Remebrance duty : Figures of national history

The past of Cameroon is punctuated with facts which influence its everyday life. From German period to the independence, Cameroonians took a stand in favour of the country.

The reconstruction of national past is a quest. It is counted among the main areas of concern of any Nation. It is about remembering the memory of those who preceded us, and who constitute the archetypal source of the renewal of our patriotic spirit. The national heroes and the figures of history are numerous in Cameroon. A certain confusion surrounds however these two expressions and statuses, to the extent of often a dissonance among the historians. The distance is very real between both statuses. The heroes of the Nation could not be merged with figures of history. All these characters however marked their passage of a long-lasting ray of light. A reframing was thus imperative by the men of law.

The law of December, 1991 carrying the rehabilitation of certain figures of history of Cameroon, ends the dilemma and the confusion. Figures of history are personalities today disappeared, but who worked not only in the birth of the national feeling, but also contributed to the construction of the country. The perception of the national hero is well beyond the definition of the expression figure of history. Although being a figure of history, the national hero is even more characterized by their fighting spirit. It is made obvious by their thought process and an unfailing courage. De facto, the national hero always longs to reach end of its fight. They never give up. According to Professor Nsame Mbongo, the national hero knows how to recognize the noble causes. They defend them with doggedness. They are moved by an energy which stimulates their moral values, and gives them an high ethical sense in any circumstances. Intellectually wise, this state of mind leads to a progressive view of society, and a universalist vision of the humanity. From the point of view of the ethics, they cultivate the highest virtues of political action. They are: the sense of bravery and the sacrifice, the tenacity in work, the love of the homeland and the sense of national honor.

Led by a will of iron, adorned with their political genius and with their heroic courage, these men knew how to face adversity. They agreed to the supreme sacrifice in order to allow their country to follow its course towards the liberation. Thanks to their conjugated actions, Cameroon took one another direction. Several men therefore acquired the status of unforgettable characters. Among these men of exception, we find traditional leaders. They are: Rudolph Douala Manga Bell (Upper Leader of the Bell Canton), Madola (Batanga Leader), Kuva Likenye (Bakwéri Leader), Mvilongo à Nomo (Éton Leader), Omgba Bissogo (Mvog Ottou patriarch), Sultan Njoya (Bamoun), the Mahdi Goni Waday, the Lamido of Agorma, Djaouro of Bamé, Djaouro of Oubao, Yérima of Lagdo, Lamido of Béngui, Ardo of Déngui, the leader Karnou (Gbaya Country) … We could not forget religious authorities amongst of which Lord Albert Ndogmo officiated. Other Cameroonians were also made famous by their attitude towards the colonizer. They are even more numerous. We can cite names such: Abel Kingue, Augustin Ngom Jua, Ernest Ouandié, Marcel Bebey Eyidi, Martin Paul Samba, Martin Singap, Noé Tankeu or Osende Afana … Numerous Cameroonians can enjoy the status of striking figures or national heroes. To establish an exhaustive list would be a rather difficult task. However, three characters are major in regards to the rehabilitation and the restoration of national past. They are in fact the precursors of both highlights of the fight against the colonizer. They are: Rudolph Duala Manga Bell, Martin Paul Samba and Ruben Um Nyobe.


First martyr 

This Duala prince of the Bell Canton was born in 1873 in Cameroon Town (today known as Douala). He became the Upper Leader of  Bells on September 2nd, 1908, following the death of his father Manga Ndumbe Bell. Rudolf Duala Manga Bell is one of the symbolic figures of the Cameroonian resistance against colonization disguised as protectorate. He offered a wild resistance to the Germans in their projects of expropriation of native peoples to build of a city exclusively for the Germans. He fought with derisory weapons (petitions, sending of envoys in Germany, in France, in England,) against the implementation of this project. The fight was beforehand lost, as the German power could not deny its representatives installed in Kamerun. Rudolf Duala Manga Bell nevertheless pursued his fight. Noticing that the occupants were stepping over the agreements of 1884 by hunting the natives, Rudolf Duala Manga Bell became allied to other Cameroonian leaders. He hoped with their help, to make the projects of the imperial authority fail. It led to a long arm-wrestling which ended on August 8th, 1914, with the hanging of the Upper Leader of the Bell canton.


Martin Paul SAMBA 

The captain  

Of his real name Mebenga M’Ebono, Martin-Paul Samba was born around 1875 in the South of Cameroon. After a military cursus in Germany, he obtained the rank of captain. He was sent by the colonial administration to Cameroon in 1895. He could fathom the abuses of the colonizers, and resigned from his job in 1902. That is how he engaged in a reluctant fight against the Germans. To do so, Martin-Paul Samba gathered the local leaders around the ideal of the liberation of the country. He organized the rebellion in the South of Cameroon, at the same time as Duala Manga Bell in Duala. Accused of high treason, he was also executed on August 8th, 1914 in Ebolowa.



Apostle of the Independence

This Eséka native is one of the main characters of the fight for the independence of Cameroon. Thanks to his action, Cameroon entered a new era. The topic wasn’t the fight against the abuses of the colonizers anymore, but the right of the Cameroonian people to own itself. Um Nyobé will have fiercely fought against the pure and simple integration of Cameroon in the large set created by France in 1946. He had strongly denounced the cheating that law Defferre was for the Africans established. He is at the origin of the beginning of the national war of liberation, during Tuesday, 18 till Wednesday, December 19th, 1956 night. He faced with several of his companions (Felix Roland Moumié, Abel Kingue, Ernest Ouandié, Felix, Ossende Afana …) several obstacles, among which attacks, death threats and other assassination attempts. Nevertheless this nationalist pursued his role of waking consciousnesses, until his murder on September 13th, 1958 in Boumnyebel forest.

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