Thursday, November 8, 2018

Serail: Why did Chantal Biya want to hide these secrets in Cameroon?


The text below is an excerpt from the biographical work of the journey of the First Lady Chantal Biya. Entitled The Beauty and the Banana Republic, the release of this book written by the Cameroonian writer Bertrand Teyou was banned in 2010.

Given its propensity for international generosity, its particular humanitarian dynamics , her aura of world star in the fight against AIDS, her eccentric look that is a sensation at every appearance, Chantal Biya leaves no one indifferent.

She is honored or erected as a diva, and venerated as such by the greatest of this world who cover her with benevolent words. Distinction which, infinitely, moves the octogenarian husband and refreshes the prodigious reign of chaotic Renewal passed to Passionate Renewal, thanks to the dazzling muse that makes tragedy a boon.

In the 70s in Dimako, girls of joy, who serve as appetizing gadgets to white neo-settlers who decimate the forests of Central Africa, are not lacking. This small village in eastern Cameroon, with its natural virginity converted into economic lung, has become an eldorado that arouses curiosity, and gives local villagers the desire to converge to find work and improve their living conditions .

Logging offers work, and there is the white man who, in these first auroras of independence, is always a myth before which prostrates the people who do not yet experience the universal vocation of emancipation acquired . Blacks reduced to maneuvers or underpaid domestic workers, at the mercy of the fantasies of their masters. All as they are, women, children or husbands.

At that time, colonial barbarism changed mode of operation. Its performers are from the new ruling class acquired to the cause of the former settler. The Ahidjo government in power has the mission to preserve the privileges of the old masters.Message received, without fault, by the people, after the bloody warning of the years of embers that preceded the feast of January 1, 1960, napalm carnage so blind and barbaric that now, fear echoes almost naturally, from generation to generation transmitted from the first parents who, to save posterity, had to accept to be satisfied.

At Dimako converge satiated, servile tribes. We come from the surrounding villages, on foot, in skates or makeshift public transport, for the SFID (Forestry and Industrial Society of Doumé ... or Dimako), an industrial complex implanted since 1945 following the colonial plan of exploitation in French Equatorial Africa, a reserve of the most varied and rich wood species.

After independence, the company SFID, which comes out of a period of decline in activity, is back in service, thanks to the irradiation of the Marshall Plan from Europe. It is refounded by a brave local named Banda Banda André, and an old expatriate survivor of colonial vestiges.This industrial structure, passed from the regime of interventionist financial intervention of the colonial State to capitalist mandate, stands as an island of hope for the populations of the great region of the east.

It is by following the economic exodus that Mengolo Timothée, coming from his native Ndouma west side, finds himself in Dimako. He is far from imagining that this adventure will lead him, through his little offspring, to a presidential palace. He is employed at SFID as a driver in charge of supplies. He lives in the camp reserved for black employees, huts built in temporary materials and reminiscent of the hovels of the townships of Soweto.

This makeshift workmen's complex adjoins the White camp, which immediately stands in staggering contrast with its immediate proximity to the misery of local workers. It consists of comfortable residences, recreational areas with swimming pools, tennis courts and shaded walk areas. The site of the SFID is then comparable to an apartheid prototype Equatorial forest version. Its ruin today is a striking cliche, a vestige of abandonment, sequels frozen by the sediments of time and dust.

The village Dimako was born from logging, conquest of eastern Cameroon, in search of its green gold, a rich wood reserve whose various species are highly sought on the international market. The activity is in full swing.

When Mengolo arrives, as a sturdy and dedicated worker, he finds no difficulty in finding a job. It is through hard work that he will succeed in gaining the trust of his white bosses, improving his condition and starting a family.

Over the years of effort, the Mengolo family grows and expands, including young Rosette, a teenager full of life and beauty. Rosette is admired by all, by her awakening and her dynamic, in perfect image of her father.

It does not go unnoticed in the streets of Dimako which, more and more, develops according to the same appetites as all the other eldorados of gold research, vows of modernity celebrated every year through competitions of miss, event allowing young girls from the region to show their charm.

At one of these Miss's ceremonies, which highlights local girls, including those from remote villages, Rosette, Daddy Timothée's daughter, is a laureate. The elected is acclaimed by all the assistance, a distinction that echoes, and particularly holds the attention of Georges Vigouroux, a French boss who works at SFID and lives in the camp of expatriates.

By his status as a white master, Vigouroux was immediately served, he entrusted the mission to one of his SFID workers, Samba Gaston, member of the jury of the Miss election, who will take care to tell Timothée Mengolo the privilege of which he is the object.

La Rosette, all quivering, delicate of her fragile age of 15, will cross, for the first time, the camp of expatriates. A small leap certainly but the passage from one universe to another, between two worlds close and at the same time so separated.Georges discovering the charm and tenderness of his sweetheart welcomes her as a princess, strangely taken in consideration.

After the facilitation of Samba Gaston, it is Banda Véronique, daughter of Banda Banda André, rather well introduced in the camp of the Whites, who attended to accompany Rosette. As is the tradition of Africa, it is the women who deliver the muse.

An intense love affair will follow, hot and passionate, its fruits are not long. A pregnancy, then a birth, a beautiful baby to whom we give the names Chantal Pulchérie. Veronique will go to the end of her job, she will be the godmother of the newborn.

But this birth brings to light a relationship that Vigouroux wanted secret, transient and without a future. Rosette had been dramatically deceived about the first day her companion manifested, a consideration that did not mean love or desire. She was just another desired little girl, as there were others, as there will be others during the next election, which will be organized to serve spontaneously, to the masters, the best fruits of the region.

Being taken aback by the turn of things, Vigouroux thought of abortion, but, immediately abandoned the idea because it would be stupid to engage a perilous project against "a native who anyway would not be worse by dragging with her an offspring "advises her colleague accustomed to this type of experience.

Despite the advice of the colleague, Vigouroux remains upset, not because the thirty-year-old is feeling remorse for the teenager Rosette; but because of the presence of her companion, the mother of her first son, coming from France for some vacancy. The hidden truth that will devastate Rosette, as Samba, and his friend Mengolo who had the illusion of a sincere romance.

Rosette is torn apart, an upheaval that, coupled with her age of puberty, becomes a sentimental bomb. She is the museum scorned by green gold seekers. She gives herself up to explosive freedom, to flee suicide.

It becomes unstable, elusive and uncontrollable; light and fickle. A situation that endangers Vigouroux's precarious marriage balance. More and more, the connection that George had with Rosette continues to pose a threat, a daily nightmare, in the middle of the equatorial forest, thousands of kilometers from France.

It is in these conditions, after the departure of his companion, that Georges Vigouroux resolves to leave the SFID, Rosette, the baby and all the rest. For him, it is a misadventure to put on the account of the vicissitudes of life. He abandons Rosette and its forest, and will continue the adventure elsewhere, in Douala, economic capital, port city, another destination of treasure seekers where docked white sailors who know by heart the fate of women sorrowed.

After this brutal departure from Vigouroux, Rosette will live a real shipwreck, a flight forward that never stops. She must face the silent remonstrances of looks that envy less and less the icon of beauty that it is, treat it, as is often the case, in wreckage of whites, which means start of glory if we choose to leave or end of course disastrous if we decide to stay in the village.

Rosette is doubly frightened by what may be her condition among his family. She already knows that when a woman gives birth outside marriage she is rejected, and worse if the parent is a ghost white, a character whose image, in the buried memory of all Black, arouses terror or hatred. Her fate is even more tragic than she imagined. In her private solitude, she constantly struggles against bad luck, understanding that she is condemned to leave, to embrace, in spite of herself, the path of glory.

Thanks to his father who travels quite frequently on behalf of SFID, and the kindness of his new mother-in-law, Rosette is always part of it. And each time, a pinch to the heart, when she goes away leaving her daughter sometimes at the mother-in-law's, sometimes at an aunt's or a cousin's, a pain that paradoxically only compels her to follow the uncertain horizon.

It is in this unstable context that Chantal will grow up, under the auspices of her grandfather who is one of ten local employees enjoying the middle-class status, a rewarding privilege, but which does not dispense with the fate of other families in the camp. miserable people.

Although Métisse, Chantal will not be a privileged person, her daily life is the same as that of other black children, added to that the permanent nostalgia, because of the frequent absences of her mother, a sadness that only subsides when she meet his friends on the school path or in the playground.

Like her mother or grandfather, Chantal is spontaneous, energetic and hardworking.Each time she draws water from the fountain of the district for the domestic work of the house, it is with frenzy, it is also a happy occasion of reunion between the children of the district Dakar.

Overflowing with energy, Chantal frequently plays the role of leadership among her classmates, admired for her sense of organizing teams during moments of distraction. She is passionate about games such as the pawn push *, the carpet flies * in the watercourse called stride-footed where the children of the camp play who wants loaded bread. In this basin carpeted by vegetation, we play with the throwing of water and we plunge our head showing his little behind to the sky.

The crowded-foot is also a place of settlement of unfinished disputes at school or in the playground, frequent rivalries of children some of which will leave unforgettable sequels.

Like those times where Chantal receives small insults, hurtful mockery, because of her mixed skin color, it is often treated as ntangan belabo *. And for all that, she does not let herself go. She knows how to defend herself, both against girls and boys. This is how she will eventually inspire respect and even fear among her classmates.

We are in 1985, Chantal is 15 years old.His developed body is luckily spared from the surrounding tragedy. In eastern Cameroon, the specter of modernity that has mingled with the local has led to chaos: premature sexuality or pregnancy are the passage of most teenage girls. At the age of 16, some young girls have martyred or sutured flesh, because of these sentimental injuries that end in real wounds.

Openness to the world has created a social earthquake in the eastern region.The green gold rush of its golden promises has turned the lives of peaceful peasants into a nightmare. Every night, the SFID workers get drunk in the grotto, and only come home once the brain is adulterated, only in this way can they manage to sleep after the hard work of the day.

From drunk to drunk, all the men of the area are transformed into carcasses, rough virility, moving bodies, the prince charming deserted the village. That's why all the girls in the community dream to leave, to flee the wounds, because the legend tells that one would have more luck in big cities. They all dream to hang on one of the few cars that cross the dusty road of Dimako for the capital.

This is how Chantal flee, and then resolve to stay with his mother in Yaounde. It's the beginning of a new life. The little girl of the forest is now in the city of light, the political capital of Cameroon which, she does not know it yet, is an even more fierce arena than the villages looking for green gold.

A city of wolves that has already left a legacy to his mother became alcoholic, the latter who must hydrate abundantly every morning, drinking two liters of water, to appease the fire in it. In Yaounde, there is no need to wait for angry days, the immolation is permanent.

The political capital of Cameroon stands on tops, seven horns out of the ground, it is a fortress dating back to the time of colonial occupation. Like most cities in the West, Yaounde, of vulgar and rootless name, was founded by guns, built from a German military post erected in 1895, on a hill, fire wall called Ongola which means "fence" in the local language, a building by which the occupier would later imprison the fate of the indigenous peoples, glory by the power of fire. The permanent fire of Yaoundé goes back to its origin.

Rosette, who immolates herself every day, is far from imagining that her situation is the consequence of a distant order. With the brutal arrival of her daughter, she sees herself all shamed, she blames herself for the harm she is doing by her own intention, a bad curse against which she has sought in vain the help of the Bible.

His call to mercy has all the time echoed like a cry in the desert, the city of Yaounde itself transformed into an evil singer where the most cruel opulence rubs, in total indifference, the most unsustainable misery. The weak are forgotten or crushed, purgatory endless. Having dived almost irreversibly, Rosette already measures the fragility that awaits her daughter.

She knows that tipping is only a small thread. But for the moment, she welcomes her child with joy and strives to smile, to spare him the story of the difficulties that she has not ceased to encounter since her arrival in Yaoundé, a situation which, little by little, made addicted to alcohol. This added to her mother's sorrow having always been absent from her child.

his candid voice and already full of sense of responsibility, Chantal expresses her concern about the indissoluble situation of her mother and urges him to realize that Alcohol solves nothing, she wants to help her get by. The exchange between mother and daughter helps to create a new beginning, to save what can be, a solemn promise to give the best for things to improve.

Rosette strongly hopes that with her daughter, she will find the right path.Chantal returns to school, she is assiduous and determined. It brings even good grades, which suggests a better future. Unfortunately, the sincere commitment of two women full of good will will know, in hardly one quarter, terrible hardships.

The reality of poverty resurfaces, cruelly.The ardent wishes for success are eroding little by little. Everything rocks again, Rosette, doubly weakened, by her helplessness in front of the frame of her daughter, plunges back into the whirlpool, and worse this time because, she even does morning rehydration, and stays in the fire permanent insatiable fairies, it can not be anything wet, "wet is wet, there is no wet dry" says the popular oracle.

This is how the rest of Chantal's school career is brutally disrupted, in the face of the destitution of the house. She understands that she will have to take charge, be more aware of the looks on her, on the way to school, or those of her mother's friends.

The situation is so difficult that it can not continue to resist the onslaught of affluent males. Even his mother Rosette pushes him, in his way, by praising the charms of his offspring. Chantal frees herself from her leaflet, and thus approaches her destiny as a woman, to ensure her survival.

She becomes an adult, driven by hunger.And, far from the expected fulfillment, this episode of happiness through love will plunge it into an even more dramatic season. She takes an early pregnancy, with one of the benefactors who filled her, an unforeseen situation that, little by little, will reduce the demands, upsetting the ambitions of his mother.

In addition to taking charge, Chantal must raise her twins, relying on a Rosette who has still not forgiven his accident, and a violent and absent parent. To live up to his responsibilities on a daily basis is a miracle. Chantal learned early on to rely on luck and a god to help the poor. But the wheel of fortune does not always smile.

Feeling exhausted, she thinks more and more about her father who could at least take her in his arms. The kind lovers of his mother could not fill this deep desire.Indeed, Chantal being Métis, some compromises are not very obvious with the Cameroonian lovers of her mother, she finds herself condemned to find her father white.

She feels every day the ardent need for paternal love, she suffers from it, since the school where, already, she was treated as a child contributor *, to the point where among her own, she saw herself at times as an unknown. A malaise that has deeply marked him, these common myths that catalog the Métis woman as being destined to end up as a prostitute.

Tragic consequences of this image, it narrowly escaped incest, rape, in an environment where many of his comrades were victims, the sad crucible of modernity that had become Dimako. Arrived in Yaounde, she will still suffer the lust of her mother's lovers, experiencing sleepless nights following the outbursts of anger of Rosette, which has at times led to dangerous fugues. She feels hated.

The relationship between Chantal and her mother is not appeased, she cries, wrapped in sorrow, experiencing the need to leave again, something that promises to be complicated, even impossible, because leaving Yaoundé, point of fall of all dreams departure, suppose to return to the bush.

With her human capacities exhausted, Chantal then invests in prayer, more and more, a way that seems to reconcile her with her mother, the latter who ended up finding better feelings, having realized that the sorrowing women who are Immolate alcohol do not necessarily end up happy.

Rosette woke up mostly thanks to her cousin who, a schoolmistress official, reminded her of how much she disgraced women, these women who must inspire the virtue within the family, and remain role models for their children and not unworthy people; reminded her of how much she lets herself go through multiple lives. The mistress cites as an example her own family life which was held after 20 years of marriage only through patience.

We had never spoken to Rosette with such authority, her cousin ends up asking her to settle down and found a balanced family life, and that only solved love can help her, that love she has could get his couple out of the hard times.

Resolute love is what Rosetta is advised to do. Solved love, that is, choosing a path because it will no longer be possible to back off, to be attached to a value whatever the circumstances. Solved love, irreversible link, destiny resolved.

A laudable idea, of course, but which, unfortunately, will only be possible during the brief truce granted by the occupier.Immolation remains inexorable, Yaoundé, which is the oxygen or the fuel of Cameroon, imposes on us.

"When Yaoundé breathes, Cameroon lives," said the prince. And when we know that breathing or self-immolation means exactly the same thing according to the strings of the palate, everything is understood. One only has to check it through the crematory dance of the officials of the administrative slum who, every evening, stop at the bar of the crossroads to confess to the angels of desire their frightful fragility, the rough manhood of their muscle, their deep distress caused by the lack of solved love.

The danger decried by the mistress is indeed palpable, and so widespread that an isolated happiness will be swept away immediately by the total sinking imposed by the neocolonial order.

Like her grandmother, who had to flee polygamy, her mother who was struck by the green gold digger, Chantal is predestined to know fury. She would not be spared the fate that prevails. Moreover, all her life she has witnessed the fate of the woman erected in family decor, object of pleasure or leisure, marital booty not to perish, that is why when she reaches the age of prime adolescence his mother precisely draws the Prince Charming: rich, conveyed and possessing a villa, in short the good man of there.

In the 80s, Métis in Cameroon having the color of tanned skin, canon of beauty sought after, have some obvious privilege, and are solicited by both white lovers and, on the Cameroonian side, by the better-off.The modest origin of Chantal is compensated, in the place of desires, by the privilege of the skin, thanks to the common manners which maintain that perfection tends towards the white skin, precisely the blonde white with blue eyes.

It seemed that everything, absolutely everything that was done was subordinated to this ideal, given the scalp scalp scalp and the cosmetic stripping it entailed. It was strange, the Aryan order defended to death by the blacks!

In any case, it is through this channel that Chantal will be more or less accepted.Once settled in Yaoundé, it gradually becomes part of the society of the happy few and can attend clubs of leisure or upscale clubs. This is the era of Hollywood or Brazilian TV series that extol the benefits of deliverance by the elegant city-dweller or Prince Charming, an advertisement that will empty whole villages, the massive exodus of peasant women to the city, looking for of the good man from there.

In the wave of the displaced, we find teenage girls spellbound by clichés or young women idle, escaped marital homes in bankruptcy, injured hearts, divorced, betrayed lovers, early widows. They all land at Yaoundé City Hall, a kind of Rwanda hotel with rose water. Among them, attractive or exotic skins that continue the exploration club, in "white boxes" as the girls said between them, the nightclub Le Caveau for example.

This is the world Chantal meets, where she finds chic guys who make him live fairy tales, but also often bastards that make him live a hell.

When Chantal falls on the lover who spoils her, it is usually the moment when she feels very little feeling, but when she happens to open her tender heart, it is rather the opposite that happens, she is everything the time disappointed. Like this evening of May 1986, when for the first time she had shivers of love, to find herself a few months later pregnant with twins, and then abandoned, plunging her mother into utter confusion.

Overwhelmed by the weight of the loads to assume, Chantal always feels more fragile despite the call of the Lord, in precarious balance with herself, and with her mother who wobbles again, immanent decline towards alcohol. She desperately needs palpable help, that of her father.

She re-interrogates Rosette insistently, she implores her help. It is then that the latter finally puts her in the footsteps of her father, as on a path of deliverance, because of Yaounde, point of departure of all departures, only the way to the father, to the sky, can move.

The little girl of Mengolo embarks on a bus and finds herself in Douala, Toyota street in Bonapriso district, in front of a metal gate.

She shudders for a moment and then decides to ring. A nice Kribian lady, Agnès Vigouroux, the wife of her father, welcomes her. In a feverish and pathetic tone, she announces the purpose of the visit. The lady will not attack her husband's frololages, she sees rather in front of her a child who needs assistance. She welcomes and installs.

Immediately, Chantal enjoys spontaneous attention. She feels a comfort she had never known before. She is invaded by an indescribable emotion in front of this woman whom she has just met for the first time and who gives her the feeling of being in the presence of a caring mother, producing, if only for a short time , the feeling of coming out of his hell.

When M. Vigouroux returns at night, his wife announces the presence of a stranger in the house. Having read the facts, he ignores the visitor. He remains firm: he never had children, the story with Rosette was an adventure. His position is "without appeal" he says. During Chantal's brief stay in the house, under the auspices of Agnes, he did not speak to her. For him, this is an unknown.

The frequent trips from Chantal to Douala will not change the position of Mr. Vigouroux. Even less the maternal efforts of his wife, a mixed-race woman born of the rape of a white boss on her native servant, was trying to help a child whose wounds she understood only too well.

Even the relentless recourse of friends at the usual booth in Bonanjo, Douala administrative district, will not change anything. Vigouroux will remain of marble and will advise relatives who want to remain his friends to spare him the subject.

Chantal will then be satisfied with the secret sympathy of Mrs. Vigouroux who will support it as best as she can and above all, present it to friends, to a Métis neighbor as well, just to accompany her possible dream of the future.

The neighbor of Mrs. Vigouroux is warm, and is sensitive to the story of Chantal which she makes a friend. Her name is Marie A. and she and her French husband own a fashionable club in Douala, club 78, version XL of the Saint-Hilaire club, at that time the obligatory passage of all the ambitious.

Thanks to its festive avant-gardism, the 78 is an arena open to all human genres, especially its penumbra where, for the first time in Cameroon, the myth of female homosexuality is unveiled, and Mary, from the height of her irresistible beauty, erected as a priestess unsatisfied.

Evenings are like a moment of pilgrimage for everyone, including men wanting to highlight the immense femininity in them.It is also the sublime lair where the benefactors are passionate about the immolation of the fairies who show themselves on the dance tracks clocked with multicolored lights.

Within the micro bourgeoisie of Douala, the sordid age of Yaoundé is transformed into a work of art, with as a master of ceremonies a certain Donatien Koagne, famous for his magical briefcase that whitens the fortune of the heads of state.Through his aura, the man from there celebrates the baptism of the muses, by watering them with banknotes, under the dense rays of the stroboscopes and the furious praise of the DJs of the 78.

We are in ecstasy to the end At the end of the night, and magically, the early morning nec, when coming out of the nightclub, the bubble narrows and bursts in the palm of your hand, leaving you an unforgettable fragrance. Then, staggering under the light of daybreak, though still trailing that little hint of sulfur, you come home, promising to come back.

The boss of the 78 shows Chantal all the facets of Douala, especially reveals to him that everything is summed up in the small bubble of the morning that breaks out in the palm of your hand and disappears, and, suddenly, more benefactors.

And that real life is having a husband and children. A shocking revelation for Chantal who believed in this glory, Chantal who over the days rediscovers Mary, in real life, a housewife infinitely attached to her daughter and her husband, far from the pampered nightclub icon , the real family life that Chantal fed before switching.

The following days, Chantal's presence at 78 is more relaxed, Marie invites her for fun, gives her some tips for choosing her lovers and pays for her money from time to time. Chantal confides in Marie, tells her her troubles and also her recent meeting with a Bamileke man who looks after her wonderfully, but suffers because she only sees him according to the availability of his family life, she opens entirely for the first time, a complicity with Mary who console her violent rejection by his father.

Returning to Yaoundé, Chantal, who certainly did not receive the paternal comfort that she hoped for, is infinitely invigorated by the support and advice of Mary. She no longer has the obsession of looking for glory, because she now knows that leaving can also mean a return to her first feelings, and not always the assault on the city of light.

She does not despair so much anymore.His mother cares a little more for his twins, which allows him to do odd jobs to ensure the survival of everyday life. She will work in some very popular bar in the political capital, will make fashion shows or miss, a maternal inheritance she maintains with much nostalgia. However, late night clubbing will be rare.

She cut off all relations with the genitor of her twins who violated her and never ceased to rot her life, by absurd scenes of jealousy coming from the most unfaithful of lovers. Chantal needed a break. This is why she also declined the repeated offer of some benefactors who came back, she fled, this after understanding the mystery of the morning bubbles.

In the absence of fusion love, she followed the path of reason and put herself with an Egyptian businessman settled in Yaoundé who gives him a smile. Her life goes on as best she can until the day a friend, Elise Azar, takes her to a party where her charm holds the president's attention.


Columnist: cameroonweb.com