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« Once Upon a Time… Osende Afana (II) | Main | The Writer as a Citizen, a Rejoinder »

April 07, 2007

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Nga Adolph

The likes of intellectuals like Wole Soyinka are the sort of intellectuals Cameroon needs.Bold and darehardy.Unfortunately,our intellectuals have become conmen and to say the least "feymen".Rubbing shoulders with the worst of corrupt politicians to gain favours.Denigrating and soiling their academic robes for bread and butter.We need revolutionary intellectuals who are neutral and play their role of "Watchers of democracy".

Nga Adolph.
Leuven(Belgium).


Ma Mary

http://www.kwenu.com/publications/odengalasi/soyinka_blood.htm

One of Soyinka's problematic accomplishments was the creation of the Pyrates Confraternity at the University of Ibadan in 1952, when he was a student there. There is a lot of material out there on the ether about this club, which spawned a slew of imitators: The Buccaneers, Eiye Confraternity, etc. They have been accused of violence, antisocial and antifemale attitudes, nihilism, hard drinking and of spreading like a virus around the world. Possibly, it was Soyinka the Pyrate chief who took over the radio station with a pistol.

paolo  laurent

nga adolph, i dont know who you are trying to decive, or what country you mean by cameroon, but like SOYINKA, BB,EINSTEIN,
DUBOIS, P.JULIAN. INTELLECTUALS, all over the world never forget their citizenry, or
what country they come from, wether that country in free or under brutal occupation
as the case of southern cameroons and bate
besong. they all as myself a unique philosophy, which is, OUR PEOPLE LIFES ARE
FAR IMPORTANT TU US THAT OURS, and it our foremost duty to leave their life far better than hoe we meet them here on earth in our country, (SOUTHERN CAMEROONS AND NIGERIA RESPECTIVELLY).
CAMEROON, IS NOT A UNIFIED COUNTRY BUT
A FORCED -FALSE JIGSAW OF LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN AND SOUTHREN CAMEROONS.EMMANCIPATED.

paolo  laurent

nga adolph, i dont know who you are trying to decive, or what country you mean by cameroon, but like SOYINKA, BB,EINSTEIN,
DUBOIS, P.JULIAN. INTELLECTUALS, all over the world never forget their citizenry, or
what country they come from, wether that country in free or under brutal occupation
as the case of southern cameroons and bate
besong. they all as myself a unique philosophy, which is, OUR PEOPLE LIFES ARE
FAR IMPORTANT TU US THAT OURS, and it our foremost duty to leave their life far better than hoe we meet them here on earth in our country, (SOUTHERN CAMEROONS AND NIGERIA RESPECTIVELLY).
CAMEROON, IS NOT A UNIFIED COUNTRY BUT
A FORCED -FALSE JIGSAW OF LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN AND SOUTHREN CAMEROONS.EMMANCIPATED.

Nga Adolph

Mr Laurent,
I was looking at the intellectual prowess of Wole Soyinka and how he has consistently and fearlessly stood against military dictators in Nigeria.Those are the qualities I wanted to portray.I was not into the Southern Cameroon's argument.I am a die hard believer in the Southern Cameroon's rising to statehood.Ofcourse,with the notable exception of people like Late Bate Besong,Southern Cameroon's is in dire need of intellectuals of the mettle of Wole Soyinka.I agree with you that we must put in all what it will take to achieve that goal.Aluta Continua.

Nga Adolph.
Leuven(Belgium).

paolo  laurent

nga. precah what you believe, always differentiate, southern cameroons and CAMEROUN, NEXT when commenting please.

Rogers Tabe Egbe Orock

Dear Dibussi,
I cannot start off without encouraging you in this enlightening blogging efforts you make.

Now, I just have a few observations and additional reflections to make on the public role of the intellectual as seen by Soyinka, with special reference to Cameroon.

First, it is good that most Nigerian intellectuals understand that the intellectual is only valid in his connection to the people and place of his time. Indeed Claude Ake (1994)in his reflections on the erosion of academi freedom in Africa incisively pointed out that oft we take too much of a state-centrist appraoch, wherein we criticise the state for all the troubles within the university institution,ignoring the self-selling which African intellectuals wantonly subject themselves to. For Ake (ibid.) African intellectuals are guilty in considerable part, as a result of their overzealous concern with opportunism,careerism,parochialism,factionalism, and most crucially ideological intolerance. The result is a weakened capacity for intellectuals to collectively defend themselves against unavoidable state attempts to co-opt and assault them. And Abiola Irele (2003) an Africanists literary scholar had hoped that African universities could succeed to severe themselves from state clutches by becoming ivory towers and having less concern with activities concerning their states. In a chiding response John Murungi (2004) has warned that no one, least of all African intellectuals, should delude themselves that there could be a university that is not "fettered" from the state, since a university like all institutions is a product of the 'politics' of its time. For him (as for me),it is only by their courageous engagement,criticism and action as Soyinka does, that teachers and other scholars within African university systems can adequately engage the social process and social conscience of their society, making the university relevant to the wider society. The university,(like the media and recently the church) is the bulwark of the balance between state and society and anything short of this amounts to betrayal of their social responsibility. And the Cameroonian social and political philosopher Bernard Fonlon (1979:13) noted this social responsibility to be primarily that of exploring and disseminating 'all truths'.

Now turning the situation in our Cameoon academia,could one contemplate that there is any attempt to heed Fonlon's prescription? If not, what sort of academia has Cameroon universities been breeding, the type Ake castigates? Drawing on my observation from my former university (the University of Buea), where I was a student between 2002 and 2005 I will only highlight the trends that point to answers to these questions. The relevance of this reflection can only be fully grasped if we remember that Cameroon, like most sub-Saharan African countries, is presently rocked by what Richard Joseph(2003)has termed "catastrophic governance", wherein the society is preyed upon by those within the state bureaucratic agency.
Dibussi, I need not enumerate many cases which will point glaringly that contrary to the ideas circulated around on political liberalisation by the state and its sycophant, the present regime has no less resorted to the very "preventive strategies" that the old order employed(see Mbuago and Akoko, 2004).
In my days at the University of Buea, the very first psychological reflection that one has on entering the campus for the first time is of fear. Yes sheer fear. The geneal atmosphere was one to tell you without anyone telling you, that there were things you could talk about and things you could not, that there were people you could talk about and others you dare not mention. In short, the very prescription of Fonlon for a university was here sold at no price. To make things worse, the university was openly divided into two camps (I mean ideologically), between the many barons of the regime under the cloak of intellectuals and those two people considered as pariah: the most incisive and torrentious Bate Besong in the Faculty of Arts and the calm and pragmatic Johnny Fonyam of the Department of Law. These two in their own different ways were the only two who defied these gluttons in the administration and dared the regime in Etoudi.However, these two had different truths in focus, the former as a social and literary critique was crying for a marriage turned sour between the ever domineering French speaking majority and and the suppressed English speaking people of the erstwhile Southern Cameroon and other broad neo-patrimonial ills; the latter was bemoaning a social and political asphyxiatiation of teachers within Cameroonian uniiversities and the University of Buea in praticular, in his capacity as President of the National University Teachers Trade Union for the Buea chapter.
During period of intense political activities such as elections, all these university administrators abandoned offices for their village and regional bases (in reflection to Murungi's argument). But they enganged the political and social process merely in approval of all actions from the regime and went to any length to call any dissident to order, never making objective assessment of regime actions vis-a-vis the society.
Ask me about all the other lecturers in between these two camps? To answer you, here is a picture painted by a newspaper article about the university of Buea:
" The university of Buea simmers with disenchantment, albeit suppressed, for fear of reprisals.Lecturers, for example, are so gripped with fear that when The Post embarked on this investigative reports all those talked-to pleaded - sometimes lietrally begged for anonimity.
Against such a background of crippling fear, intellectual debate is stifled. In other
universities debate and dissent epitomise academia. At the University of Buea the impression is that the staff is emasculated.
Nobody dares openly raise a contrary view to that held by the establishment, because they are scared stiff of being expelled" (Wache, Atatah and Njofon, The Post, No. 0143, Monday October 25, 1999).

So Dibussi, in this context i propose that if the intellectual is first a citizen before anything, the majority of Camerooian teachers (I cannot find the force in me to use 'intellectual') are first subjects who have to negotiate their citizenship everyday in their various campuses (see Mamdani, 1996), as the latest example of the previous Vice-chancellor Cornelius Lambi showed when he had to deny the truth of an imposed list to blame the 'mistake on himself' but was nevertheless thanked with a sack. Citizenship(as Soyinka possesses) is not a given in Cameroon, it rests in the hands of some individuals rather than the sovereign will embodied by the constitution, and it could either be forcefully taken as Bate and Fonyam do, be begged for and be given partially as most lecturers do on a daily basis in Cameroon or totally absent as the case is for many. I think that Nyamnjoh's (2007) recent insight on 'flexible citizenship' could be the best perspective to grasp these intricacies. Yet, most crucially we must understand that in the main our universities do not have citizens but subjects, consequently they cannot practice intellectualism 'by action' as Soyinka does.

Rogers Tabe Egbe Orock
Department of Sociology and Anthropology,
University of Helsinki

Agborballa Nkongho

Dibussi,
Kindly please send me your telephone number.
I am currently in Sierra Leone and will like to get in contact with you.

Rgds
Agbor Balla
Legal Advisor
Special Court for Sierra Leone
TeL: +232-33-80-30-85

Daniel Pennant

I agree with you that "Wole Soyinka - The Writer as a Citizen", but i like his books and most people on EbonyFriends.com mentioned that they like Wole Soyinka's books.

George Oti

Soyinka is playing out his destiny informed by his nature and nuture.However,he is lucky to be alive today as we can see from his boigraphy.The Cameroon intellectuals understand they may not have thesame kind of god as sonyinka.Even if they do,they would not afford the libation.Perhaps the comportment of the cameroon intellectuals reference classical example of selfishness and high sense of acquisitiveness.They do not care to write their names in the concrete walls of time but on their finite individual proceations;its also here that Soyinka differs.

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