Years ago, as kids we heard the name Bate Besong (BB) and wondered who he was and why he became so popular. He was the most popular Literature lecturer in the University of Buea and had made much impact; his students, friends and associates celebrated him.
Professor Bate Besong was one of Cameroon’s priceless assets, noted for his prolific poems and drama write-ups. He was indeed a prophet with a pen. No doubt years after his death, his works are widely read and still studied. Most of his poems have in these later moments been seen as prophesying messages. Many say Prof. Bate lived years ahead of his generation and I concur to that.
In this special serial on ARREY-B, we intend to talk about this unsung hero, his “prophetic” ability and contribution to Cameroon as a poet and Legend. RIP BB
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Now let’s get started with Prof. Jacob Bate Besong. Read on …
“…Now is the time comrades
to pull off his iron mask
and expose his Excellency
The wooden tiger…”
This was one of Bate Besong’s celebrated poems, a dedication to late Anglophone politicians west of the Mungo who to him were unsung heroes of Cameroon: P.M. Kale, S.A. George, Motomby Woleta and Z.A. Abendong.
Late Dr. Bate Besong was one of the most outstanding poets Cameroon has ever had. Years after his death, his works are widely read across the globe. The Manyu elite had been so true and precise in his prediction of the Anglophone struggle but unfortunately did not live to see it happen. Even after his arrest and torture, he refused to stop his ink from flowing. Prof. Bate’s pen always touched his paper to communicate his feelings and thoughts fearlessly.
His writings were at times too complicated for the common man and many saw him to be controversial. In fact media practitioners had analyzed him to be one of Africa’s most controversial poets.
In most of his poems he called for political, economic and social Liberation of his people. It was so evident Bate Besong was not a fan to the oppressive policies.
In “Their champagne Party Shall End”, Bate denounces those who use their position to drive the nation into bankruptcy while their accounts swell;
“…Observe how these same jokers / Despoil the communal treasures…”.
He calls their indulging into money grabbing shameless and highlights the need for torch-bearers who can take the prisoners out of the cave in which they grope in total darkness. Wasn’t this true of his prediction?
He cried out to what he called “zombies” and “Morons” who feed from the crumps of their oppressor’s table while their own brothers felt neglected. To him there was a need for the rise of a Hero.
Has this Hero emerged or who did prof. Bate predict as the hero?
Stay glue for part two of this serial
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PART TWO TO BE PUBLISHED ON TUESDAY 1st July at 3PM (Cameroon Time)