SakerPride - "Telling the Saker Story & MORE"
THE MARCH PAST EXPERIENCE!!!
"BANGA SCHOOL", Anyone??
Mention the dates "11th FEBRUARY" or "20th MAY" to anyone who was raised within Cameroon's Anglophone Culture in the late 60s, 70s and 80s like I was, and invariably, a wide range of NOSTALGIA-filled memories would come flooding in! It could be anything from the "BLANCOed" BATA/Canvas shoes we wore, to the "ALASKA" that assuaged our thirst while we were at "The Field", not forgetting the endless MARCHING PRACTICE sessions that took place PRIOR to the actual MARCHING DAY, when anxious-to-take-first-in-Marching HEADMASTERS, DISCIPLINE MASTERS & TEACHERS barked out enforceable-by-mulongo-and-konks commands like: "Hands on your shoulders!!" (to ensure equitable spacing between the "pupils"); "Look at the OCCIPUT of the person in front of you!!!" (to ensure that the lines remained straight); "Maaaaark Time!! Left! Left! Left-Right! Left-Right!" ; and of course ... "EYES RIGHT !!!!" (which was to be executed once the Marching Squad got to the VIPs and Government Officials seated in the grandstand! And then those MARCHING SONGS !!!!!!! Some of them made plenty of sense, given their relevance to the Occasion or Event being celebrated. Like ... "The Youth Day is around once more, for young Cameroonians ... at home and abroad" Others left me perplexed and wondering as I marched along! I still don't know, up till this day where the "ZAMARIA" that was mentioned in the Song: "DOWN THE STREAM ; where the sweet canoes lay down"! In fact I don't quite know if the canoes later woke up after they had "laid down" long enough"! Besides it is only a few years ago, thanks to GOOGLE that I found out that the "JOHN BROWN" whose body lay "a-mouldering" (not a-morning like I had earnestly sung out loud for years) was an 19th Century American Abolitionist. As for "OH MY HOME! WHEN SHALL I SEE MY HOME?" , it only really makes a lot of sense NOW that I am freezing away in North Carolina, and not back then when I actually was in my "Native Land", sweating away in Victoria's Community Field! I also did my best to try and "REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A SOLDIER" , but always drew a complete blank. (I did enjoy the "Yippie Yap-Yap" part though!) Same thing with "O SOLDIER MARCHING, HALLELU-UYAH"! Some of the songs, I have only come to "get" and appreciate with time! Take the song whose lyrics went:
Since Man to Man; (Man!) Is so Unjust (Just!) I don't Know which Man to trust! For I've trusted many (Many!) To my sorrow. (Sorrow!) Friends today; Enemies Tomorrow!
The average Primary School "pupil" would have "joined/cut friend" a number of times over silly stuff but you would have to have been a propah "waka-about" kind of chick to sing and really mean words like "I don't know which MAN to trust ... for I've trusted MANY" yah!!!!! LOL! Well, ENJOY the MEMORIES, as you watch the VIDEO SNIPPETS and view the PHOTO ALBUM, - graciously extracted from the Youth Day 2016 Collection of ExSSA CAMEROON's Dynamic Publicity Secretary, Princess Grayce Endeley!!! Interesting to note what has changed and what has stayed virtually the same!!!
Please Click on Play Button to View Snippet of St. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE SASSE STUDENTS' March Past. (Click On Set Of Arrows To The Far Right Of Each Snippet To Enlarge View.) PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO VIEW PICTURE ALBUM OF YOUTH DAY 2016, BUEA EDITION, Courtesy of Princess Grayce Endeley
"IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS"!
Why that title? Because I intend for the content of this Write Up to consist of those "things" that I have been unable, over the years, to FULLY or SATISFACTORILY explain to my raised-in-Mbeng'a Bakala children, because they simply cannot be fully or satisfactorily explained! They would have to have lived in that day and age and gone through the same experiences, to fully "GET IT"! Think I'll call this first "ESSAY",
THE “LONG BREAK” EXPERIENCE
T here are some things that my children see me do, see me write or hear me refer to that leave them with tons of questions which I can't quite answer to their satisfaction. How, biko, do you come up with a satisfactory answer to a question like: "Mom, Why are the names of so many of the things we eat repetitive; Like "DO-DO", "KUM-KUM", "MOIN-MOIN", & "CHIN-CHIN"? In fact, it hadn't even occurred to me that that was the case till they asked the question! Still don't know the answer to it, and, while I have been able to get away with explaining the existence of the same "duplication phenomenon" in Pidgin English when it comes to descriptive words like "FEAR-FEAR", "DIE-DIE", "WATA-WATA" and "SHAKE-SHAKE" by saying they are the equivalent of the English suffixes " -ery " (as in, WATERY), " -ish " (as in SQUEAMISH" and "- ful " as in, FEARFUL), I am NOT willing to propose any theories for nouns like "ZAM-ZAM", "MU-MU", and CHUKU-CHUKU! We therefore have a tacit agreement to just classify such "UNFATHOMABLES" under the "JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS" Category.
There is this one occurrence that I haven't talked to them about, but whose components I really feel sure will get it "dumped" under this category: I am talking about "LONG BREAK"! I can't quite remember exactly how long it lasted, but I sure remember a host of things about it that I am positive I would have an uphill task trying to explain to anyone who did not experience it for themselves - especially in the absence of any photographs. For example:
1. The Bell: How do I explain to them that it is not the buzz of an electric bell that sent us streaming out in droves into the courtyard or "field" for "Break", but the jarring, rhythmic sound of a little Metal Rod being struck by the HEAD BOY or HEAD GIRL against the Metal Inner Ream of an abandoned tire, hanging from a tree or from an upside down "U"-shaped wooden beam planted into the ground?
2. The Food: How do I explain that we ate, NOT in a CAFETERIA, but just standing or sitting around "somewhere", in the yard and that what we bought either out in the open or from a "DINING SHED", were food items like: - "AKRA BEANS" wrapped in leaves or CIMENCAM paper, - "KWILI-KWILI" (here we go again with those "repetitive names"), - "MAKE-ME-WELL" which you did not have to be UN-well to eat, - "MAKALA" which we bought from a "MAMMY MAKALA" who, judging from her gait, the size of her legs and feet that barely fit into her "2 ROPE/SANS CONFIANCES" and her tendency to fall asleep in mid-sentence and stay in that somnolent state for hours on end definitely suffered from ELEPHANTIASIS & TRYPANOSOMIASIS, (known by its more common name of "SLEEPING SICKNESS", - GROO-GROO as in, Corn & "Grah nut" in a deftly wrapped paper funnel - " ALASKA" a kind of popsicle which was certainly NOT imported from the U.S. State once governed by Mrs. SARAH PALIN, etc. and that we drank water straight out of a "PUMP" ??!! I know they would be a little bit skeptical about my assertion that STEALING (Money or Food) was quite rare so, I will certainly apprise them of the incredibly humiliating and DETERRING "JANKALICO, HOW YAH NAME? SHAAAAME-SHAME" consequence that went along with it. In "ohdah werds" a potential thief did not necessarily refrain from stealing because of his or her unwillingness to Disobey the 8th Commandment, but because the "PUBLIC DISGRACE" that was sure to ensue should they be caught made them think twice!!
3. The Activities: * FIGHTING: They would certainly be glad to know that there is a similarity here, given that our Break, like theirs, was also used for the Settling of Scores via FIST FIGHTS and that anyone who ran to get a TEACHER or THE HEAD MASTER screaming "PLEASE SIR! TWO ARE FIGHTING!" was frowned upon, and that it was considered "unseemly" for a sibling not to "ENTAH FIGHT" or "JOIN INSIDE" when their brother or sister was attacked. I guess the difference here would lie in what preceded the fight: The "Cutting Friend" (only to "Join Friend Back" by the following week), the "looking at someone Up and Down", the "spitting on the ground", the singing of "SELENSEH, COOLEH-LEH, JEALOUSY/I HAVE NO TIME TO SPEAK WITH YOU ...", the "Wona hold me" and all the "Ya Mammy" insults!
* GAMES - JUMP ROPE : Again, they'd be thrilled to know we too SANG as we played, but what a difference when it comes to THE SONGS we sang! . "MADAM MOKUSA! WHEN WILL YOU MARRY?" How more insensitive to a poor Widow's feelings and "pock-nosey" into her business could we be??!! - "RAY, RAY, IN ... TIME IS PASSING TURN AROUND/TOUCH THE GROUND" - KOLOMA / EH-EH-EH-EH! (that involved a real test of your clapping skills) - TABALA (with BUSH Mango Seeds as "pawns") - THERE IS FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN (Run, run, run) - EKWESEH! MEH-EH, MEH! (which sure tested the strength of your arm muscles) - SUKIE SAI SAMEH (that had you snapping your fingers and patting out a beat on your chest & thighs) - ROUND & ROUND THE VILLAGE - THIS GIRL HAS NO EYES TO SEE (Clap-Clap-Clap) - PLAYS & SKITS like " ADAMA THE PRINCESS OF THE NIGER ", " MARREY, MARREY CATHOLIC " and " JIMMY LONDON " - DO MA NI OH, MA NI OH (which involved implicit TRUST in the integrity and strength of the people into whose hands you fell BACKWARDS to catch you and propel you back to your feet!! (Hmm!!) - SO MI DO-DO, MI-MI, RAY-RAY, MI DO ... (Wehda how ALI BABA manage entah inside de song o?! Na szra wi!!) - SEVEN-SEVEN (which definitely sharpened our eye-to-hand coordination and motor skills!) Think I should tell them that the "punishment" for returning to class late from this LONG BREAK could be anything from a "caning", not with the "Waka Stick" kind of "cane", but as in, "12 STROKES" - of the Mulongo, aka Dr. DO GOOD, to the hitting of your knuckles with a ruler, or Kneeling Down ... Hmmmm! This whole "cane on the b A hind" thing has got me wondering if it could possibly curb the "SAGGING PANTS/TROUSERS" fad that exists today, given that the less fabric you have on that behind of yours, the more acute the pain would be when the mulongo makes contact! Oh well ...
WETIN CONC A RN AZIKIWE FOR OKRO SOUP EH???
At NNAMDI AZIKIWE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT in ABUJA, NIGERIA - JUNE 2012
"BOTTOM BELLE COOL MY HEART"
UPDATE/FOLLOW UP ... THE "WEST CAMEROON PRIMARY SCHOOL READER" CORNER!!!
HERE ARE PAGES 77 to 80 of The West Cameroon Primary English Course, Pupil's Book 6, by J.R. Bunting QUITE A HISTORY LESSON!! (**My deepest gratitude to Professor David Zeitlyn of Oxford University for "hunting down" the "Out-of-Print" material on my behalf and sending it my way!!)
BY THE WAY: ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH THE LINES BELOW?
LESSON 1 A man. A pan. A man and a pan. A pan and a man. He is a man. Is he a man? Yes, he is a man. It is a pan. Is it a pan? Yes, it is a pan. He is a man and it is a pan. It is a pan and he is a man.
(Infants One Reader 1957)
THE BOOKS THAT ADORNED OUR HOME, SCHOOL & PUBLIC LIBRARY SHELVES ...
Dolly Lyonga (now LAMBE) and Pam Ebongalame (MACAULAY), "jarring" from their respective LEDGERS at Saker Baptist College circa 1980. Now, TIME TO SHOP FOR WHAT'S NEEDED TO "JARR"/BURN THE MID NIGHT "OYEL" ...
I have to start off by saying this is the most off-the-cuff, on-a-whim, just-post-what's-on-your-mind "thing" I have ever mustered the courage to post! The only reason I woke up (with a jolt) at 5 a.m. this Thanksgiving morning is because I wanted to get a head start on my cooking. I turned on the TV to check the weather, and on came this Bank of America Commercial/Ad, with FLEETWOOD MACS "NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN" playing in the background! The waves of NOSTALGIA that washed over me upon hearing those plaintive, haunting guitar notes isn't something I can quite explain or describe. I had purchased quite a few Fleetwood Mac songs from iTunes for my iPod a couple of years back, but not this particular tune which I had all but forgotten, and certainly not heard since those WILLIE CHINDO/ERIC CHINJE Radio Yaounde days when I first heard and fell in love with the Group/Band!! Next thing I know, my mind is Racing down Memory Lane, darting from one tune to another, from one Radio Cameroon/CRTV Journalist to the other, from one Radio Program to another!!! It may strike my still-sleeping kids as odd that anyone would be so enthralled by their "RADIO" Memories but that's because they wouldn't understand that, in a day and time when there were NO Cell Phones, NO iPods or iPads, NO Laptops or Desktops, NO Wiis, Nintendos or X-Boxes, NOT EVEN TELEVISION, the MAJOR source of our Information/News , Entertainment and Education was the RADIO, and as one who YEARNED, THIRSTED FOR and literally IMBIBED all 3, RADIO YAOUNDE, (in my elementary/secondary school/Ngoa-Ekele days), RADIO BUEA, (in my secondary/high school days), and RADIO BAMENDA, (in my CCAST BAMBILI days), were a HUGE DEAL!! There is NO WAY my spur-of-the-moment list of JOURNALISTS, SIGNATURE TUNES, or PROGRAMS could be anywhere near exhaustive, but on this THANKSGIVING MORNING, I am posting this "ARTICLE" to SALUTE, HONOR and EXPRESS MY GRATITUDE to those DEVOTED MEN & WOMEN who made a tremendously positive impression on this little girl who virtually ate up the TUNES and PROGRAMS they dished out! May the Souls of the MANY DEPARTED amongst them, Rest In Peace!
Mary Namondo Mo KAMARA
Francis WETE Peter Essoka Victor Epie NGOME NJOMO Kevin Julius WAMEY Here are the RADIO CAMEROON/CRTV JOURNALIST NAMES, PROGRAMS as they come to mind ... & some of the (SIGNATURE) TUNES (I certainly hope to update this as I am reminded of more! My apologies for any misspelled names or memory lapses! Would GLADLY accept corrections! Well, looks like I just started another project - "like play"!)
Child Of The Universe (Desiderata) Cameroon Calling "HAND" ("Matongo")
Excuse Me Baby (Sports Program - Radio Yaounde)
Sammy Mafany - Musician (RIP) NOTEZINE An anthelmintic used primarily as the citrate in the treatment of filariasis , particularly infestations with Wucheria bancrofti or Loa loa.
Edube Na Loba Obituaries - “Page Nécrologique” Radio Yaounde Second Hand News Never Going Back Again (Radio Yaounde - Sunday Afternoon Request)
When I Get Home Obituaries - Radio Bamenda "SHIFTAH" (FLOUR SIEVE) The older it got, the more the "threads" in the netting/mesh shifted and developed spaces that let some lucky weevils through!
Till He Come! Obituaries - Radio Buea
BLAST FROM THE 70s! IDENTIFY THE SAKERETTE & NAME HER HAIRSTYLE!!
Remember what "HAIR GROOMING" was like before Electric Razors, Jheri Curls, Weaves, Relaxers and Perms came along?
- FOR "OILING SCALPS" (after "Scraping Dandruff") - FOR "STRETCHING"
Metal & Foam Hair Rollers & "Stretching" ... PLAITING STYLES ...
Copyright J.D. Okhai Ojeikere for pictures so marked!
"Packing", "2-in-1", "Joining", & "Face Cap" all rolled up in one hair do! "TROWAY"
"2 DRUM"! "TWO-IN-ONE TROWAY"
CLARKE'S SANDALS! "Chassee", as in, Brand New! Bout Carré et Bout Pointu!
With these "FASHION FADS", any wonder that a RECORD came out whose lyrics went like this - if my memory serves me right??!!
New Year, New Fashion ’73 eh, Na wandaful You go up, You cam down, Onley One Style. One Style for ‘73 Yéyé Yaya YuYu, Chochoro Trong Kanda Onley One Trouser, Onley One Style APAGA & SALAMANDA "APAGA"/ "PATTES D'ELEPHANT", & "OPEN BACK" TOP EKAMBI BRILLANT, (left), & PRINCE NICO MBARGA, (right). CAN YOU NAME THE SAKERETTE BETWEEN THEM???!!!
Left: "Sans Confiance" aka "2 Rope"; Below: "Room & Parlor" Umbrella "SABOTS"
"GOGGLES OF SURPRISE"!!
Because "READY-MADE" clothes were not as easy to find and were expensive, because many women were stay-at-home Moms who could sew, (MA MBIWAN included - See Picture Below! LOL!!), and also because some men and a few women set up a sewing business - at a market or street corner, for the men, and from the comfort and safety of their homes, for the women, a lot of what was worn back in the day was 'Custom Made'. Fabric ("material") - be it CALICO, CREPE, CHIFFON, TERGAL, POPLIN, FLANNEL, GABARDINE, SEERSUCKER, CRIMPLENE, TAFFETA, NYLON, VELOUR, LACE, or COTTON, would be purchased from EMENS TEXTILES, R & W KING, or the local market, taken to a tailor or seamstress who would take measurements after a "style" had been decided upon, ("gather waist", "cross-no-gutter", etc.), and set appointments for "fitting" and pick up, - which, more often than not, (like with Carpenters and Mechanics), were NOT honored, the first 2, 3 or even 5 times!
SALAMANDA-clad, Mrs. Elizabeth Efeti MBIWAN nee MBONGO (RIP), with her treadle sewing machine behind her - and a glimpse of the family's BLAUPUNKT Radiogram to the far right! GRAND MESSA, YAOUNDE, 1975
Her last 2 daughters sporting 2 of a countless number of her "one kind" creations!!
INDIAN SLIPPERS were also quite popular in the 60s and 70s.
CLOTH DIAPERS (NAPKINS)
GUIGOZ BABY MILK. The Contents were just as valuable as the "NGONG-NGONG" (Container) which was often a makeshift "receptacle" for ACHU SOUP and its "particulars".
ENEMA "paraphernalia" Remedy for Infant Colic.
Cough Syrup CASTOR OIL "Tasteless & Odorless"?? Na lie dat oh! GLYCERINE Used to prevent rough, dry, itchy skin
Match Sticks and String: 2 things believed to stop a baby's HICCUPS when placed in and on their head (respectively)!
Daraprim: "The Sunday-Sunday Merecine" (To prevent Malaria!) Aturgyl: Nose Decongestant Vermox & Antepar: Worm Medecine
BITTER Nivaquine (For Malaria)
Panadol: Pain killer Fansidar: Malaria Treatment
Chewing Sticks Vitamin syrup
Hot Water Bottle (Great for Menstrual Cramps)
ITEMS that went into the treatment of a "B.B.C.", as in, "BOLINGO BONE CUT"
The ravages of the TUMBU FLY!! (Eeeeeesh!)
WHITLOW! VACCINATION "GUN" Vaccination Scar aka "MUKELE", usually on the left arm!
Sore Throat LOZENGES (Pastilles)
Of 2 Things, I am pretty certain: 1. That I am not the only child who asked her mother how she could be expected to SWALLOW a "tablet" this big. 2. That I am not the only one who was HORRIFIED at the answer/explanation that was given!!
"C.C.C. SOAP" aka "SAVON"
Mosquito Repellent Coil
CAMPHOR BALLS (Used for storage)
"Imperial LEATHER" not-o leather oh! Na SOAP! "COCO SOAP" Quite the "Hair Relaxer!! DETERGENTS & BLEACH
As I explained to my children,these are certainly NOT "weird big teacups with lids" but "CHAMBER POTS" , aka "PISS POTS" (excuse my French oh!)
"MASEPU" (Used to combat Constipation and Gastritis) "FEVER GRASS" (Used to reduce fever)
Old Fashioned Toilet System with pull down CHAIN for flushing. In my day, it is Tomato Paste Cans (with the lids taken out on both ends) that were used to hold the brooms together, at their base! DETTOL - IN A TIN! "EYE BAMBOO" BROOMS (Depending on the state of the area to be swept, you may have had to "water" it, before the sweeping, to avoid raising too much dust!) BOTTLE OPENER
"PEPPER STONE" (Before the "Moulinexes" and blenders arrived!)
MORTAR & PESTLE
Tobacco Tin, the likes of which would be used later to "measure" garri in the market! FOOD FLASKS! What a Welcome Sight on Visiting Sunday during one's SBC days! "KONTRI" GRATER
HOME SWEET HOME!
MACRAMÉ Flower Pot Holders, CROSS STITCH & CROCHET Table Runners and Back Rests, CANE CHAIRS ... practically every home had them at one time!
Very Popular Quote that hung framed on the walls of many a home, mine included!
They may look ridiculous now, but Cassette Players, Rotary Phones, Typewriters, Grandfather/Cuckoo Clocks and Polaroid Cameras were "it" back in the day!
Your cassette was bound to "wrap" at some point, or the Rewind or Fast Forward buttons would get stuck. That is when you'd invariably discover that your BIC ball point pen was not designed only for writing! Some "Senior Service" Kitchens had Kerosene Stoves, Water Filters with a Tap, and Table Top Egusi and & Ground nut Grinders! Of course, "STRANGERS", (guests), would stop by to visit, and except you wanted your "news" as the most "kontoh" person in town to "waka", you offered them "mimbo", which meant a trip to the nearest "off license" by the "boy-boy" or some of us the "lass cocos" in the family, after the strangers' "CHOICES" had been asked! "Cover Beer" collection was quite a fad! Should note that, if the stranger was a "Big Man", (a term that has NOTHING to do with physical size btw), they got served "Johnny Waka", Campari, Martini, Bailey's Irish Cream, Dry Gin or some other "spirit" from the household "Liquor Cabinet"!
"TREATS" that were a delight to have and that were worth getting labelled "BEG-BEG" for, could be anything from "Peppermint", "Cabin", "Marie Biscuit", or "Buttah Scotch", to good old "BLOCKADE" - plain, (as in, "empty"), or "upgraded" with "grahnut", CHOCOLATÉ, PÂTÉ, BLUE BAND, PIM or CLEMATIS margarine. If these items were added to a "baguette", that of course, moved the "snack" up to "PAIN CHARGÉ" status!
... LET THE GAMES - AND CHEATING , BEGIN!!!
... And BOY! Did "people" CHEAT at these games or what? Many a fight and plenty of "friend-cutting" did ensue, after someone was caught or suspected of pushing their "SEED" to avoid being swallowed by the same "mbahlock" snake for the 3rd time, not "boxing" the cards well, or of "Kicking" someone's seed "HOME" fraudulently! As for the "OPEN-EYE" displayed by "Uncles, Aunts, Big Brothers & Sisters and even Parents who bullied their way to victory ... Hmm!
Remember, "SIX!!; 2 SIX!!; 3 SIX GO HOME"??!! Most of the "playing", ("Dodging", Hide-and-Seek, Tree Climbing, etc.) , got done OUTDOORS; but those Rainy Season days would come when you were glad there were INDOOR options like LUDO, CARDS, ("BOXING", "DINNER" or "JAMES BOND"), SNAKES & LADDERS and "DRAFT" (a la Cover-Beer!), etc.
OUR GARDENS & HEDGES...
Petunias, Zinnias, and Orchids may have been the preserve of the real "Green Thumbs" and Botanists but Marigolds, Bougainvillea, Ixora, Cocks Comb, Hibiscus Roses and Sun flowers were pretty common! So also was the fascinating Mimosa plant which "closed" its leaves at the slightest touch!