Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"Rose On A Grave" Movie Premiere at Fini Hotel, Limbe

On November 28th, I arrived at Fini Hotel Limbe at about 8.00 PM to attend the grandiose movie premiere of the much hyped film, “Rose On A Grave” produced by Syndy Emade of Blue Rain Entertainment. It was a star studded pool side event aerated by the fresh sea breeze of the Atlantic, splashing gruffly against the beaches lining the exquisite hotel. The movie's main cast, actress/movie producer, Syndy Emade, Libota MacDonald, Desmond Whyte, Solange Yijika, Epule Jeffrey, Alene Menget, Solange Ojong all arrived, making their way to the blue carpet for some stylish photography moments and a couple of television interviews. The occasion took off on a high note as the MCs, Mr. Steve and my kid sister, Victoire impressed with some amazing introductory oratory, followed by highly animated musical performances by Cameroonian music stars like Ambe, Solatiel, Le Featurist, Miss K, Andy and Mr. Leo who wowed the attendees with their melodious tunes. Fashion designers also flaunted their freshest costumes through a dozen or so models who paraded the blue carpet in impressive catwalks.

The projectionist then got down to the thick of things with the portrayal of the movie. It has got a couple of interesting plot lines, twists and turns with subtitles in French for the English scenes and vice versa. It begins with a murder scene and two men who try to track the trail of the criminal by reporting the incident to the best crime detective in the area, Detective Anne, played by Bikutsi music star, Lady Ponce who makes a cameo appearance in the film. She is adamant to investigate the crime and the men decide to execute the task themselves, therefore raising many questions why Anne was so resolute on not getting involved. On another narrative note, Betty (played by Syndy Emade) dates a fashionable guy who she loves but initially has the impression that he doesn’t love her because he never says so and apparently doesn’t seem to pay her enough attention. Each time they quarrel, he makes up by giving her a red rose. And she keeps getting those roses, roses, roses and many more roses. She grows more disappointed in the relationship though.

Another couple seem to be having the happiest marriage ever but after five years, the nuptial harmony starts collapsing rapidly as there are accusations by the husband that the wife had infected him with HIV/AIDS. (So who had infected who?) Betty also decides to end the relationship with her “rose generous” boyfriend after frequent indifferences. He attempts to make up with a white rose this time but she rejects and reproaches him. A series of actions on the scene lead to him being knocked down by a car and he dies. A grief-stricken Betty discovers a written message stuck in the petals of one of the roses and then more poetic messages and many more cryptic messages from the other roses. (Girl! Jeez, how did you miss that the whole time!) She finally discovers how her deceased lover boy actually felt about her (but it was too late!). The Betty solemn scenes felt like some heartfelt, tragic but poetic Shakespearean romance. Then comes…Oops, the projectionist! Halting the movie for its fund raising initiative by attendees, leaving us reeling with guesses how the whole grand plot will end. The movie is a remarkable leap forward for the Cameroonian movie industry and only the second film by the BRE crew. It is a sign of better things to come for this young but very talented film production and entertainment company.
Syndy and Le Featurist

Ake and Metro trains

"The worse news is that when we were finally flying, there was a guy in front of me who kept acting like RwandAir was his private jet and the flight attendants were being paid by his father. And another guy across the aisle who got air sick and threw up on his neighbour. I knew a few seconds after it happened because the dude next to me said disgustedly, 'Oh my God-o'. This could have been possible material for a good short story but unfortunately for me, it has already been done and done well in the current Caine Prize anthology by Nkiacha Atemnkeng in a story entitled 'Wahala Lizard" Zukiswa Wanner.

European passenger in arrival hall: Do you have metro trains here? I would like to board one out of Douala.
Me (feeling shocked): No
Passenger: Ok
Me (thinking): See me see trouble oh! Metro trains in Cameroon abi! That one na for 2035 abeg when we go be emerging nation. You no google up speed for CAMRAIL trains before you dey come here? They're faster than the French Metro trains and they know how to break down and just stop in the middle of nowhere, well well.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Rocket like Dreamliner maneuver

I captured these images of a new Dreamliner flying spectacularly into the sky like a rocket from CNN. I was in awe. This is piloting at its very best. The plane took off normally then did the upward trajectory in style. But there were no passengers on board and little fuel; just enough for the plane to take off, do its ambitious rocket maneuver and land, so there wasn’t a lot of weight on it hence making it lighter and very suitable for such a feat. 

Now after seeing these amazing shots, I began wondering if there was any iota of truth in the Hollywood movie, “Flight” in which the pilot, Denzel Washington flies a plane upside down (it crashed though). So one day while working on a Rwandair flight, I made sure I walked next to the captain to the boarding gate when the aircraft was sealed and started chatting with him.
“Yes,” he said.
“I have watched a Hollywood movie, “Flight” in which Denzel Washington flies a plane upside down and…”
“Hahahaha” the captain interrupted me with laughter.
“Is that possible?” I wondered.
“It's all rubbish!” he snapped, then continued, “These movies! Arrr! And then they even show how the captain is taking drugs on the plane and it’s just…” his response just halted in a slightly reproachful and grumbling note. I just went mute, wondering if he thought I suspected he was also taking drugs to fly his plane or something.   

Monday, October 19, 2015

Addis Abaaaaaaaa!

ADC agent walks up to the boarding gate to do the boarding announcement. “Ladies and gentlemen, the flight ET 905 to Addis ‘Abaaaa’ is now ready for boarding…” Colleague -Paul freezes, stretches his neck forward and creates furrows on his forehead, “Del, did you hear what that guy said? Addis Abaaaa!” “I heard,” she says and bursts into laughter. “Del, is that a new destination? Addis Abaaaa!!! Kaparasiani Yawaal! On va voir tout dans l’aeroport ci!” Paul strolls towards ADC agent after boarding and teases. “Gar, tu a fait fort aujord’hui, Addis Abaaa! Is that a new destination?” Guy squints at Paul, bemused. Delphine is cracking up at one corner. “Addis Abaaaa! C’est dans quel pays mon frere? Where is that place found? Or is it Aba in Nigeria?" Guy gets irritated and tries to mask the scowl but Paul is relentless. “Tu est tres, tres fort, mon frère, Addis Abaaaa!!! Have you become one of these Chinese passengers who disembark in Douala while on transit instead of Malabo and start asking me at the door of the aircraft, “Malabaa? Malabaa?” And I just say Doualaaaaaa! Get back into the plane! Now I’m going to add your new destination, Addis Abaaaaaa! Addis Abaaaaaa. Hmmm, Kaparasiani Yawaal!” And Paul walks away like he hasn’t hurt a fly. ADC agent’s face looks like he wants to Floyd Mayweather Paul’s forehead… #Paul is still waiting for the location. #Or maybe the guy Christopher Columbus’ed that place? #We need Addis Abaaaa holiday makers abeg! No Visa required.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Camerbloggers hangout at Ovamba

I attended another Camerbloggers hangout at the Ovamba Cameroon Solutions office in Akwa earlier today. It was a cheery and highly engaging meeting between some Ovamba employees and Camerbloggers. The Ovamba’yees, Osbert Chiabi, Prashant Mahajan and Bianca Lee (who came all the way from the US) introduced us to their company and elucidated thoroughly about their activities. I wasn’t there at the beginning but I grasped something substantial when I joined the others a couple of minutes later. Here is the summary.

Ovamba Solutions is basically a financial institution by investors after years of experience in the African finance markets. It was created to support African economies by improving access to credit for the small & medium enterprise (SME) market. Ovamba uses a marketplace lending (p2p) model that allows their retail and institutional lenders to bid on / acquire up to 50% of loans. But the sme must fulfill certain financial conditions before receiving the loan. For instance, the company must be legally registered with Cameroonian tax authorities. It must have been in business for at least two years. It should have an existing account at a financial institution where you deposit cash from your establishment’s financial dealings. The owner must be above the age of 21 and willing to provide personal guarantee for a loan. Your business must not be involved in any of the following industries: Alcohol, gambling, money lending, adult entertainment, tobacco, weapons, timber and primary agriculture.

After the graphic demonstrations, the speakers threw the floor to the corporate bloggers demanding questions and points of doubt. And there were lots of questions flying towards them left, right and centre, to which they took time to answer as best as they could. I even got the impression that burrowing from Ovamba can be relatively easier than burrowing from a commercial bank. Prashant Mahajan, their tech guru also spoke on the digital side of things and monetized blogging which we were keen on. (The guy almost made me want to become an Indian Bangalore institutes techie with his knowledge!) "I can tell you all what you're doing on your laptop right now?" "Uh?" (Shocked) "You're in my digital space now, remember?" And he laughed, Kiki. It was one great helluva event! Why not check them out for details on

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bloggers Forum Douala 2015

At 2.00 PM today October 3rd 2015, about 150 people, among them company executives, journalists, "Camerbloggers hang out" members and other Cameroonian blogger stars convened at the magnificent Star Land Hotel, Bonapriso for the historic Bloggers Forum Douala. It was a fantastic bilingual event organized by Elodie Crescence and sponsored by Nexttel, Nescafe, Les Brasseries du Cameroun and hosted by Star Land Hotel. The Master of Ceremonies was Carole Leuwe, who introduced us to the panelists; Frank William Batchou, Jean Pierre Boep, Hugues Leandre Kamga, Brice Albin, Rene Jackson Nkowa, William Takor, Cynth Ibohn, Elie Kogoup, Edouard Tamba and Valery Njiaba. They presented in both English and French, various issues about blogging beginning from the elementary, what is a blog? To which answers popped from various thought angles, with some describing it as an online channel. The Q and A session even digressed to a "Journalist vs Blogger" debate, to which there was so much talk to clarify the difference (and some "pulling the mic off the mouths of over stretching speakers". Oops!). The presenters also talked of bloggers being influencers, with one citing the case of Senegalese bloggers helping to stop Abdoulaye Wade in his bid to seek for an unconstitutional third term in office. The panelists talked about content blogging and marketing, micro blogging, photo/video blogging on Instagram, product recommendation etc.

What many people were interested in, is how blogging can be used to generate income. Enstine Muki (whose blog is a reference money making blog in Cameroon), paved the way with this topic and said there is no clear cut formula to earn money from blogging but through various methods. It begins by deciding on and occupying a specialized niche eg, Fashion, Food, Tech, Tourism, Clothing etc and build an audience with excellent regular posts. He delivered a short insightful money making presentation mentioning affiliate marketing, affiliate networks, product networks etc. He also said he was going to teach his income earning skills in an upcoming bloggers workshop (date is still to be fixed). And that bloggers could create multiple blogs and even sell a profitable blog if an offer from a company is lucrative. Clifford Ako of and Chop Knuckle started by classifying bloggers into four groups; Hobbyist blogger, part time blogger, professional blogger and corporate blogger. An aspiring blogger had to decide which type of blog he/she wants to create and work on it consistently to build a wide audience. The audience can be used as a bargaining tool. He also mentioned using webinars, podcasts and newsletters.

So, the future of blogging? Carole asked. Everybody leaned in the direction of the words, “growing” “bright” “explore unchartered territories” in their responses. Some envisioned a more connected young generation, therefore wider audiences, more business savy bloggers, more professionalism, more blogging conferences, mentorship of young bloggers, many more companies coming into the Cameroonian blogosphere hence making them cash in as their corporate bloggers and their social media managers. Bloggers are going to be rich! Yes, richer than Pa kadji! More shi-shi, more kabacha, more budget! Okay, I’m kidding. Lol. But I see bloggers living off their blogs exclusively one day, designing their own products and marketing from their homes on their laptops. Becoming "dot com" employees. The tech event ended on a highly chit chatty note amidst bottles of sweet drinks and cups of coffee by Nescafe and lots of pics. I went home after learning loads from the panelists. And oh yes, a brilliant specialized blogging idea hit me while Enstine was doing the big talk. Eureka!
Nexttel, Nescafe and Brasseries du Cameroun sponsors
MC Carole
Clifford...Enstine Muki in black