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Cameroonian Leaps Into Reggae Spotlight In South Africa 

By Azore Opio — It was ultimately a leap of faith and imagination for Cameroonian-born Anye Kitcha Asongwe aka Ankias Vallyman, when he jammed at one international concert in 2010 in Bassline, South Africa. Ankias claims three albums and over thirty songs in the market.

After fate seemed to have thrown up obstacles at every turn in Anye’s life, luck started smiling at him more brightly when he landed in Johannesburg in May 2010. “It was a hard road before late Lucky Dube’s mentor and promoter, Richard Siluma alias Saggy Saggila, noticed me. He recorded and started promoting me,” Ankias told The Post. Behind Ankias’ rise to international reggae reputation are some Cameroonian mentors.

He said: “Dr. Richard Fru saw talent in me and said to me I had a bright future in music. He supported me in everything; financial and moral.” “In South Africa, some Cameroonians helped me to form a band. Venatius Njoh, who teaches at a university in Johannesburg, aided me a lot,” Ankias said. It is no surprise Ankias is now jamming reggae with Lucky Dube’s band and other reggae greats in South Africa.

It is all the more impressive since Ankias’ father disapproved of his obsession with music and dreamed of him becoming a medical doctor. “I was a Science student in high school and my father wanted me to become a doctor. When I demonstrated too much love for music, he wanted to disown me. He stopped paying my school fees.

My mother was on my side and I started hawking toilet tissue, selling books at the Bamenda Main Market. I even did photocopying to fend for myself in secondary school,” said Ankias. Ankias cut his musical teeth playing reggae music in cabarets, won a prize with Guinness Cameroon and advertised a Guinness brand, Jaika in 1999. Ankias was born in Mankon, Bamenda in the Northwest Region.

He did his primary years at GS Ntingkag, then went on to Nacho Comprehensive College still in Bamenda where he did music as a subject and was subsequently inspired by the Nacho Band and Royal Jacket. Ankias would go on to PCHS Mankon for his Advanced Levels and late to study Philosophy in Nigeria. Founder of Reggae International Movement Society (RIMS), Ankias believes in the roots of Africa, “and the destiny of Africa is in the hands of Africans.”

“My fight is against disguised forms of slavery and the end of falsehood, high-level corruption and other human vices,” Ankias told The Post. In December this year, the reggae artist will be bringing to Cameroon the African International Reggae Festival with the Lucky Dube band. “Cameroon is ripe for reggae music as a religion for emancipation,” says Ankias, “and remember, reggae and hemp are two different things.

First published in The Post print edition no 01910

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