Musician rekindles interest in Cameroon independence hero killed by France


Ruben Um Nyobè is a symbolic figure in the story of anti-colonial resistance in Africa. A champion of independence in his native Cameroon, Nyobè was killed by the French army in 1958 after which France and its local allies sought to wipe him from the country's collective memory. In his latest album Cameroon musician Blick Bassy pays homage to Ruben Um Nyobè, his achievements and his personal struggle in an attempt to spark new interest in his life and writings. Fanny Pigeaud reports.

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For several decades in his native Cameroon, it was impossible to utter Ruben Um Nyobè's name in public without risking arrest and imprisonment. Even in recent years the authorities in the West African country have not organised any official recognition or tribute to this symbol of the national struggle for independence. Now, in a bid to re-awaken people's memories and awareness, the Cameroonian musician Blick Bassy has paid homage to Ruben Um Nyobè in his fourth album, which is entitled 1958 after the year in which this major figure in Cameroonian independence was killed by the French colonial army.