The North West Region is Bamenda, it has been said and proven. Whether from Boyo, Mezam, Menchum, Donga Mantung, Bui, Ngoketunjia or Momo Division, we are all known as the Bamenda people. Bamenda is a place where “heroes come to die” says Wamey Julius. But I will contextualize this statement by adding that Bamenda like America is a place where every minute of the day gives birth to a new hero. Mancho Bibixy, is the latest of the Bamenda heroes who through a Coffin Stand up comedy at the city chemist aroundabout expressed the plight of the Bamenda people.
From the dawn of time, the Bamenda people have distinguished themselves as pictograms of hard work, vigor and dotted with the willpower that historians find difficulties to comprehend when it comes to popular uprising. This strong spirited and collective commitment of the Bamenda people has over the years tolled to have what they have often been seen to be and tagged by others. In other words, the Bamenda man lives the life of a Spartan soldier who would prefer to die than to surrender. When Bob Marley said that truth is something that must be spoken even it means "speaking to die for it", he was surely talking of the likes of Bamenda people. A type of life that can only be compared to toad in a heating tube that keep adapting to the changing temperature until it finally gives off the ghost.
This month some of us lived the melody of city that keep changing to adapting temperatures. Where life and death are matters of seconds. A Baghdad scenario or some sort of a Western movie setting of radical extremes, or a place of violent behavior. But above all the Bamenda man is a pack of dexterousness, persistence, and warmth even when people have suffered, and or ready to. Of this, there can be tiny debate. However, some people have often impolitely taken the humble nature and this strong spirited willpower of the “Bamenda man” for granted and with negativism. “Je ne suis pas ton Bamenda” and or “come no go” have often being the reward from some people who out of ignorance, and more often than not think being humble or full of determination to fight a cause to its logical end is a misdemeanor. This is rather unfortunate given that this nation owes a debt of appreciation to the Bamenda man not only for being hard working, but more importantly for the collective commitment and enormous contribution in nation building. Come to think of Nanga, Bernard Folon, Yang Philemon, Ni John Fru Ndi and million other Bamenda men of character and conscience, there is nothing than to be proud to be a Bamenda man.
Being forward looking and receptive to change has landed the Bamenda man in a position of power and to have an unquestioned advantage over others.( Quelle dites les Bamenda?). This is how the Bamenda man has been able to grasp the most essential in perspective with both hands to serve as a measuring rot for this nation. Unlike others, the Bamenda man would burn the midnight candle to obtain the desire results, takes the risk that could in a few seconds set historical records ablaze yet kept the traditional values intact in today’s world of globalization. Although others had historical and geographical head over them, they overcame their handicap with a lot of determination and dynamism.
For decades, Bamenda has had the good fortune to have produced individuals who on account of their peculiar gifts of values have contributed to the advancement of this country.
Ah! Bamenda! Home of all the heroes of yesteryears Albert Mukong, John Ngu Foncha, Jua, ST Muna, Bernard Folon, Ndeh Ntumazah, Prof Anomah Ngu, Nanga, just to name the few. In February 1983, President Paul Biya declared Bamenda as his second home. This is not a joking matter given that Paul Biya, John Fru Ndi, Francis Nkwain, SN Tamfu, JT Kangkolo, ST Muna, Foncha, Jua, Achidi Achu, Awudu Mbaya, JK Ntoi, Fuh Calistus Gentry, etc make up the Bamenda man. Oh my Bamenda, the second home of President Paul Biya.
Bamenda still remains a focal point of what takes place in the country politically. What, however, defines a Bamenda man, at least within the present political environment, would be that both the ruling party (CPDM) and the main opposition party (SDF) were created in Bamenda. Bamenda is the heart of politics in Cameroon; it is its people that have made Bamenda the city of versions, the Bagdad of Cameroon where in a moment of civil strike makes you live a life through a perpetual fish bowl, the outside world only being reachable only through the boots of a soldier. It is hard to imagine what this kind of life is like unless you have lived it or lived amongst it. There is a lesson to be learned from the people of Bamenda – not just of extraordinary resilience and steadfastness, but also humility and respect. And that is the real story of life in Bamenda, my Bamenda.
The Land of Noble Birth
“Bamenda, the place where heroes go to die.” That is how Julius Wamey, the famous CRTV anchor, in an article titled in the same words, described the headquarters of the Northwest Region some years back. Francis Wache in one of his articles titled: NW Region: The Caesarean Womb Of CMR’s Democracy wrote that “the name ‘Bamenda’, has, over the years, come to represent the whole Region. With a hint of pride in their voices, natives of the Region, living ‘abroad’, would say they are from ‘Bamenda’ when, in reality, they are referring to Din, Akweto, Essimbi…‘Bamenda’, has, therefore, become generic- a reference to the whole Region”.