Their Champagne Party Will End!
Poems in Honor of Bate Besong
edited by Joyce Ashuntantang, Dibussi Tande
Bate Besong was Cameroon’s most vocal and controversial poet, playwright and scholar, who died in March 2007. The poems in this collection are a tribute to the man and his work, and provide a snapshot of the mood that prevailed after his death. Bate Besong ushered in a new kind of nationalist “fighting” literature in Cameroon, unapologetic in its defense of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority and scathing in its denunciation of postcolonial African dictators and their foreign collaborators. These poems defy Bate Besong’s death by affirming that his impact as a writer lives on. 34 poems are included from 30 poets.
“Moving and tellingly generous, these tributes attest to the value of Bate Besong as humanist, artist, and patriot; the ‘Inextinguishable Flame’ of his inspiration; the triumph of his life over the pain of his departure. Here is a resonant celebration not only of the brief but boisterously bright fire of one of our bravest writers, but also of the unbreakable chord of our common humanity. The refrains in these elegies are anthems of hope. The ink in their lines will for ever stay aglow.” Niyi Osundare
“These poems put into perspective the essence of that Anglophone Cameroon literary icon, the fearless “Obasinjom Warrior” with the bemused smile, who once upon a time, was called Bate Besong.” Ba’bila Mutia, Professor of Literature, ENS, University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon
Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang, actress, screen writer, film producer and poet, is a major force in contemporary Anglophone Cameroonian culture. As a founding member of Cameroon Flame Players and member of Yaoundé University Theater, she starred in numerous stage and TV plays. Her full length film, Potent Secrets (2001), is an undisputable milestone in Cameroon’s film industry. Her awards include, The Spirit of Detroit Award from the Mayor of Detroit, 1987, Cameroon Cultural Festival Awards 1989 and 1994, Outstanding Women in Action Award, Cameroon, 2002, and MOHWA ‘‘women making a difference’’ Award, 2010. Dr. Ashuntantang earned a BA in Modern English Studies from the University of Yaoundé, A Masters in Library and information Science from the University College of Wales, U.K., an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from the City University of New York. She is the author of Landscaping Postcoloniality: the Dissemination of Cameroon Anglophone Literature, and the CEO/founder of EduART INC, a non-profit organization created to promote art as a medium for social change. She is currently a professor of English and African Literature at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Visit Joyce's blog here.Dibussi Tande
Dibussi Tande was born in 1968 in Buea, Cameroon. He obtained a “Licence” in Public law (1989) and a “Maitrise” in Political Science (1990) from the University of Yaounde. He also holds Masters degrees in Political Science and Instructional Technology from Northeastern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University respectively. Before moving to the United States in 1993, he wrote for a host of leading Cameroonian newspapers. He was also an associate editor for Cameroon Today and Cameroon Life Magazine. He currently produces the leading Cameroonian blog, Scribbles from the Den, and writes for a variety of print and online journals. His poems have been published in several anthologies.