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Pa Kange Bender Celebrates 90 Years 

By Ernest Sumelong

Glowing with the youthfulness of a 60-year-old, Pa Kange Carl Bender Jackai, fondly called the "Living Encyclopaedia of Great Soppo Native Buea", flanked by his children and grandchildren, celebrated his 90th birthday recently in pomp and pageantry.

Though at the threshold of 100, his children said they could not wait till then to celebrate. According to them, the moment was ripe to show their appreciation to God and to their father for his life while he is still alive.

Thus, on Sunday, May 31, 2009, the Kange family invited relations and friends to celebrate the birthday of the second oldest men in Great Soppo Native, Pa Kange. They maintained that they were not just celebrating his contributions to their lives as children but also his input in the Great Soppo Native community.

The anniversary celebration kicked off with a worship service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Great Soppo Buea, while the party took place at the Catholic Church Hall Lower Farms, Buea.
Guests from the length and breadth of the country were on hand to give the occasion its deserved importance.

Among the numerous guests were the Mayor of Limbe I Council, Daniel Matute, the ELECAM member, Dr. Mrs. Dorothy Njeuma, retired Commissioner Henry Lyonga, senior citizen and pioneer Anglophone Chartered Accountant, Mola Njoh Litumbe, and a representative sent by the Minister of Culture, Ama Tutu Muna, etc. Besides being emceed by Kevin Njomo, the popular "Old Timers master", the Old Timers Band and a traditional choir, Wana Wa Ndolo, graced the occasion.

Bio-data

Born in 1919, Pa Kange was named after the second pioneer Baptist missionary of Great Soppo, Carl Jacob Bender. From 1939-40, he was employed as a vernacular teacher by the German Baptist Mission, while from 1943-44 the Cameroon Baptist Mission employed him as a probationary teacher.

After he was trained at the Government Teacher Training College Kumba from 1949-50, he also received training as a Rural Science teacher. Then, he served in different areas before he joined the Government Civil Service as a Community Development Assistant in the then Ministry of Corporative and Community Development in charge of Victoria Division, now Fako.

In September 1965, Pa Kange was granted a travel study tour to America by the American Peace Corps Programme and also an agricultural training in Porto-Rico in West Indices and an additional five months was given him by the Agency for International Development (AID) to carry out related studies with some American Universities.

At the end of the training, he returned to Cameroon and led a team of Operation Cross Roads Africa, a group of American volunteers for three months. Pa Kange became the pioneer instructor at the Community

Development training Centre in Kumba, with the late G.F Tange as pioneer Principal.
In 1969, the United Nations sponsored him for three months for a guided tour to study the famous Ujamma Community Development Resettlement Scheme for Community Development in Tanzania.

In 1970, Pa Kange was selected as a student in the 2nd batch of the Pan African institute for Development – West Africa (PAID-WA) for a Diploma course in Community Development. Following his training at PAID-WA, Pa would later be promoted to Assistant Community Development officer in the Civil Service.

In 1975, Pa Kange initiated the coming of the first black American Religious Programme in Cameroon known as the National Baptist Convention of America. The programme would end ten years later with the opening of the Ducas-Luke Health Centre in Lysoka. From 1977 to his retirement in 1987, Pa Kange served as Divisional Chief of Service for Community Development Manyu, Director of the Community Education and Action centre in Ekona and the Divisional Chief for Community Development Fako.

Following his retirement, Pa Kange has been nicknamed "Project Man", since according to his children he is always engaged in one project or the other. As a family man, Pa Kange has five surviving children and 13 grand children. His children confess that the old man likes singing, story telling and jokes and that he serves as adviser in all village administrative structures.

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