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O’Sam Was Loyal, Supportive Of His Friends To A Fault 

It was with shock and immense sadness that Jacquie and I learnt of the passing of a special friend.In his last email mail to me dated September 30th, 2015, he informed me that his “health went haywire again after (he) returned to Buea from (his) daughter’s graduation in London..”,  but he was optimistic that his condition would improve.

I first met O’Sam in the early 1960s when his father was transferred to Kumba. Wallace Divine and I were classmates at the Government Practicing School near the Kumba Market, while he was at Basel Mission Boys School, Kumba Town. The three of us would spend some of our break and closing time together at the Old Nfon’s Palace, plucking succulent plums when no one was watching and throwing stones at the ferocious crocodiles my grandfather kept in the royal grounds.We also used to spend hours exploring Kumba market together: it is there that he learnt his first musical instrument, the Harmonica, and developed a liking for the Nigerian highlife sounds of the likes of Cardinal Rex Lawson.He went to CPC Bali with Wallace, while I went to Sasse College, but he never forgot our K-Town bond and we spent many exciting holidays together in Victoria (Limbe), during which he displayed his musical talent.Even in those early days, he stood out for his charisma, his loyalty to friends, his warmth, his quick wit, his generosity of spirit,his amazing voice, and his courage.

Whenever we met, it was always intellectually invigorating listening to O’Sam’s penetrating criticism and insightful comments about the state of affairs in our country.He was a patriot and loved Cameroon. He had a wonderful encyclopaedic knowledge of Cameroonian politics and his analysis was often full of historical anecdotes and frequently enlivened, though never compromised, by personal acquaintance with key political actors of post-independence Cameroon era. I remember how O’Sam thrilled my father by quoting an excerpt of his historic speech from the floor of the Nigeria House of Representatives in 1957. It was on this occasion that he encouraged my father to write his Memoirs, and Wallace concurred.

I remember, with much admiration, O’Sam’s intellectual courage and the sacrifices he made in the 1980s and early 1990s to uphold a high standard of objective and illuminating journalism. His deconstruction of the distortions and lies of the Government’s propaganda at the time was a breath of fresh air and a beacon of hope. It was evident he had always been in a class of his own- selfless, disinterested, and untainted by parochialism, hypocrisy, falsehoods, and cowardice. We were so happy that he succeeded in publishing his book: “Snapshots: An X-ray of Cameroon’s Democracy, Governance, and Unification”, as it provides a gold standard for young aspiring journalists. It also, rightly, immortalizes his writings and conserves his footprints in the sands of time.

Many knew him through his broadcasting journalism, but few knew of the extent of his magnanimity and goodness. He was loyal and supportive to his friends to a fault.

O’Sam also loved his family, journalism and Jazz. During his last days in Abidjan, when we were not discussing the future of Cameroon, he would talk about the importance of friendship and the untold kindness of his childhood friend, Wallace, in the same breath as he would reminisce about his love for his wife, Immaculate, and his debt of gratitude to her, as well as his love and pride for his Children. He considered her the real pillar of his resilience. Of her he said: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies…” (Proverbs 31:10-28)

O’Sam, we will miss you sorely.

Diko & Jacquie Mukete

Abidjan.

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