Wednesday, January 29, 2020

From the street to the palace, Chantal Biya, a life riddled with ups and downs - Bertrand Teyou

''The Beauty of the Banana Republic; Chantal Biya, from the street to the palace ''. This is the provocative title of this work by the polemical writer Bertrand Teyou. Unfortunately, he died on January 22 in Douala.

This work, now available in bookstores and other supermarkets, has had as many twists and turns as its main character; my first lady of Cameroon. 

Difficult beginnings, obstacles, an avalanche of criticism, but ultimately by dint of patience and sacrifice, the consecration. 

After nine years in the grip of his book, the writer can finally see the product of his creative imagination now furnish the shelves of bookstores and other supermarkets. 

"The Beauty of the Banana Republic: Chantal Biya, from the street to the palace" just appeared at the stables of the Free Nation edition, at the beginning of this month of October 2019. 

Indeed, the publication of this book was formally prohibited in Cameroon since 2010. For good reason, the sometimes corrosive style, can give indications on the posture of the administrative authorities who saw in this work, no less, than an insult to the First lady, if not defamation, to say the least. 

The author Bertrand Teyou who had brilliantly illustrated himself with two literary parturitions of good quality, in particular L'Anté-code Biya and Sortir de l'Impasse published respectively in 2009 and 2010. This other publication which made great noises when it was released in 2010, was struck with the seal of a ban which led Bertrand Teyou to hell in the prison environment of Douala, when he dared to dedicate his book despite the formal refusal of the administrative authority.

We offer a small summary of the main lines of the work according to its author: 

In this literary opus rich in 192 pages, Bertrand Teyou traces in life size, the atypical journey of a child from a modest family who will become by force of Chance, the First Lady of Cameroon, after a childhood, an adolescence imbued with the seal of poverty and mental and material misery, forcing her to practices that were not very Catholic. 

Bertrand Teyou, relates in great detail, a lucid chronology, the incredible story of Chantal Biya, worthy of a fairy tale. It's the life full of donkeys, riddled with ups and downs of a desperate 24-year-old mother who takes the heart of an entire head of state. 

And as should not be expected, "Chantal Biya undergoes a veritable love hold-up perpetrated by the highest peak in the state. She was not courted. She was kidnapped, kidnapped, as in the cinema, a danger experienced as an opportunity. The chance to have been in the right place at the right time '' narrates the author. 

In view of the misery she experienced, the love for this young mother of twins, then aged 24, had become viaticum. 

However, despite the material abundance and power. Despite the young girl's dream come true, she lives in the Palace of Unity, but her soul never left the '' street '' from where it was taken out.

It will become a formidable terror, in the heart of the Republic. Sufficient to justify the second segment of the title of the book. Chantal Biya, from the street to the palace. 

Bertrand Teyou sequences his story in nine chapters surrounded by an introduction and a conclusion. The first chapter tells the story of a teenage girl's despair. The second highlights the episode of Jeanne Irène Biya, deceased wife of the Head of State and the advent of Chantal alongside the illustrious statesman. The third chapter sets foot in the mystery of the intoxication of power after the story of a tumultuous childhood and adolescence. The fourth chapter is devoted to the analysis of the humanitarian work of the first lady, with a tad, the highlighting, of the madness of grandeur. The sixth chapter is devoted to the life of an extraordinary couple at the head of the Republic. The seventh highlights the infantilization of the dignitaries of the Republic, kneeling before the empress, a metaphor for the president that has become Chantal Biya, who is no longer a mystery about her ambitions to succeed her husband as head of state, at the top of the pyramid of the Republic. The eighth chapter is a race for vanity. 

In short, an inventory of the present. The last chapter, should be coupled with the fourth which tells the story of the humanitarian work of Chantal Biya while the last chapter shows that the humanitarian is put at the service of political ambition. "The Beauty of the Banana Republic: Chantal Biya, from the street to the palace" is a book that must be read. As the style is digestible, the typographical signs used to carry the narrative do not require great efforts of perception. 

The singular journey of the First Lady is told as in a biographical work, a gigantic portrait made of painting of escapades, of the different facets of a life floated by misery transformed by the fact of luck in earthly paradise, where the golds of the palaces entail a certain intoxication and a megalomania, wrapped in humanitarian aid in the service of the relaxation of a political aspiration under construction. The reader cannot however refrain from questioning the sources that the author used to make such a painting.