Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kmer Hip Hop viewed creatively through the prism of Kmer Football

Krotal, Boudor, Rasyn, Ak Sang Grave, XLM squad, VBH and Nabil were some of the pioneer Indomitable Lions rapper team(s) that qualified Cameroon for the 1982 hip hop world cup. They played well and came to the limelight and had marginal success with three draws. Krotal’s 2004 hit “Jamais” was Mbida Arantes’ equalizer in our 1-1 draw against eventual 1982 world cup winners, Italy. A few years passed and these guys and a couple of other newcomer rappers like fineboy Koppo who is fineboy Joel Eppale and Big B'zy who is huge Patrick Suffo qualified the Indomitable lions for the 1990 world cup. Then a Roger Milla burst onto the rap scene, who no one was expecting would jump to the utmost peak called Jovi with his hit, “Don for Kwat”. The gong/xylophone/flute like beat was Cameroon’authentic. His word play on the field of Pidgin English, English and French was sublime. His punch lines were Muhammed Ali heavy. “I’ll rather kick the bucket than have an empty pocket. Fast way, fast money, shoot like a rocket.” His lyrics were strong mboko poetry, his rhymes were Shakespearean and his “Humanity Is Vanishing (HIV)” album shone well at the 1990 world cup, our hip hop Roger Milla, a fine rap technician and music producer tactician who even produced Akon’s song, “Shine your light” and has brought Kmer hip hop to international audiences more than ever before with his later albums.

An Archille Webo named Stanley Enow arrived and scored a hat trick against Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan in his debut Indomitable Lions game with his mega hit, “Hein Pere”. Though his rap technique wasn’t extraordinary, his delivery on the song was cool and some of his punch lines really excited the public, “Charlotte Dipanda I go marry you, Lady Ponce I go marry you!” He was a born entertainer who moved crowds especially with his later knack for corny. But most importantly, he had a very efficient PR team that knew how to market him and he received accolades. I’ll burrow Italian football and say Stanley Enow is more of Filipo Inzaghi, the Italian striker with no technique and but great zeal for scoring goals, whether legitimate or illegitimate, whom Sir Alex Ferguson once described as “born in an offside position”, for we later learnt that the “Hein Pere” hat trick hit he scored was a bunch of offside goals because he re-used the American rapper, Sopresice’s beat to generate the heat in his hit.  Furthermore, his post “Hein Pere” corny songs didn’t quite grip the public, just like Webo did nothing on the pitch for a decade after the 2005 Abidjan hat trick exploit.

Franko is Clinton Njie who achieved instant fame with a brace against Cote d’Ivoire at the Mfandena stadium, with a controversial song titled “Coller les petites” which a Sous-Prefet accused him of scoring “with his hand” and it ironically increased his popularity because the accusation even aired on French media and the song got Drogba dancing. Pascal is Tchoutang Bernard gifted with technical ability. Le General Valsero is Joseph Antoine Bell instilled with revolutionary philosophical wisdom like Immortal Technique. Maalox is simply a very brilliant satirist. Blueprint Hakeem is Eric Maxim Choupo Mouting, another good rap technician. Finally, Emma Mimba is an exciting prospect at the Ecole de Foot de Brasseries, with his “bushfaller to perica in pays” discussion rap on social media. So who is Samuel Eto’o? I’m tempted to say X-Maleya because of their consistency of hit goals since “Yelele” in 2010 and great international success but they’re not doing rap music, so they’re not Eto’o. But some other Kmer hip hop fans may howl in my ear and argue that Jovi is Eto'o. Well, I said he is Milla because he was the first to really make Kmer hip hop emerge to international audiences like le pere did with Kmer football.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cameroon Vs South Africa. Inaugural game at the Limbe Omnisports Stadium

When I was on holiday in Limbe in March, I was riding through Half Mile one day, when I saw a banner about the Indomitable Lions football qualifier against South Africa on March 26nd for CAN 2017 in Gabon. It was going to be played at the brand new, just completed Limbe Omnisports Stadium, the very first time an international game was going to be played in Anglophone Cameroon. I said to myself “I’ll definitely go there and watch my first international game!” (Even though the Lions have fallen deep under the football radar in recent years). I resumed work on March 22nd but was lucky to find out that, I was off on Saturday, March 26th so I travelled to Limbe on March 25thand bought my match ticket for a little more than the price, from someone who had purchased tickets and stocked, since all the tickets had already been sold out.

By midday the following day, I had been on my way to the stadium in Ngeme to secure a good seat. I’d never seen that road as crowded as it was that day. Security obliged us to park all vehicles at a given distance from the stadium. We trekked the entire length from the junction to the stadium baked by the afternoon sun. As we climbed the gentle slope which is still being paved, the brand new stadium which seemed so far off became more and more prominent. It was quite a sight to behold. Beyond the stadium lay a vast expanse of green forest land with estates of palm trees in proximity to it.

But what was even more impressive was the view directly behind us. The gentle slope stretched down and cut across the main paved road that zipped across the lovely resort city of Limbe to our right and tumbled spectacularly into the sea. Newly constructed storey buildings with red and blue roof tops were being built all over the populated coastline, beautified by a surfeit of trees and grass, that provided a stark contrast with the murky blue ocean, embellished with flora shrouded super tiny islands poking heads out of the sea like icebergs made of rock, with a couple of boats and canoes sailing past them. Add that to the refreshing sea breeze blowing on our sweating bodies to nature’s gift and that completes the “picture perfect” scenario. So we were blessed with a 3D view of absolute beauty; the spectacular stadium/greenery directly in front of us, the neat, beautiful resort city of Limbe to our right and the exquisite ocean views of blue waters, little islands, sailing boats and magnificent coastline.

Some Francophones who were also trekking to the stadium and who were visiting Limbe for the first time commented that, the scenery was so beautiful they would not return to Douala/Yaounde anymore. We caught side of a bare chested stocky man with a big belly, wearing baggy Cameroon flag coloured trousers and shoes with green red yellow painted all over his body.
“NGANDO! NGANDO!” we shouted.
“Non, Je ne suis pas Ngando. Je suis Zomo!” he corrected.
“Okay, Ngando the second,” someone shouted.
“You’re Ngando copy cat noh!” I said.

Anyway, our highly popular team mascot called Ngando wasn’t around but we could manage the copycat. We finally arrived the 20.000 seats stadium which was bustling with thousands of green, red and yellow people and hawkers engaged in booming petty business (everything was on sale in bright green-red-yellow colours including “Ca sort comme ca sort” T-shirts). The ambience was infectious. The music boomed. The Army ensured an orderly entrance into the stadium as we queued up on different soldier controlled lines to the different sitting compartments which were in accordance with the price of our match tickets. My 5000 frs match ticket fetched me a good seat around the middle of the pitch. And wow! What a beautiful stadium it is.

First and foremost, it’s brand new, so everything there is still sparkling. The different sitting compartments have got green, red and yellow seats to reflect the colours of the Cameroon flag. A giant screen rests near the section with yellow seats where the names of the players and scores are displayed.

An athletics track surrounds the green pitch for track and field events. And the field itself is as smooth as silk, green carpet grass which is watered by underground pipes that surface from below to do the job and disappear again when they’re done.

There is no stadium roof overhead, oops! So the afternoon sun boiled us like food, with its oppressive heat that triggered a lot of sweating. I started praying that, the heavens shouldn’t break loose, if not we would have been well drenched in the rain. Fortunately, that never happened. But why is there no roof? Wunna chop the money?
Team mascot Zomo worked up the crowd with his “pot belly” and journalists like Albert Njie Mbonde took over with the match commentaries. The Bafana Bafana made their way to the pitch for the warm up session. When the Indomitable Lions finally appeared on the field, for their own warm up session, we created a tumult, shouting the names of the few stars on the team, “Nkoulou! Mbia! Bedimo! Sally Edgar!” (Many other stars like Clinton Njie, Eric Choupo Mouting and Aboubakar Vincent had all missed the game for various reasons, ranging from injury to non selection).

I heard someone above my head in the crowd shout my name as if I was also one of the stars, “Nkiacha!” “Uh?” And when I looked up, I saw my buddy/former colleague Maliva Stephen together with his sister-in-law Ajua Carine cheering the lions. We all screamed, “Oh hoooo, so you’re also here? Wooooooh”. Both teams returned to the dressing rooms to change into their jerseys and returned in complete match gear for the national anthem of both teams to be sung and subsequently the 3:30 PM kickoff.
The first couple of minutes were entertaining but tense for us because our defense was a little porous. That proved fatal as SA scored very early in the game. But after a lot of hard work, the Lions mounted a lot of pressure on Bafana Bafana which resulted in Nicolas Nkolou equalizing from close range, to put the game at 1-1. SA tactically dominated the game for most of the first half and Cameroon only managed to resist their offensive play with Nicolas Nkoulou marshaling his shaky defense well as usual. The referee blew his whistle and halted the game for halftime, during which Kmer RnB star boy, Magasco entertained the crowd with a performance of his hit song, “Wule bang bang”.

When the game resumed, it was an even sided affair for a few minutes, until a Bafana Bafana player who held the ball spotted our goalkeeper, Guy Roland Ndi Assembe yards off his goal post. He then experimented a distant shot and impressively delivered a precise, well computed almost forty metre kick, from midfield, which beat our very careless, retreating goalkeeper and glided straight into his net in what was described as the best goal of the weekend CAN qualifiers. It will probably also go down as the best goal in that stadium for many years to come. But it was a very stupid goal to concede on the part of Ndi Assembe, whom no one knew what he was looking for, so far off his line. The way SA celebrated the goal, (by all running to the technical bench and applauding one of the men there) seems the suggestion of the distant shot had come from observation during half time that, Assembe kept strolling off his goal post even during the first half.

The goal angered the crowd so much they hurled insults at him and asked to know why young Fabrice Ondoa who had performed so well at the 2015 CAN wasn’t in the goalpost instead. As if that wasn't enough, Assembe still kept on strolling off his goal line, such that, with any impending SA attack, the whole crowd kept waving and shouting, “Go back, go back!” Bafana Bafana still played better than the lions in the second half and it made us all wonder how come they had lost all their games and drew just one (they had just one point in the qualifiers), for they were threatening to lead us in that game till the end. Our attackers created little or no chances. Jacques Zoa who wasn’t even scared to rock the legendary number nine jersey of Cameroon was a pure pedestrian. (Hmmm, oboy you know say na Milla and Eto’o their number that this man???)

At one point, the crowd missed Eto'o so much they even started yelling, “Eto’o, Eto’o, Eto'o!” yearning for his past goal scoring exploits even though he wasn’t even in the squad. A defeat would have been a disaster, as Cameroon has not been beaten at the Omnisports Stadium in Yaounde for 43 years (since 1973). Then just lose their first game in a brand new stadium in Limbe just like that! Fortunately, it wasn’t to be because in the dying minutes of the game, the lions mounted some pressure and Sebatien Cyani took possession of the ball and dispatched a lethal shot on target which swished the SA net and tied the game at 2-2. And that’s how the inaugural game ended in Limbe. Our unbroken record at home still continues, though with a stroke of luck in this one anyway.

Friday, May 20, 2016

ICAO certifies Ethiopian Aviation Academy as the ICAO Regional Training Center of Excellence

Ethiopian Airlines is pleased to announce that Ethiopian Aviation Academy, the largest and the most modern aviation academy in Africa, has been recognized as ICAO Regional Training Center of Excellence on May 11, 2016 at the ICAO’s Global Aviation Training and TRAINAIR PLUS symposium held at Conrad hotel in Seoul, Korea.

The Academy attained the recognition following a rigorous assessment of the Training organization, Training & Procedures Manuals, Facilities, Training Processes, Qualification of Staff and Quality System.

The recognition allows ET to develop and host ICAO Training Packages (ITPs) in addition to ICAO recognized Standardized Training Packages (STPs) of its own. Moreover, besides improving the quality of training, by making it more of material dependent than instructor dependent, the ITPs and STPs can also be exchanged with all ICAO TRAINAIR PLUS members and generate revenue.

20th May Breakdown

If only the video of a car breaking down completely was a new song by an artist released on U tube today, then that artist would become a billionaire from the numerous views of the breakdown. The cozy car represents our state these recent years, a broken country and a failing system with no engine, no driving force and no forward gear, bundled up and pushed forward manually instead of digitally, and it limps forward like an uninspiring 83 year old man with a staff.

Monday, May 16, 2016

What's new on Ethiopian Airlines in April 2016?

From July 3rd 2016, you can fly thrice a week from Dakar to New York-Newark on the Ethiopian Airlines partner, Asky Airlines via Lomè, Togo. And multiple flights from Dakar to around the world from July 2nd.


Asky Airlines flies from Douala to Lome and then other West/Central African cities like Lagos, Dakar, Bangui, Ndjamena, Cotonou, Brazzaville, Abidjan, Niamey, Ouagadougou etc twice a day everyday from Monday to Sunday. The first flight is a morning flight and check in starts at 7.30AM to 9.30AM with departure at 10.00AM. The second flight in the afternoon starts at 15.00 to 17.00 and departs at 17.30. Asky Airlines also offers an opportunity for passengers to travel late at night, with three night stop overs, (meaning the plane which arrives Douala at 18.00 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays "spends the night" at the airport), for a late night check in that starts at 3.00AM to 5.00AM with take off at 5.30AM. So that makes three flights a day thrice every week and two flights a day, for the rest four days on Asky Airlines.

That will probably not make much sense to a regular passenger who just needs to do a single trip to a west African city and return in maybe two weeks or a month. But if you're a busy corporate figure like a company CEO or director who has to attend a morning or midday meeting in Abidjan today, return to Douala in the evening and jet off to Lagos the next day for another meeting with the intention of returning to Douala that same day, then oooh, Asky Airlines is vintage for you. They're also generally on time despite the demands of such high flight frequencies.That's why they've built a reputation for being "the taxi of West Africa". And its not only that. Since they fly to most West African cities, Asky also acts as a transit carrier for most European Airlines that do not fly to certain cities like Bangui, Ndjamena or Niamey. For instance, if you're a Tchadian, Central African, Nigerien or Burkinabé living in France, you have the possibility of flying to Douala on Air France, then boarding Asky on a second homebound flight to Ouagadougou, Bangui or Niamey etc, the same day and in just a couple of hours.

What about Ethiopian Airlines the parent company itself? Well, they're still flying to 92 destinations on 5 continents all around the world. They're still celebrating 70 years of existence in offices all around the world. And they're still receiving dozens of awards for their excellent services all around the world. Like recently at the 2016 Cargo Airline of the Year Awards at the Lancaster London Hotel, ET was voted African Cargo Airline of the year, for being the biggest cargo operating airline in Africa. (The big soutes of those dreamliners are doing their job). And as if to say, "yeah, we're the best cargo flight in Africa", Ethiopian Cargo is launching new flights to Istanbul and Beirut from April 23rd 2016, to reinforce their Liege and Brussels hubs which are very strategic ones in Europe. Lastly, in a bid to keep expanding at home, Ethiopian Express which is the operational unit of ET handling interior flights in Ethiopia, will be flying four times a week to the city of Hawassa from April 16th.