Rate this
0 (0 votes)
"Adieu to Bamenda’s own Mandela: Pa Yong"
0 out of 5 based on 0 user ratings

"Adieu to Bamenda’s own Mandela: Pa Yong"

Alphonse AkouyuCameroon has its own Mandela-like hero, writes Alphonse Akouyu, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Bamenda, Cameroon. “Pa Yong” was an inspirational force who founded educational, sports and media institutions for his people.

When South African anti-apartheid legend Nelson Mandela died in 2013, some Christians said he came after Jesus Christ, some Muslim faithful said he came after the Prophet Mohammed while Buddhists said he came after the Buddhist god Buddha.  Worshippers of African traditional religion said he could be ranked after their gods.

When one begins to look at the impact Madiba had on the planet, it really makes some sense to rank him after such high-profile religious personalities. In the same light, Bobe Yong Francis can be compared to Mandela when it comes to activities in the North West Region of Cameroon, Bamenda. From humble beginnings to acquiring cult hero status or first class honours for activities in this part of the world, the “Grass land” as some call it has surely lost one of its greatest human resources.

Born in 1945 in his native Anyajua village of Kom in Belo sub-division, ”Pa Yong” as he was fondly called started this long road to legendary status with just one typewriter and a handful of students in the garage of his house. Years later this lone typewriter has given birth to three renowned secondary schools.

By some standards, secondary education can rarely be mentioned without naming Progressive Comprehensive High School Mankon (PCHS) popularly known here as ‘Pro’. Like a wise farmer, Yong sowed in many different locations with the next two; Comprehensive High School Bambui (CHS) and Anyajua Comprehensive College, all outside Bamenda. These three colleges alone can boast of more than 3000 students in enrollment and statisticians can’t really know the number of people who call them Alma Mata. What is really interesting about these colleges, especially Anyajua, is the fee payment system. Parents who can’t afford the fee bring their farm produce, which is weighed in monetary terms and converted to fees. In this way nearly all the inhabitants of this rural area can afford quality education at a cheap price.

The ‘Yong magic’ didn’t end there. Many of the students were frustrated because until 2010 there existed just one English state university, which could not contain all prospective students who wanted to acquire education in English. Here was Pa Yong again embarking on another venture with the creation of the National Polytechnic Bambui (N.P.B). This professional institution, which offers courses in Business Management, Health Science, Agriculture, Engineering and Arts, has gone as far as attracting students from nearby Equitorial Guinea and has over the years become a household name in tertiary education in the country.

A former referee in Cameroon’s lower leagues, Yong never ended his sports there, and went ahead to create a Divisional 1 soccer team called the Yong Sports Academy (YOSA). It won the Cameroon Cup in December of 2013, a dream he never lived to see realized. He also founded the National Polytechnic F.C which plays its trade in Division 2. In the media world, he founded the Abakwa F.M Radio (F.M 99.0) which also has a correspondent TV station (CNTV).

Clearly the man was a true son of the soil. It was a Mandela-like story, in which one did not necessarily need to know the man personally before talking about him. His life report card said it all.

It was Friday January 7th 2014 and Bamenda was mourning as the streets became new class rooms with students both from his institution and those from neighbouring schools lined up to say welcome and goodbye. One could hardly even have a view of the motorcade carrying his remains as every angle was covered with people who had come to mourn the great man. At the metropolitan cathedral, the Bamenda Congress hall, his home beside PCHS Mankon campus, the N.P.B amphitheatre – admirers and sympathizers came in their numbers to mourn the fallen hero. Even on the way to his village, those who had never known the man the BBC once listed amongst Africa’s top 50 entrepreneurs climbed trees to say good bye to his lifeless body as it made its way to Anyajua for burial on Saturday February 8th.

He surely has written his name in the sands of time. He will be studied by historians in time to come, and stories about him will be told to future generations. One can only give him a traditional military salute and say Bobe Yong Francis ‘In Our Hearts Forever’. 

photo credit: US Army Africa via photopin cc

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me:

Hello everyone this is your friend Akouyu Alphonse from Bamenda located in the North West Region of Cameroon. I’m currently in my last year in the Catholic University of Cameroon Bamenda studying Banking and Finance. I will be completing my studies in June of 2014 with the hope of becoming a Business/International Relations expert.

My areas of interest are serving as Journalist especially on Sports (football) and societal issues aimed at inspiring people to believe in themselves and volunteerism.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments