Paddy Ezeala - Lagos, Nigeria
I am a Nigerian friend of Bate Besong. I met him in early 1990s at the University of Calabar in the house of Ada Ugah, a Nigerian literary scholar and prolific bilingual writer. Professor Ugah, my former teacher, himself died in a similar circumstance two years ago. Besong had returned to complete his Ph.D while I was rounding up my Masters programme.
My heart bleeds at the moment about this very sad news I picked up this morning in today's edition of
the Guardian newspaper in Nigeria. Africa has lost a thinker and a scholar.
Dr Besong was a literary icon; a scholar and torch bearer of vaulting stature whose versatility and depth
were at once overwhelming and overawing. He was a transboundary political activist and whistle blower of uncommon courage forthrightness and fecundity. Not withstanding the obscurantism often ascribed to his works, his literary pellets have often shaken the rafters of power while his style has no doubt enriched the African literary landscape paradoxically to the delight and challenge of literary intelligentsia of all hues.
When the names of standard bearers in Africa's cultural renaissance are mentioned, Bate Besong's name
will not be missing. His name will also be among the contributors to the emergence, whenever, of a new
Cameroonian society anchored on egalitarianism in the real sense of the word.
Good night, dear friend.
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