On March 8, 2007, one of Cameroon’s foremost scholars died in a ghastly traffic accident barely hours after launching his most forthright and acerbic collection of poems: Disgrace: Autobiographical Narcissus. Dr. Bate Besong was a social activist, a critic, troubadour, and playwright; an avant-garde, steeped in the tradition of the absurd, who fought against the corrupt system of governance that transmuted Cameroonians into a comatose and apathetic citizenry neutered by fear engendered by the workings of an existing Gestapo.
For the first time, Emmanuel Fru Doh has gone beyond an analysis of Besong’s plays into giving an in-depth appraisal of his poems which have, for a long time, held back critics because of their opacity. Doh examines each of Besong’s plays and collections of poems in separate sections and succeeds in setting Besong’s work in perspective-mindful of their concerns and the nation’s history-as informed by a succinct political vision and an already established technique modified only by genre. The Obasinjom Warrior, which amounts to a brief look at the scholar’s life and a detailed study of his works, is a befitting tribute to a true patriot and scholar who died fighting the forces of evil, in positions of power, which have transformed his native Cameroon into a province of hell. This is a careful, detailed, and authoritative study of one of the most significant literary figures ever to emerge from Cameroon.
ISBN 9789956792016 | 230 pages | 229 x 152mm | 2014 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback