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Iconic Sports Journalist, Zachary Nkwo, Laid To Rest 

By Basil K Mbuye

The iconic veteran journalist, considered to be Cameroon’s greatest sports journalist/commentator of all times, Zachary Tokoto Nkwo, was laid to rest on Saturday, August 5, at Camp SIC Buea in a strict family intimacy.

Zachary Nkwo died on June 4 at the age of 69 after being hospitalised for 10 days.
The burial was attended by hundreds of mourners, including some top officials, family members, friends, former colleagues, sports journalists, among others.
The remains of the veteran journalist were put to earth under a fine rain.

After the removal of the corpse from the Buea Regional Hospital morgue, a brief stop was made at Bokwaongo for mourners to view the remains of the iconic sports commentator, as they paid their last respects to him.
After a stop at Bokwango, the next destination was the St. Peter and Paul Parish in Molyko for the requiem mass.

The requiem mass was said by Bishops George Nkuo of Kumbo Diocese and Andrew Fuanya Nkea of the Mamfe Diocese.
In his homily, the Bishop of Mamfé, Mgr. Andrew Nkea, exhorted the audience to seek more the kingdom of heaven.

Representing the President of FECAFOOT was Senator Mbella Moki, who urged all to see that the legacy left behind by the iconic journalist should be sustained.
Despite the smooth funeral programme that saw one of Cameroon’s greatest sports commentator buried, many have raised numerous questions.

Many are wondering why Uncle Zack, as he was fondly called, was not decorated posthumously as it is always the case when people who did great jobs for their countries die. No delegation was received from either the Ministry of Sports or that of Communication; two ministries Uncle Zack contributed enormously to during his time with CRTV.

Also, notably, were the absences of former footballers, colleagues, among others.
Uncle Zack was at the zenith of his career in the 70s and 80s, and had been a source of inspiration to many young journalists who were captivated by his commentaries.

During his career that spanned over a decade, the vibrant sports commentator thrilled listeners of Radio Cameroon with his yet-to-be rivalled sports reporting histrionics. He was noted for painting pictures of actions on the pitch as he was the eyes and ears of the Cameroonian public for many sports events at a time when television screens were not common.

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Zachary Nkwo Was My Mentor

Zachary Nkwo was my mentor, because, when I went to college in 1965, he was in form 4. There was a journalism club at the school (Saint Joseph’s College); Zachary and Epie Ngome were those at the pinnacle of the club. I was in charge of publications in the school which pushed me into the profession. When we were in the university, we were still very close, because, he was my ‘big’ when we were in Sasse. So, the relationship continued up to the university and after.

When I was working with Radio Cameroon Buea, he broke a jinx because it was generally known that only reporters of the national radio station could cover international matches. Thanks to him, reporters from the then Provinces could go out for international matches. He took me and a host of others. He started putting us on international assignments which created a platform and brought in so much pressure and competition. I think this is one of the things I will always remember him for. We also worked together and we were also like one family, standing by each other. His vocabulary reigns among sports reporters in Cameroon. Someone very close to me is gone.

Veteran Journalist, Njomo Kevin

His Departure Is Abrupt

The departure of Zachary Nkwo is a serious blow to the journalism family in Cameroon, especially sports reporters, because, this is somebody I can describe as being part of an endangered species. This is because it is difficult to find someone like him around. We all copied from him but we are not so sure that we can do the same thing like him for others coming behind us can to copy. So, his departure is an abrupt stop in what could have been a viable continuity.

Senior Sports Journalist, Fon Echekiye

He Was Such A Lively Fellow On Microphone

It never crossed my mind before it happened that Zachary Nkwo could even die. He was such a lively fellow on the microphone that at the back of your mind, death was never a thought. I am so sad and I am tempted to say, at 69, his sunset is coming virtually at noon. What a loss. What is left for us to do as journalists who are in the world of sports is to work in his line and even try to do better than he did, given the context in which he lived. His career was at a time when there was monopoly and today, with the plurality of the media, the challenge is even enormous. Fitting in the shoes of Zachary Nkwo is very difficult. It is so disheartening seeing him go at such a time, because, we needed him for advice, inspiration and all the encouragement that the challenges in the times do need.

Sports Journalist, Njie Mbonde Albert

His Voice Made The Difference

As great as he was, he was very humble. We should learn from his humility. He would be remembered when they were no televisions, when we had only radios. He will say: “goooaaaaal” and, after, he will say: “am sorry, the ball went some 50 metres over the goal post.” I think that he will be remembered differently by everybody. He is one of those people whose voices made the difference.

Limbe I Mayor, Rodanny Mbua Mokako


He Constructed A Very Huge Legacy For Us

It is a very big lost for us and you can understand that on the other hand, we are very grateful to God that he gave us someone like Zachary Nkwo. He constructed a very huge legacy for us and the duty we have now is to hold that legacy, sustain and keep it so that Zachary Nkwo, the hero, never dies. We share in the loss and our hearts and feelings are with the family.

The President of FECAFOOT, Mr. Tombi A Roko, sent a special message to the family and asked me to be present at all the stages of the funeral as a way of honouring his contributions to the development of football in the country.

Senator Mbella Moki

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