds?
Then what would Dr Oben say in his next peer-reviewed journal
After all he was our specialist in fish farming and aquatic science
This wizard knew all the secrets of the little beast.

Anyway, the house, all of it
Didn`t leak, it just stank
And that was better, if you know what I mean
No amount of perfume from Pretoria
Or dollars from America
Or incense from the Orient
None of those could change anything. None
So we were all hemmed in, trapped, cornered, caught
I felt rotten as my body touched hers in the darkness
But there was no way I could get onto Facebook
And tell Bridget about it
All about it.

Copyright 2011

lundi 27 juin 2011


Par Tikum Mbah Azonga

Nous sommes en juin
Et entre copains et copines
Nous ne vivons pas dans la plénitude
Mais nous côtoyons la fameuse voie lactée.

Pour ceux qui méconmnaissent le Roi Baudouin
Ceux-là ignore grossièrement leurs orignes
Le jour où ils mourront purement et simplement de lassitude
Toute surface trouée sera vite bradée
Alors, vivement que la fête soit belle!

Copyright 2011


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

I won’t wait
For, why should I as if I was just a kid from Lower Mississippi
I won’t wait for the grass to grow under my feet
Neither will I look back at the Delaware rack
For fear of turning into a pillar of salt
Like Lot’s wife.

Isn’t life already enough of a bait?
Unless you competed for ten hamburgers without a tie?
It would be crazy to go from Texas to Los Angeles by fleet
Because it’s only a short walk with a single track
Hide away your Green Card, unless you’re carrying Virginia’s basalt
Only then will you know whether you wield an axe or a knife.

Copyright 2011


For Vicky, for the good times

By Tikum Mbah Azonga

Dignity can not be bought
Neither can it be sold
Try it and you`ll see, I bet you
You do so at your own risk and peril
It may not be quite Humpty Dumpty
But it will all hell let loose
No Kaiser will come dressed in a kimono
And no palm wine will flow
Not even a drop.

Are you, just because of that, so distraught?
Then spare a thought for the Lord Mayor’s days of old
When he turned the municipality into one big zoo
I won’t forgive you for calling me, `Beryl`
Because I’m not just Vicky, but Victory
The big `V` sign, that’s the vocation I choose
I’m a born fighter, even only with my bow
And never, even for a kingdom, would I stoop low
For the last thing I want to do is hop.

Copyright 2011

jeudi 23 juin 2011


(A la seule et unique Eyenga)

By Tikum Mbah Azonga

Je ne sais pas, Monsieur
Franchement, je ne sais pas
Et je ne mens pas
Etant donné que je ne sais pas lire dans les pensées des gens
Il n'y a que vous qui puissiez me le dire
Le soleil,
Oui, je veux bien. Mais je préfère celui de la Solex
Ma beauté, me dites-vous. Oui, mais je préfère vous envoyer là-haut
Regardez la lune. Comme elle est belle!
Moi je suis quoi par rapport à elle?
Rien. Le néant.

Digne fille de la Lékié qui brille de toutes les couleurs
Je ne mâche pas les mots, peu importe le fracas
Voilà pourquoi personne ne peut me secouer à Obala
Ni maintenant, ni même dans cent ans
Alors, pour éviter le pire
Je conseille à tous mes prétendants de ne pas franchir le Niveau Seuil
Sauf s'ils sont en mesure de contenir le vortex
Sinon ils seront tous accusés de faux et d'usage de faux
Comme toi tu dis que je suis ton Journal Elle
On verra si je vivrai comme telle
Autrement c'est toi qui en sortira béant.

Copyright 2011


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

I’m inspired each time I see you
It’s not your eyes or even your smile
Neither is it your looks
No, it’s something else
It’s your aura, your body chemistry
You make me feel good
You make me feel high.

With you around me why would I ever want the loo?
Unless we were both sailing down the Nile
And me holding tightly to all my books
Regardless of wherever are all the Earls
Should anyone mention the registry
Then Ill remind them of my hood
And the fact that Cynthia is high.

Copyright 2011

mardi 21 juin 2011


Par Tikum Mbah Azonga

Il est trois heures et je m’ennuie
Je m’ennuie à mourir
Alors, pas de poissons fumés, pas de saucissons
Ni de truffes, ni de salade
Allons tous à la prochaine fête
Les mains vides
Bras ballants

Que ce soit pour un jour ou pour une nuit
Qu’importe ? On finira tous par courir
Avec ou sans hameçons
Mais si Monsieur le Curé ose partir seul en ballade
Rappelons-lui tout de suite sa dette
Peu importe la mine qu’il affichera ou ses vieilles rides
Seuls compteront nos vieux anciens combattants.

Copyright 2011


Par Tikum Mbah Azonga

Je te crois, crois-moi
Alors, ne perds pas la tête pour rien
Il n’est pas encore minuit
Ni à Bonn, ni à Anvers
Et les rideaux sont tirés.

Est-ce donc ton chemin de croix
Ou simplement le jour de la fameuse fête des Haïtiens?
Et on n’est pas encore induit ?
Alors, pourquoi parle-t-on à tort et à travers
Et toi, tu me dis qu’on n’est pas à couteaux tirés ?

Copyright 2011


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

Did grandpa’s cobweb lie
I mean, did it lie through its teeth
Blatantly and unashamedly
While Kamanga was still rising in Lusaka?
And did she notice it at all?
Or was she too overwhelmed by its
Multifaceted tentacles and web-construction prowess?

Did the comb-footed spider therefore pry?
And spill the beans as proof of sleuth
Or did it once again, like the Palace Clock of Lusaka
Box itself into a corner and refuse to walk tall?
Then why didn’t the rest of us fetch the stilts?
Or were we still waiting for the ill-fated princess?

Copyright 2011


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

I didn’t wet the bed
No, I didn’t, I bet you
I just did the pie chart thing
I did it to map out my country
But it came out as Africa
But I did it, remember?
Surely that isn’t bed wetting, is it?

I didn’t pool it with Ted
I don’t believe in tango for two
But I’m wary of the wasp’s sting
That’s why for the right circumference to comply
One must junket from Luanda to Lusaka to Pretoria and Accra
Must you be a member?
Well, those who live will know it.


vendredi 17 juin 2011


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

Will the end lines cross at last
Or will they like the forsaken lap dog
Bark at the wrong target and pop up uninvited for dinner
Letting loose the molten crow bar and cursed smoke-coated lips
Like another loose canon?

Will the Fon`s whistle blower finally blast
Or will the folded window blinds refuse to twitch
Making Mary’s Christmas puddings look like
Half baked cake for the outgoing Moderator?
Surely, that’s why our dining lines will never intersect.

Copyright 2011

jeudi 16 juin 2011


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

There have recently been repeated calls on FACEBOOK for Paul Biya to go. Someone even wondered whether his armed forces could treat him the way Ivorian Laurent Gbagbo`s armed Forces treated him. Below is my reaction, strengthened by my experience in the many African countries I have been to.

My answer to that question is: No, Biya is unlikely to be treated by the Cameroonian military the way the Ivorian military treated Gbagbo. The Ivorian president was not in control of his military; Biya is in control of his; Gbagbo did not have a good synergy with his military, whereas Biya enjoys one with his. Besides, the armed forces of Cameroon are well treated and respected, compared with those in a good number of African countries. And in any case, Cote d`Ivoire`s first president never really gave his armed forces the importance Ahmadou Ahidjo gave his own here in Cameroon. Perhaps it was because Ahidjo`s action was guided by the guerilla war of the time. But Houphouet was definitely not interested in building up a strong army. Comparatively, in the Cameroonian armed Forces, hierarchy is respected and cohabitation of the disparate and heterogeneous elements has been more or less harmonized. Biya has a mastery of his country in terms of knowing what is going on at all times in his country. Gbagbo was very much a stranger in his won country and even considered Ouattara who had once served in government as a foreigner. Again, comparatively, Cameroon has enough to eat within the country. The problem may be with getting it into every needy mouth. But within the country, there are supplies. Cameroonians have also always had their beer whenever they needed it, even in the thick of the economic crisis. Such conditions are not common in many African countries.

The talk that “Biya must go” does not stem from any solid foundation. It is only an expression of emotions and wishful thinking. It`s mere rhetoric. It`s talk.. Proponents of that thesis must ask themselves the tough questions and find answers for them: How will he go? When will he go? Who will make him go? Why should he go? Only because he has been there for too long? What does the constitution say? 0r does the constitution not matter? The best mind set to have here is that of the football coach whose team is losing. He needs to maintain a level and objective head and plan a strategy for reversal. It is not shouting slogans, chest thumping and saber rattling that scores goals. Another point to be made is that it is not even because someone expresses angrily his wishes for Biya to go that it will not happen. Anger will not solve the problem. Again, the analogy of the embattled and embittered and beleaguered coach would fit in here. What has happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc, is not necessarily a pointer to what may happen in Cameroon. That is my view.

Copyright 2011

jeudi 9 juin 2011






By all accounts, turning back the clock can be a daunting experience. This is so for several reasons, one of which is the reluctance to voluntarily take a walk along memory lane and be confronted with some ugly and unwanted happening from the past. Another reason is obviously the pointlessness of the retrospection on the grounds that not much is remembered or ought to be remembered from such a “distant” past and that besides; one ought to let bygones be bygones.

Nonetheless, as far as yours faithfully is concerned, there is one incident in my past life that has stubbornly refused to go away. It keeps invading my privacy and disrupting my free moments to. That incident is indelibly engraved in my mind like the giant door knob of some Gothic church door tucked away in the now hidden bowels of Europe. That episode happened to me when I was in Class Three Primary at St. Michael’s Catholic School, Musongmabu, Bambili, today Government Primary School, Musongmabu.


My teacher in that year was Mr. Michael Chibikom, whom I remember was he only teacher of mine to have visited each and everyone of his pupils at home. The day he came to our compound in Baforkum, I spotted him from afar, ran to him and collected his bag as he entered the compound. After he had sat down with my parents, my mother offered him roasted cassava with ripe pears which he ate with gusto. Mr. Chibikom was also the only teacher whom I remember shared the money our school won during the march past that was part of celebrations marking the annual feast of St. Peter and Paul’s feast day. This took place down at the Bambui Parish compound and brought together all the Catholic schools in Bambui, Bambili, Kejom Keku (Big Babanki) and kejom Ketingoh (Babanki Tungoh). It was always great fun for me to travel down to St. Peter’s and Paul’s Primary School and join in the feast. I had the singular honor among all of us who went down from my school in the sense that the wives of my uncle, Pa Geh A.A. who brought food to sell to participating pupils, would feed me and my friends heavily and free of charge.

Back at school when the feast was over, Mr. Chibikom would use the money given our school to buy and cook food which we ate in the classroom with him, he helping himself at his table, after having asked one of us to clear the table of his books. While eating he would converse with us in a most accommodating manner. At some point he would start giving out the pieces of meat that were left in the bowl next to him. It was to the brightest girl, the brightest boy, the best behaved boy and the best behaved girl, the neatest boy and the neatest girl, the most punctual boy and the most punctual girl, etc. I got a piece for being the “quietest boy”, although to this day, I still do not know whet he meant by “quietest boy.”


So the sad incident I alluded to took place one day in Mr. Chibikom`s class. My seat was the fourth on the first row as one entered the classroom. I shared a desk with Lucia Mubatu who by far had the best handwriting in the class. Her handwriting was so good that I did everything to copy it during writing time. Unfortunately for me, while her graphics were purposeful, well conceived and well articulated so that they had an imposing symmetry and architecture, mine, on the other hand were rushed, uncoordinated, poorly thought out and poorly executed. Consequently, the result in my book was a heartrending rendition characterized by amateurism and disgust. Behind me sat Esther Nkwenti who was incidentally the daughter of my mother’s Goddaughter. I had always thought that blessed with such company, I was on safe ground until Esther did something to me that did not just annoy me but left me embittered and with the strong feeling that she had betrayed me. So, it was not just friendly fire or “l`ennemi dans la maison”. No, far from it!


On that fateful day as the lesson was going on, I felt a hand reach out and touch the back of my neck. Turning round, I found it was Esther. Her right hand was held up at me and she screamed at the top of her voice: “My Mami, eh! Lice!” Heads turned and I heard sighs and gasps of sympathy, some for joy, from my peers, especially the girls. I noticed that what Esther was holding up was a live head louse still desperately moving its legs in all directions as it struggled to break free. I froze and regretted how such little unnerving animals could let one down so irretrievably in public. Just imagine the ungrateful idiots of creatures! They are just like mosquitoes. They come to you like humble visitors and once you give them shelter and they are comfortable ensconced sucking away your blood for free, they still stir up the world against you.

Bewildered, I looked at the teacher. He understood my predicament.

“What did you say, Esther?” he asked as he came nearer.

“Lice, Sir. Lice. I caught it on his neck.”

“Then drop it on the floor and crush it with your foot. There is no use holding it up there as you are doing.”

Turning to me, the teacher said, “When you go home, make sure you have a hair cut.”

“Yes, Sir.” I replied with the confusion and shame of a boy who had been caught doing something awfully wrong.

“What was I saying? Oh yes, I remember. It was how to work out the Lowest Common Multiple. Let’s come back to the lesson”


When I think of that incident of so many years ago and the grief it caused me, I draw comfort from a similar one I witnessed in a post office in Britain some years ago. The victim this time was a British man of West Indian origin. The man was wearing dreadlocks. We were inside the post office and had, as usual, queued up waiting for our turns to approach the service counters. Suddenly, a White woman who was behind the man reached out and quickly extracted something from the back of his neck. Then holding it up triumphantly, she cried out as if she had shot an elephant,

“Take this! It’s from your body”

The Rasta man turned round with pride and dignity. The rest of us held our breath, not knowing what would be his next move. But we suspected he would rain insults on her. But no, he proved us wrong. Instead he rebuked the woman roundly and loudly,

“Put it back! I say, put it back where you took it! It’s mine, not yours! That’s how you White people are. When you see a nice thing with a Black man, you take it. You always take and take but never give!”

Overwhelmed, devastated and crushed, the woman placed the louse back on the man’s neck and as if cognizant of what game was going on, the beast crawled slowly but steadily back into the man’s long hair.


Having read this account so far, you may be full of sympathy for us victims. But hold your horses, because the tale is far from over. And I should know about lice because I grew up in a large compound where several of us children slept on the same bed and thereby facilitated the transfer of head lice from one person to the other. This usually happened at night while were asleep and our heads touched each and probably stayed in touch for hours while we snored unaware of the fact that were facilitators of cross pollination. As if enough was not enough, it was not only head lice that harassed us. We also caught body lice specialized in invading and inhabiting our clothes, especially pants, so that while head lice fed on the blood in our head, they fed on the blood on the other parts of our bodies and had as their natural habitat, our clothes.


Body lice were incredibly resistant to treatment and could hang on to one’s clothes for fairly long periods despite the stringent measures that were taken to flush them out. In fact, in extreme cases of resistance, owners of infested clothes had no choice than to throw the clothes away. The best treatment our parents found for body lice consisted of boiling the infected clothes in water stood in a “head pan” on the fire, and stirred with long wooden sticks so that the heat should reach every part of the garment. But even when the lice were dead, it was difficult to extract them from the clothes and discard them.


Treatment for head lice was different in approach. It was also more expensive, more painful to the body and lasted longer than for body lice. Parents made sure they administered the therapy after children had finished all other chores such as house work and homework. Then the mother would get a number of camphor balls and crush them, mix the powder with kerosene and rub it vigorously throughout the head of the “patient”. After that, a loin was tied tightly around the treated head so that no part of it was exposed and so served as an escape route for the lice. The idea was to quarantine the them, get them poisoned with the improvised concoction and allow them to then suffocate and die.

Such was a very uncomfortable position for the infected person because whenever the hair product came into contact with any head sores that might have been caused by scratching since lice bite and leave a lot of itching on the body, this hurt.

The following morning, the loin would be removed and the head washed thoroughly with water and soap. Even so, the danger of re-infection still loomed if the treated child again slept on the same bed with untreated children. The best treatment was really to shave off all the hair in order to deprive lice of their natural habitat.


This story is part of current research I am carrying out on a relatively new branch of journalism called LITERARY JOURNALISM. This is in a nutshell, a combination of journalistic expertise with literary techniques (my definition). Lan J.To (2005) cited in Hester (2005:112)puts it this way: "The literary journalist is the writer who is sufficiently journalistic to sense the swiftly changing aspects of the dynamic era of our times, and sufficiently literary to gather and shape his material with the eye and hand of the artist"

Lan J. To (2005), `Beyond Reporting`, in Handbook for Third World Journalists, The Centre for International Mass Communication Training and Research, Georgia, pp 112.



samedi 4 juin 2011


(For Welle)

By Tikum Mbah Azonga

Is love real
Or is it just a hollow sham?
Is it papered over cracks
Or yet another act of shoddy contrition?
Why does our church pastor think it`s all sweeping under the carpet?
What, for God`s sake, is this love?
This demon I can neither touch nor see
Yet daily it blows in the wind
If it be a flower, then which is it?
Is it the rose, the daffodil,the carnation?
The tulip? The anemone? The gladiolus? The Iris or the rhododendron?
Tell me then; tell me all about it. Will you?

Shall I then never strike this deal
In a world where everything tastes like ham?
Can I blur the writing on its tracks?
Or must I first blow the moderator`s trumpet?
I thought I had hit the treasure trove
And so I quickly wrote to Basel
But look what I have got on the hind
Surely not enough theories or hypotheses to posit
So, when shall I find my long lost love and hold it without frills?
Does it mean I`ll never dance tango for two?

Copyright 2011


(For Jacqueline)

By Tikum Mbah Azonga

Is that what I want to be
Or is it just a mirage of it?
Am I between a rock and a hard place
Or simply at the end of my tether?
Nay, for a Gemini and a Lesan to boot
I surely deserve better than that
So, tomorrow at midday and unprovoked
I will rise with the falcon
And hedging my bets as best I can
I will with one giant leap but without a single spring
Land on God`s dining table
To him in private will I state my case
And make my point
I`m sure he`ll nod and smile
And lift me back to earth
This time with feet of reinforced steel
No longer molten clay.

Copyright 2011