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I Spit on their Graves

Testimony Relevant to the Democratization Struggle in Cameroon

Godfrey B. Tangwa

Publication Year: 2010

The essays collected in this volume are, by the depth of their analysis and the breath of their vision, indeed ëNo Trifling Matterí. They are a chronicle of the events in contemporary Cameroonian society, especially as concerns the conduct of public affairs therein. Over and above its relevance for our own time, this chronicle will, in the decades that lie ahead, serve as a rich source of information, opinion and comment which future generations, anxious to understand the making of an era whose impact, positive or negative, is destined to survive long after the longest-living of its principal actors and actresses shall have disappeared from the face of the Earth, will find a great benefit. Rotcod Gobata has, through these essays, lit and placed on a pedestal, a candle whose flame shall never die and whose glow shall serve as a beacon to guide and to inspire generations yet unborn.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

Dedication

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pp. ix-x

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

Most African traditions recommend that only good should be spoken of the dead. That the living should wail when they depart. That the dead should be honoured. That the living should bring flowers to the graves of the dead in loving memory. So it must sound a bit strange (if not insultive) to...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xviii

I always keep my promises. You yourself can bear me out. A promise is a promise. A promise is a debt. Why promise if you don’t intend to keep? The word ‘‘Shit’’ has not appeared on the title of this book. As I promised. Our situation has, however, not in any way improved or become...

Acknowledgements

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pp. xix-xx

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Le Cameroun c’est le Cameroun

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pp. 1-4

Cameroon is Cameroon. When I was in High School, they used to call a statement of this form a “tautology or logical truth.” Any statement of this form has an informative content of zero. If I tell you that “A is A,” I have not told you anything; you are no wiser...

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Boycott All Boycottables

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pp. 5-8

Did you know that there are no political detainees or prisoners in Cameroon? Did you know that all the people being detained in Bamenda and the rest of the North West Province are common law criminals and suspects? Did you know that torture is completely unknown...

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Tribute To Professor Gabriel Obenson

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pp. 9-12

Tuesday, December 1st 1992. The man died. Suddenly, unexpectedly. He died in a “motor accident” fifty kilometres to Yaounde on the Douala-Yaounde highway. A few hours before, he had telephoned someone at INTELCAM, Yaounde, to announce his imminent arrival...

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Christmas in "Baghdad"

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pp. 13-16

When I left Yaounde for the North West Province (to see things for myself) a few days before Christmas, many people were optimistically predicting that the state of emergency would be lifted before Christmas day. Their reasoning was that His Excellency...

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Two Honourable Options

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pp. 17-20

The state of emergency in the North West Province has been lifted after two months. What did it achieve? Less than nothing. To say that the state of emergency achieved nothing is to imply that the government which imposed it came out of it with no gains and no losses. The...

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The Wolves Finally Discard their Sheep's Clothing

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pp. 21-24

A wolf may go about in sheep’s clothing. But a wolf in sheep’s clothing may not succeed in deceiving all the people all the time that it is a sheep. Some people do not judge by the clothing, by appearances. Such people will always know that a wolf in sheep’s clothing is a wolf...

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Bello Bouba is Bouba Bello

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pp. 25-28

I have once compared the Biya regime to an old battered car tottering along the highway in total disregard of the safety of its occupants and that of the other road users. It seems surely headed for the ditch with every passing day as it multiplies its blunders. But, so far, it has exhibited near...

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Something Pass You why You No Leave Am?

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pp. 29-32

Biya Bi Mvondo, Doctor of Agriculture, honoris cuasa (Eastern Shores) will surely be remembered in contemporary history as the person who brought social, political and economic CHAOS to Cameroon. During the precipitated presidential electioneering campaigns, the...

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The CRTV Versus the People

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pp. 33-36

Officially, democratic rhetoric has been going on in this country now for over a decade. This rhetoric is epitomized in Communal Liberalism: two hundred pages of empty theorizing which, as has now been confirmed, were composed (in good faith) by François Sengat...

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Sir, I Like your American Accent, But...

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pp. 37-40

You may think I am talking about Lucas Ananga. No. I used to call him Luke Ananga. But recently I joined the chorus in calling him Lucas Ananga. At first I didn’t like the sound of “Lucas.” It sounds so old-fashioned, so ballardish, if you get what I mean. I know someone who...

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Where is the “Grand débat” We Were Promised?

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pp. 41-44

I woke up from my bed today to the sound of a beautiful but slightly pathetic song with the chorus: WHERE IS THE LOVE YOU PROMISED ME? I’m sure you know the tune. My mind immediately went back to the “grand débat” we were promised since October. There are few things...

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The Fault is Not in Our Stars

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pp. 45-48

Men at some times are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings -
Shakespeare
No human being can be kept as a slave for very long without his/her own connivance. This is because all human...

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From Autocracy to Dyarchy

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pp. 49-52

In 1972, Dr. Nnamndi Azikiwe of Nigeria, displaying a touch of premature senility, proposed what has come to be known as “Zik´s Fourth Arm Theory.” In a speech delivered in his capacity as the then Chancellor of the University of Lagos Zik proposed that the army should be...

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It is All A Sham, Make Believe

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pp. 53-56

Recently, the war strategy and propaganda Minister of the ruling junta, Augustin Kontchou Koumegni, called a press conference; not to diabolize and rundown Fru Ndi but to talk AIDS! My mind immediately went back to one of the most memorable of his infamous press...

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Unfrancophonic Francophones: The Last Reed of our Drowning Hopes

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pp. 57-60

I always wonder how French people feel when they remember that it was their ancestors who, more than 200 years ago, carried out an epoch-making revolution whose battle cry was: LIBERTE, EGALITE ET FRATERNITE! I expect every French person to be...

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Unanglophonic Anglophones: The Clogs on our Libertarian Wheels

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pp. 61-64

First of all, you would like to know what the son of Gobata thinks about the just re-announced “grand” national “débat,” not so? Well, here it is, straight, firm and unequivocal. It is all a grand diversionary ploy! Quote me. If anything satisfactory ever comes out of it, feel free...

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The Ironies of our History

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pp. 65-68

As all West Cameroonians (Anglophones) were meeting in Buea, on the slopes of mount Fako, from April 2-3, 1993, to see what, together, they could salvage from their chequered and battered history, it was very interesting, if not instructive to glance at some of the...

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Bell Luc Rene’s Dane Gun Theory

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pp. 69-72

As the Biya regime continues hanging on to power, precariously, from a single finger of one hand, some members of the regime have really distinguished themselves, to such an extent that they would not only earn a significant place in our history books, but would qualify...

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Louis Tobie Mbida´s Naïve Candour

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pp. 73-76

Louis Tobie Mbida (alias Baby Doc) passed on “Cameroon Calling” (CC) of Sunday 11th April 1993, to talk about Anglophones and Federalism. Before then, he had apparently participated in the French programme “Dimanche Midi” the previous Sunday, on the...

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Ben Muna Opts for Political Harakiri

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pp. 77-80

I have not yet laid my hands on the issue of JEUNE AFRIQUE in which Marc Yared reported his interview with Ben Muna. But, if what is reported about it in the Newspapers is correct, then it can confidently be predicted that Ben Muna has voluntarily chosen the path of political...

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The Nuances Between “Large” and "Grand"

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pp. 81-84

Between “large” and “grand” there are important nuances in Dr. Biya´s advanced semantics. A “large débat” is not necessarily a “grand débat.” His Excellency has now made his precisions and put the records straight. He promised a “large débat” not a “grand débat”...

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The Descent into Hell

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pp. 85-88

As if I were merely joking or making use of hyperbole, I once remarked in this column that Dr. Biya would be remembered in history for his attempt to destroy this beautiful country called Cameroon. Although his regime is basically a kleptocracy, it has, for pragmatic reasons...

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Let The, Be Anathema

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pp. 89-92

This past week, the first week of May, many people who happened to have met me were asking me if I practice witchcraft. In Buea, I met one person who was running after me and shouting “Rotcod, Rotcod, son of Gobata! You were right again! You are always right. Are...

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Owona´s “Jealous” Constitution

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pp. 93-96

‘‘Jealous of its independence and sovereignty…..” So opens the preamble of Joseph Owana´s draft constitution, fraudulently presented as the work of the 1991 Tripartite Technical Committee on Constitutional Matters. Have you read through this...

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Francophones May Be Deaf But Certainly not Dumb

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pp. 97-100

Are some Francophones deaf or hard of hearing? I wonder. But, whether deaf or not, they evidently are not listening. If Francophones were listening, the great majority of them would already be supporters of the Buea Declaration and the draft constitution of the All...

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A Most Incredible Country, Cameroon

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pp. 101-104

I once wrote a piece in this column entitled “Le Cameroun c´est le Cameroun” In that piece I tried to capture some of the incredible things that can happen in this country which could never happen anywhere else on earth. Every...

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From my Mail Bag

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pp. 105-108

The philosophy underlying NO TRIFLING MATTER is very much centred around the idea of criticism (including both negative and positive appraisal) as the only way by which we, as fallible human beings, can rapidly improve our lot in this world. If you have read the...

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The Media and the Democratic Process in Cameroon

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pp. 109-112

Is there a “democratic process” in Cameroon? This straightforward and innocent looking question is very difficult to answer. The “New Deal” regime of Dr. Paul Biya would have the world believe that there is a democratization process in Cameroon, initiated by the author...

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A Permanent State of Siege

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pp. 113-116

If a foreigner were to visit Cameroon at the present moment, he or she would surely think that there is war in the country. The entire armed forces have been let loose on the hapless populations. The game has twin names: forceful collection of taxes and restoring...

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The French Connection

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pp. 117-120

All neo-colonial nations - Britain, France, Germany, the USA etc., share the same ultimate aim, namely, exploitation of the unexploited parts of the physical universe for their benefit. In pursuing this common aim, they sometimes find themselves in bitter rivalry with each...

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A Day at the French Embassy

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pp. 121-124

Last time I was saying that if you went to the French Consulate right here in Yaounde you would learn something about the unreasoning nature, disorderliness and general mediocrity of the French. This situation is the secret behind the fact that they shout a lot...

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The Limits of Demagogic Madness

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pp. 125-128

Even before the ruination of the defunct Marketing Board (RIP), coffee and cocoa prices had started falling in the world market. One year around the early eighties, the government found that it had to drastically reduce the price per kilogram that it had usually paid to...

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War in "Bagdad"

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pp. 129-132

The last time I visited “Bagdad” was in December 1992. At that time, if my memory serves me right, Dr Paul Biya, “the president of all Cameroonians without exception” had slammed a state of emergency on the North West Province and gone to frolick in some quiet...

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The Well Deserved Mockery of A People by its Own Leaders

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pp. 133-136

Last week, the war in “Baghdad” prevented me from fully appreciating Dr. Biya’s instructions to their honourable excellencies: Achidi Achu, Antoine Ntsimi and Mbella Mbappe, regarding the payment of salaries and re-opening of schools. I have once been falsely...

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Who is the Head of the Catholic Church in Cameroon?

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pp. 137-142

This is the foolish question which the CRTV took down to the man on the street last Sunday, September 5th 1993, under the variety programme TAM-TAM WEKEND. To this foolish question many foolish answers were given, that of the Professor who is said to have...

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L’heure est grave

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pp. 143-146

A few days ago someone met me at my favourite drinking spot in Djoungolo and started haranguing me: “Son of Gobata, have you now started dealing with trifling matters? The last NO TRIFLING MATTER seemed to me like a very trifling matter. That thing about...

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A Dictatorship Cannot be Reformed

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pp. 147-150

You cannot reform a dictatorship. You can only change it. And, so far, no peaceful method has yet been discovered, nor seems discoverable, by which to change a dictatorship. A dictatorship cannot be transformed into a democracy because the two are directly antithetical...

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A Tale of Anniversaries

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pp. 151-154

I am scripting this on October 1st 1993. That is my own way of celebrating. So, HAPPY 32nd ANNIVERSARY TO ALL SOUTHERN CAMEROONIANS! Southern Cameroons gained its independence on October 1st 1961. On that day, at exactly zero hour, the British “Union Jack,”...

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Moral Bankruptcy

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pp. 155-158

The main source of all the problems facing Cameroon today is not the economic crisis or tribalism or even dictatorship per se. The intolerable dictatorship under which we are suffering, the economic crisis crushing us and the tribalism threatening to tear us apart are simply effects...

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Irreparable Rupture

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pp. 159-162

You cannot savagely crush a tender flower and then repair it again. No matter how hard you may try. It could never be the same again. You cannot rape an innocent child, then regret it and restore its innocence again. A love relationship may once have been magic, paradisally...

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The French may not be Foolish but...

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pp. 163-166

The French may not be foolish, but they are certainly not wise. I am less concerned here with trying to prove the foolishness of the French than with demonstrating their lack of wisdom. Whether lack of wisdom and foolishness are simply two names for one and the same...

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The Sign of Things to Come

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pp. 167-170

This week we can pause to celebrate some victories. What victories? Well, you may justifiably not consider that we have won any victories yet worth celebrating. But I would differ with you there and maintain that we have recently gained certain footholds, which as signs of things...

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Eleven Years of Rapacious Plunder

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pp. 171-174

There is a time for everything. A time for living and a time for dying. A time for planting and a time for harvesting. A time for talking and a time for keeping quiet. A time for joking and a time being serious. A time for buying and a time for selling. A time for writing and a time...

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Lessons From The GCE Affair

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pp. 175-178

The French and their local marionettes and errand boys have put Anglophone Power to the test and seen for themselves what they are up against. As I remarked before, they showed a lot of wisdom in picking on the Anglophone educational system as the arena on which to...

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Further Lessons

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pp. 179-182

If you didn’t succeed in getting your copy of the CAMPOST last week, you may be wondering what “further lessons” I am talking about. Last week I was drawing some lessons from the GCE affair. Am I even sure this which I am writing now will reach you?...

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A People Fit to Be Slaves

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pp. 183-186

That is not the title of a novel or anything of the sort. The son of Gobata is not about to start trying his hand at fiction writing. I am talking about Cameroonians and Cameroon. “Cameroon is Cameroon,” as you very well know. What you may not have known yet...

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Beer Mungo! Beer Mungo!!

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pp. 187-170

I shouldn’t blame you if you promptly mistake that for an advert of a new liquor. Love of alcoholic liquors is one of the greatest legacies that His Excellency, Alhaji Ahmadou Ahidjo, though a Muslim teetotaller himself, bequeathed to Cameroonians before going to die in Senegal...

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Newsy Tit-bits

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pp. 171-194

The death of President-for–life, Felix Houphouet Boigny of Côte d’Ivoire was announced on Tuesday, 7th December 1993. Did I get the name right? Any secondary school chap who can correctly pronounce and write that name at first attempt certainly has a bright future...

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I Spil on their Graves (In Advance)

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pp. 195-198

You may live like a lion and die like a goat. You may reign like a King and end up like a slave. In that case, should we say that you were a lion which died like a goat or a goat which lived like a lion? Should we say that you were a king who died like a slave or a slave who...

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Epilogue

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pp. 199-202

Those who went through the experience will never forget the moment when, in the evening of Friday, June 18th 1993, they arrived at the Social Centre of the Christ the King Parish at Tsinga in Yaounde for the public launching of the first volume of Rotcod Gobata’s...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956715794
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956616268

Page Count: 222
Publication Year: 2010