Showing posts from May, 2010

Talented artists in Cameroon

W hen we were living in Cameroon, we often worked with people from the family circle and the neighborhood, but at other times, we also had the pleasure of collaborating with talented people we met by coincidence.  As architects, we worked on a variety of projects. One of them was the renovation of a university restaurant in West Cameroon, in the Grassland region.   The original building was from the Soviet-era, in a rather "squarish" architectural style. Epee Ellong, a Cameroonian architect, was able to "Africanize" it by adding mosaic panels on the exterior walls.  As for the inside, there were large empty walls, so we suggested that a modern artist come and decorate them with frescoes. We thought of  Koko Komegne , whom we had met a short time before; he assured us that large-scale frescoes would not pose a problem. As it turned out--we didn't know this before Koko won the bid--Koko is from the same area the building was located in, so he was espe

Uncle Dibounjé, family celebrity

Uncle Dibounjé was one of the first non-immediate family members my spouse introduced me to upon my first visit to Douala. Uncle Dibounjé was otherwise known as Chief Dibounjé Cain Toukourou, the traditional chief of Bonendalé , a village about 20 km away from Douala over a bumpy road, crossing the bridge towards West Cameroon. My spouse's relationship to him was through his paternal grandmother. Not exactly close blood ties, but my spouse and Uncle Dibounjé had been close on an intellectual level for many years. At the time, his grandchildren were all very young, but now we are in constant contact with his eldest grandson, who lives in France. When I asked him whether I could write about his grandfather, and use the photo I had available, he answered: "Why are you asking me? Do whatever you want: he's your family too." Uncle Dibounjé was a local celebrity. In fact, he was one the the subjects of a book written by a French Jesuit priest, Père Eric de Rosny , who