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Ambroise Mbia Celebrates 50 Years Of Comedy 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai — Comedian, Ambroise Mbia, is celebrating 50 years as a comedian.
A reference in African theatre, Mbia started stage performances on June 27, to mark the half a century of his career.

He commenced the performances at the French Institute in Yaounde, with a play titled: “La Femme et Le Colonel,” written by Congolese Emmanuel Dongala. The stage performances, to go on in Yaounde till June 29, will run at the Douala French Institute from July 11 to 13 and culminate in a national tour that would take him to Buea, Bafoussam, Foumban, Bamenda, Bertoua, Ngaoundere, Garoua and Maroua.

At a press briefing on June 22, at the headquarters of the Copyright for Literature and Dramatic Arts, SOCILADRA, in Yaounde,  Mbia said when his father sent him to study Agriculture in France, he changed his mind and in 1962, Jean Louis Barrault, then Director of l’Odéon-Théatre de Paris-France, received him as a young student of the National Higher School of Arts and Theatre Techniques.

He said 50 years down the line, he has played the role of a stage manager, cultural administrator, artistic director and cultural operator. Mbia has to his credit 15 cinematographic films, 28 televisions films and 58 theatre pieces. He has equally stage-managed 48 performances as well as produced over 300 theatre pieces for the radio.

Ambroise also talked of the World Festival of African Negro Arts in Lagos in 1977 where he was the Secretary General and organiser. Other positions he has held include President of the African Regional Council of the [UNESCO] International Institute of Theatre, jury member of several international festivals and board member of many cultural outfits across Africa.

Mbia was decorated Chevalier of National Order of Valour in Cameroon, Chevalier of National Order of Merit in France and Chevalier of Arts, Letters and Communication in Burkina Faso, amongst others. Mbia boasted of having trained renowned Cameroonian comedians such as Daniel Ndo, late Essindi Mindjia and Jean Michel Kankan.

He told reporters that the arts and culture domain is a difficult one across the Africa continent and that such difficulties helped him to forge ahead. He said has no regret for having chosen comedy as a career. Vangdar Dorsouma from Chad, who is stage managing the performances alongside Cameroonian-born Elise Mballa Meka, said Ambroise’s 50-year career is a tribute not only to Cameroon but to the whole of Africa.

He referred to Mbia as a baobab who has succeeded in carrying on the flame of African theatre for 50 years. He urged the population and artists in particular to massively attend the event. Ms. Florisse Adjanohoun from Benin, who plays the role of “La Femme,” while Mbia is “Le Colonel,” in the play, said she was publicly hailing Mbia for demonstrating tenacity and love for theatre, a sector facing all sort of difficulties.

“Ambroise has succeeded over the years to bring together several generations around theatre,” Florisse stated. She said the woman in the play fosters peace and concord in society, an ingredient that is at the base of development of every nation.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01354

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