A change in attitude among the Bassa of Victoria began during the Second World War and has continued ever since. A new breed of Bassa children, markedly different from their parents and forebears, were born during this period of dramatic change [...] Among these new breed of Bassa ba Limbe were such luminaries as Messrs Martin Ntamack and John Etame, both first-rate diplomats who served their country with distinction;Dr. Peter Y. Ntamack, Dr. Peter Mase Momha, Dr. Lawrence Francis Biaka and, in Buea, Dr. Martin Z. Njeuma. Peter Ntamack was a professor of law at the University of Yaounde and contributed to the establishment of the Faculty of Law and Economics at Cameroon´s first university. As its first dean, Dr. Ntamack trained some of Cameroon´s leading lawyers and administrators. He served Cameroon throughout his entire career but never rose above the position of dean.
, an economist, grew up as a neighbor of Dr. Ntamack at Half Mile on the opposite side of Rainbow Chemist. Mase returned to Cameroon in the 1970s with the intention of establishing Yoho!, a soft-drink brewing company, and other businesses [...]
Perhaps the most successful Bassa of Limbe is Dr. Francis Lawrence Biaka. [...] A physician by training and profession, Dr. Biaka was able to save enough money working in Britain and Cameroon and this enabled him to invest in the construction of one of the finest medical centers in the South West Province -- St. Veronica´s Medical Center, with a Nursing School, in the foothills of the Fako Mountain in Buea. Dr. Biaka named his medical center after his mother -- Mrs. Veronica Biaka.
Dr. Martin Njeuma was the maternal grandson of Chief Kuva Likenye [...] Dr. Njeuma played a leading role in the establishment of the faculties of arts at both the University of Yaounde and the University of Buea, serving both institutions as dean of the faculty of arts. Although he was recognized as one of the finest historians in the country, Dr. Njeuma, like Dr. Ntamack, could only rise to the position of dean and no higher. A common denominator linked these outstanding professors: both were Anglophone Bassaand thus were deemed as outsiders and denied the opportunity to serve their country with the best of their abilities.
Two other prominent Bassa ba Victoria who excelled in business were Mr. Camilius Hongla and Mr. James Mahop. Both of these men were very close friends, born and bred in Victoria, and received their training at Ombe Technical College in Cameroon and the Yaba Institute of Technology in Nigeria. Upon completion of their studies in Nigeria, they returned to Cameroon and jointly established a Radio repair shop along Church Street in Victoria. They were also contracted by Powercam, the local state-owned electricity company, to do some installation work. Their joint enterprise did exceptionally well but they eventually separated. Mahop established Mahop Electrical Company and Hongla Pan Electric Enterprises, Ltd. Both businesses grew to be very lucrative. Most of the electricians in English-speaking Cameroon were apprenticed to and received their training from Mahop Electrical Company and Pan Electric Enterprises. The electrification of West Cameroon, from Victoria Division on the coast to the remote hinterlands of Nkambe Division, was executed by Pan Electricand Mahop Electrical. "
Adapted from Bassa Antiquity in Contemporary Limbe, authored by Emmanuel Konde, Albany (GA), PyramidHouse, 2010, pages 125-126.
By Professor Emmanuel Konde
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