"The collective memory of a nation is represented in part by the memorials it chooses to erect. Public memory is enshrined in memorials from the newly opened Holocaust memorial in Berlin to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. Whatever a nation chooses to memorialize in physical monument, or perhaps more significantly, what not to memorialize, is an indicator of the collective memory." (Anonymous)
After nearly half a century of institutional attempts to erase Ruben Um Nyobe from Cameroon's collective memory, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) began the slow process of redefining the nationalist leader's legacy by constructing a monument in his honor in the town of Eseka where he is buried.
The project went ahead - inspite of the lukewarm attitude, if not hostility of the Biya regime -because the Eseka municipal council is now controlled by the UPC, the party which Um Nyobe founded in April 1948.
The project was initiated by the town's UPC mayor, Reverend Samuel Biko II, and constructed with funds from Frederic Kodock's faction of the UPC. In fact, an inscription at the base of the statue states that Kodock is the "promoter and finacier" of the project...
Inaugurated on June 22, 2007 in the absence of government reprentatives who boycotted the event, the monument shows Um Nyobe returning from his December 1952 trip to the United Nations headquarters in New York where he forcefully made the case for the independence and reunification of Cameroon.