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Simply said, i am big at what i do, believe in, and who I am...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cameroonian Tradition "Born House"

Baby in the arms of an elderly lady.

Baby Passed around for viewing

Palm oil and salt, shared to guests while singing songs for Love, peace and prosperity in the Baby's family.

Singing and dancing

Baby reunites with mother

Baby and mother, happily ever after

Do you have any clue what your tradition is? What is tradition anyway? There could be a thousand definitions, one of them i picked up on the internet said: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)

I have been inspired by a recent event i attended called in one of my local languages (pidgin English) "Born House". Simply put, this is an event where, when a woman has a baby, she invites well wishers, friends and relatives to come and see the child.

What is most interesting about this is the origins of the event. The tradition here, is that, when a baby is born, the umbilical cord is buried under a plantain sucker, when this tree grows and bears fruit, you now harvest the plantain and invite all these people to come and eat as prove that your baby is growing well and is very fruitful.

The baby is first passed around for everyone to place a hand as a sign of blessing, and to have a close look at the baby. Then salt and oil is passed around for every one to have a taste while wishing, love, peace and prosperity to the baby's family. There after, there will be singing and dancing in jubilation of the child's life, in thanksgiving for the child's parents and in hope for an outstanding future.

The well prepared pot of plantain is then shared to everyone present, every single person present must taste of the food as a sign of a prosperous life for the baby.

Most of the talking is done by elderly women of the family with experience in child birth.

If you know of a similar tradition, please share with us.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Dream Just Came True - Think It Till You Make It!

Life will blow us to different opportunities, places and visions on the globe, but dreams, passions and relationships bring us together. Remember, you don't need to have it all figured out, you just need to have passion for whatever it is you do at every point in time, with a realisation that, "you are a child of the universe... and whether or not, it is clear to you, don't stop, cos the universe is unfolding as it should..." (Desiderata)

On the 5th of March 2011, at the Martin's Crosswinds, in the USA, a childhood relationship between two great men with a dream comes to reality. 4Jcouture is born out of pure love for fashion by Dr Fote Bertrand and out of business interest by Ernest Esunge a.k.a Dr J.

Thus: Dr Fote + Dr J = 4JCouture

Read what one of the partners had to say...

"I have liked fashion for a long time and have always been talking - albeit jokingly- of one day getting into the industry. My very good friend ( from high school back home in Cameroon - Sasse) called Lyonga a.k.a Dr J started selling shirts and suits in small scale back when he was in university back home in Cameroon. He always came to me first whenever he had new item to sell, because he understood my love for fashion.

As I finished residency and finally settled down financially and time-wise, I told Dr J he needed to get out of his basement and think big. I told him we could make our own designs and take advantage of the Internet etc and really grow big. He bought the idea and we started working towards creating a business venture. It was a perfect match - we both have the love and eye for fashion, I have a business background (MBA), he has over 15 years of experience in the industry, we have been friends since childhood.

Over the past 2 years, we have been working on building the business and trying to find ways to be unique and innovative. The website release is the first step in our marketing strategy. Our vision is to be the leading contemporary menswear company in the next 5 years. We have already been getting lots of requests from women to get into women's fashion - we just might do that in the near future."

What do you make of a business with such multiple skill? Dr Fote is says. he is a "Philosopher by birth, Psychologist by inclination, Sociologist by induction, Poet by inspiration, Engineer by instruction, Physician by training and passion" Dr J is a hard core business man with so many years of experience.Their bond is unbreakable and is now taken to another level, who can beat that?

Tickets are running out, $100 for regular tickets and $150 for VIP tickets!
Whats more? three other designers, Stand-up comedy by a famous Nigerian comedian, dinner and live music.

Lets encourage one of ours, have fun and keep walking the talk!

Look up www.4jcouture.com for the latest fashion. Upgrade your wardrobe now!

The View, My View with DC

DC: Hey sister, how are you?
Kelen: Great! Thank you.

DC: Who is Kelen? Give us an insight into your personality and your life.
Kelen: she is very daring! I am big about everything (literarily). I’ll encourage people to do just anything, all I need to be sure of is the passion you have for what you believe in, and that is pretty much how I live. I believe there is no right or wrong way of doing anything, I’ll say, “It is just how you or I do it!”

DC: You recently started a blog called Kelen for Vision Shakers. What is the idea behind this?
Kelen: Picking out a name for my blog was a challenge, because I have a bigger dream for the blog than it really is now. The challenge was to ensure continuity and consistency in the future. I shared with a very close colleague,(Arrey) and we came up with words representing my vision.
‘Kelen for Vision Shakers’ simply shows my interest and support for anyone who dares to make a difference, I feel like a bridge between the visionaries and the rest of the world. I will represent them in any way possible; I will shed light on them till they shine.

DC: You are very big on “change”. What would it take to “change” Cameroon in your opinion?
Kelen: Thank you for noting and pointing that out. Change is the one thing that is constant, yet the one thing we resist the most. However, as far as Cameroon is concerned, the change we need in my opinion is very moral, thus the need for every individual to look within his/herself and identify what they need to work on as individuals.
It is time and long overdue that Cameroonians need to start asking “what can I do for my country?” rather than what can my country do for me.

DC: How can the government deal with the brain drain syndrome? What would entice Cameroonians, young & old back to their country?
Kelen: Tricky! Depending on where you are standing or looking, this question can be tackled from different perspectives. Like I mentioned earlier, the state of the country is a hard nut to crack, but if only we can look within individually from a moral stand point, and work collectively with the same vision – (which I have to say now is already happening a lot)

I am wondering if there is something Cameroon could do as far as regional integration is concerned. We already belong to Central Africa, even though we rightfully are from West Africa, you may say I am saying this now because west Africa is prosperous, but hey! However as one of the leading countries in the Central African Region, could they ensure better regional activities and less politics and power struggle… this is for another.

The Cameroon government needs to be a little more transparent and open to the changing world. They need to simplify operations and take little things into consideration, little things like services and “feelings of people” and by people here I mean both citizens and foreigners.
I am again wondering what will be so complicated if the government could just let dual nationality be a discuss in the open, and not under the table.
I have a proposal here DC, let us take this question separately sometime during the next year, I am available for another interview… hahahaha.

DC: Let’s talk about your inspiration. What inspires Kelen?
Kelen: People, realities of life, my drive to grow and be a better person. Most of all, the will to be the difference I want to see in my community.

DC: What keeps you going and longing to accomplish things?
Kelen: The inner voice in me that keeps telling me “it can only get better”

DC: What else are you passionate about in life?
Kelen: Life itself. To live the most I can, be happy, see my family happy, watch things change for the better…

DC: Tell us about your trip to the Taj Mahal.
Kelen: It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am thankful I made the trip. Now I am not sure how many wonders there are any more in the world, cos things are changing so fast. The last time I checked, there are 8 wonders, and the Taj Mahal is now number one.
If you read the story on my blog (I don’t think it is the most accurate version) but that translates to what I saw and how I felt.
The detail in the construction, and the love story behind it, is what I will always lay emphasis on.
All I can say is, that was one of the most intense moments of my life.

DC: And the “Ubuntu” trip to Zambia. What was the mission?
Kelen: Oh my God! Did I just say the Taj Mahal was one of the intense moments of my life? No! the PanAfrican Event in Zambia was even more.
This was a forum of young leaders from all over Africa, sponsored by the UK, who came together, with all our differences, challenges, views, and values and even issues.
There was this point where we built the “wall of greatness” this wall contained the greatness of our countries. This was when we chose to forget our vices, challenges and issues and only focused on the greatness of Africa, the majesty of Africa, what we are good at, what we love and what we hope for.
This was when we allowed ourselves to live the true spirit of “UBUNTU” (brotherhood, togetherness) while dancing to the tunes of Africa.
For a minute, you could see what a great nation Africa will be if we put aside power struggle, superiority, hate, our negative past, our colonial masters and the wrong they did… you name it.
The mission was to prove that if we want a united Africa, it is a choice and it is up to us!
Two very interesting auestions came up during this forum, and I will be glad for DC to collect some answers for me.
Are leaders born? and Who is a leader?

DC: If you were to predict a “changed” vision for Cameroon’s future. What would you say?
Kelen: For a Bilingual country, in the heart of Africa and in fact ‘Africa in miniature’ it will be the first stop to Africa and the place to be in the next Generation. Who wants to give me a five on that?

DC: Thanks, and that’s it!
Kelen: Thank you very much DC, for a moment you got me talking, let me walk a little. Hahahaha!

Catch Kelen on her blog www.visionshakers.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bamenda did Rock last year, Be there!

Following the success of KiRette Couture’s Bamenda Rocks! 2009 the forward thinking label returns with an explosive second installment.

But unlike last year’s event, the upcoming spectacle will cross Bamenda’s borders to celebrate the diversity and creativity of designers from different parts of Cameroon.

“It was great to celebrate Bamenda’s contribution to our nation’s style and entertainment scenes last year. But it is also vital to honour our inextricable link with the rest of Cameroon especially as we forge a brighter future after 50 years of nationhood,” explained KC Co-founder, Anrette Ngafor.

KiRette Couture will lead Rodrig Tchatcho, Syl Anim, Tia MacRen, Nuvi Designs and Dilisous Coucou in a breathtaking catwalk to spotlight the nation’s burgeoning style scene.
Themed “grassroots explosion,” the show also has a strong economic development focus.

“We chose this theme because we have realised that genuine economic development occurs from the grassroots. Through Bamenda Rocks! we empower young, up-and-coming designers by giving them a platform for further their development,” explained Kibonen Nfi, CEO of KiRette Couture.

The event will also feature performances from hip-hop megastar, Valsero, R & B collective, BAAM, Landry Njapa (Afro Soul) and Excel (Nigerian Beats)

VIP guests will rub shoulders with the designers at an intimate pre-event wine tasting session from (5.00pm- 7.00pm) Fashion Show from 7.00pm -10.00pm and after party from 10.00pm.

But Bamenda Rocks! is more than just about style and glamour. With an impressive international portfolio of charity activities its organisers place community development at the core of their operations.

Proceeds from last year’s event were donated to the Our Lady of Fatima Handicap Centre, Bambili. This year’s show will benefit Splash Networks International “fight against cancer in Africa” is a nexus of young Cameroonians who have come together in order to inspire a progressive culture through the use of natural talents. It seeks to open a new avenue in fighting poverty, presenting a new format in gaining mental independence by the young generation, tapping the innate abilities which lie fallow in many youths and adults and to liberate society from mental stagnation and servitude


Established in 2008 by Kibonen Nfi and Anrette Ngafor, KiRette Couture is an African-inspired brand with a global footprint.

Its chic wear products are inspired by the toghu, a colourful and intricately embroidered outfit used for special occasions by the people of Cameroon’s Western Highlands region.

KC has graced several prestigious runway shows including Nigeria’s Next Super Model as one of the official designers for the event.
African Fashion Week NewYork, Fashion TV South Africa, Dressed contestants at the Lagos-based Ovation Red Carol 2009 event and London’s CamerCouture

Barely a year into its existence, the label earned a UK Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television and Arts (BEFFTA) award nomination for Best Female Designer.

Bamenda Rocks 2! will take place at the pool area, Ayaba Hotel on Saturday 26 December 2010. The event will run from 5.30pm till 10pm

Ticket prices:

Standard: CFA 10000 per person
Classic :CFA 15000 per person
VIP: CFA 25000 per person.

To purchase tickets, please contact Fichian Nfi (Cameroon) on: + 237 77 96 59 58 or email: fichon2002@yahoo.com
Glenyse Neng (Cameroon ) on + 237 77 40 19 38

Contact information

International press & media enquiries:

Cynthia Anduhtabe (UK) on tel: +44 7834 321 373 or email: camercouture@yahoo.com

Ngum Ngafor (UK) on tel: +44 7944 043 954 or email: ngum.ngafor@googlemail.com

Press & media enquiries in Cameroon:

Mirabel Nfihkela (CMR) on tel :+237 75 87 78 42 or email: mirabel1224@yahoo.com

Bertrand Tiotsop (CMR) on tel :+237 99 57 36 41 or email : bertrand_tiotsop @yahoo.fr

Travel info:
Guarantee Express from any city in Cameroon goes to BAmenda


Ayaba Hotel – CFA 30.000 excluding breakfast and food.

Mondial Hotel:
Single rooms with TV – CFA 14.500.
Double with TV - CFA 16.000.
Suite with TV - suite 22.000
Rooms with no TV - 7.500

Mansfield Hotel - CFA 18.000- CFA 30.000 excluding breakfast

Are all rooms charged at per night.

All rooms are charged at standard hotel prices.
Prices may be discounted depending if we have many people per booking they might get a discount .

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"UBUNTU' my People!

At the Pan African event

Posing with the East African guys

Senegal represented

South Africa in the mix

Cameroonians in colour

East African girls

Presenting "Africa in Miniature" (Cameroon) to the Zambian President (Banda)

In an effort to be as close to Kenneth Kaunda as possible

Representing Cameroon in a Pan-African invent in Zambia was an opportunity for me to be exposed to the idea of expressing myself with my culture, focus on what we have as Africans, what works in Africa and how to create a united Africa.

"UBUNTU" (Brotherhood, Togetherness) was the theme of the Pan-African event, and to me it says it all. It is time for Africa and Africans to realise that, the spirit of "UBUNTU" is what we need to break the barriers and be one.

The barriers i am talking about are not necessarily physical, we sure need the physical for naming purposes, for order and for consistency. The barriers i am talking about are mental, appreciating the difference in each and everyone of us,using what we have (riches) to get what we want (development).

It is important for us to explore our differences by expressing our selves. The kind of expression i am talking about, is being proud of where we come from and where we want to go. The kind of expression i am talking about here is more cultural than verbal.

We need commitment from within in every endeavour we undertake, courageous as ever, be creative and move from the steriotypes. Be curious enough to move from one level to the other, and to move from our comfort zones by being the changes we want to see in our world. Most important of all these to me, and i know i am repeating it, is - to contribute to the development of Africa by appreciating our differences.

When we successfully appreciate differences in people, cultures, ideas, rules... we start loving our selves and focus on improving rather than criticising.

The Pan-African event was a time to celebrate our continent, it's past, present and future leaders. We met great minds like Kenneth Kaunda (KK)- first president of Zambia, Today's president of Zambia - Rupiah Banda, top class young business men, breaking grounds in the most difficult economies like Zimbabwe and most important the future leaders of Africa in attendance, to talk around pertinent issues in our continent, and brainstorming on how to tackle challenges in our different communities.

"Vision Shaker" joins you today as you bring on your passion, and encourages you to push forward, and don't hold back, believing in yourself honestly from within.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Are you better off staying in Africa/Asia?

Is it still worth migrating abroad for better opportunities?
We all watch the news I guess, and are very aware of the economic situation around the world. We probably know someone or people who have lost their jobs, or have moved to other jobs as a result of the economic crisis.

If we belong to organisations in the developing or under developed countries represented abroad, the story is "Cost cutting"

What then do we make of this? It has almost become our culture in the developing world to go abroad for greener pastures; do you think it is still worth migrating abroad for better opportunities?

I spoke to a very close colleague to get his opinion on this, and this was his view.
"Ideally, I want to stay in Africa, my heart is really in Africa, but I still want to have permanent access abroad, even at short notice..."

Then I spoke to an Indian, who lives in London, and is presently in Cameroon. She said something very interesting
"This can be compared to the concept of a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. For instance I know people who are Engineers in India, and they come to London and end up doing manual labour, I am sure they will have a better quality of life with that qualification in India than abroad. Also I think people with very good qualifications out there, have a better chance of getting jobs in the developing or under developed countries. We are better off using our qualifications where they are needed most. However, life is generally more comfortable out there; it just depends on what we want for ourselves."

In my opinion, there is a balance we need to strike somewhere, and I think developing countries have identified it, and are working on it, the under developed countries need to up their game a little. I recognise there is a lot of work going on already, even on individual basis.

Like one of the house mates in Big Brother Africa all stars mentioned, "I look forward to a day when we will all be equal, when no country will be looked at as bigger than the other or stronger, when we will have equal opportunity... (Tanzania)"

Another housemate said "If the G8 cared so much for poor African, who still live in mud houses, and still have diseases which have solutions out there, and we cannot get treatment because we have no money - they will hold on the space crafts they are building, hold back on the wars they are financing and support us to grow, even just to half their level (Ethiopia)"

To this I say "I hear you, but it is not as easy as that" what then do you think? What can we practically do? Is Africa the place to be, or is it worth going abroad for better opportunities?

Have your say guys!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

African Time - What school do you belong to?

When it is said "African Time" the general conception to this is that, you should be at least 1 hour late. The reverse is true for Western time.

If i ask you, who are you? the answer i will get is 'your name' but that is what you are called and not who you are!

We make the mistake of letting the labels people put on us become true for us.

Who said African time meant you should be 1 hour late?

From this day on, being on time to me is "African Time" what about you?

What school do you belong to?