Monday, January 20, 2020
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The Dimming Lights, The Fallen Curtains 

By Peter Essoka

The theatre of life is so huge; each one of us is like a speck in the attending audience. We may not be the best players in the drama of life. But remember that each part we play is important in its own way.

When the theatre lights dim, and the curtains fall, we all know the drama is over and we are homeward bound. No matter how excited we were, having watched the drama; we are bound to leave the hall. The game is over.

I know the reactions of those fanatics in theatre acts. They would want an “encore” for a beautifully acted play. But there is always an end to everything. For all of life is ephemeral. It comes and goes. There are entrances and there are exits. As you came, so must you go. The things of mortality are not eternal. But when you get transformed to the immortal, you know you have gained eternity.

Life is short and that we all know. But how do we approach the shortness of our lives? Some will want to live it with all its flamboyance. Others will want to be conservative or reserved. Many will want to be noticed in their notoriety. Others will want to be effaced. Life has its many facets and each one of us fits into one of those areas.

No matter where you fit, the drama will be over. The lights will dim and the curtains will fall. The hall will empty because we all shall park out of it.

I have chosen to talk about the packing out of life. I am concentrating my interest on those who made a name in the profession that I love so well-Journalism. Its nobility makes me proud. But when I hear or see some of us treat it dishonorably, I feel like tearing down the walls of Jericho to rebuild the city. I hurt when I remember some of those who made the profession in Cameroon an envious one. Those barons of yesterday whose voices sounded and resounded to instill sanity to a society that was at the verge of its demise. I think of them as they bellowed out messages of hope in very refined voices and impeccable English.


I have talked about Henry Neba-Fabs. His light dimmed and the drama was over for him. Of course, that name must have sounded strange because he was of the old school.

Perhaps the more recent departures may mean more to the younger generations. I think of Ebssy Ngum, Luke Ananga. I think of George Tanni, Henri Bandolo, Jenkins Mote. I think of Akwanka Joe Ndifor, of Anne Nsang .I think of them for the role they played together with many others the likes of Ben Berka Njovens, Shu Fontem, Sammy Anguh, to build or create a certain atmosphere of hope for a better tomorrow. They were critical but not insulting. They gave directions with cautions .They were dedicated to a cause and they lived not so much in affluence but with a purpose to play an indelible part in nation building.

Yes, I think of the most recent of that breed-Sam-Nuvala Fonkem, the man with an embellished voice of gold. Tall and dark, Sam had an imposing personality. You could never have missed him in the crowd. And when he spoke, it was like the rumbling of thunder. He was fearless. He was articulate. He was a perfectionist in the execution of his duties.

He was respectful and humble, especially to his seniors like me. I do not claim that he was perfect. He had many potholes in his life; those things that made him live almost like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. But in all, he was a fine man, a gentleman with a wonderful and contagious smile.

But even for him too, the lights have dimmed and the curtain has fallen. That Sam should be in a freezer languishing in its coldness with the dead is the mystery of life. The profession is losing its barons and the best. But as someone wrote to me:

“Before the golden sun rises, before the beautiful birds start chanting melodious rhymes, before you wake up and start feeding yourself with the fresh cold and promising breeze of the morning, let me be the first to welcome you to a bright new day of excitement and hope.” I tell you even when the lights dim and the curtains fall, there is always hope.