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A tale of woe in African intellectualism


Africa is under siege… and my spirit is just telling me to say something. But the more I try to speak, the more I feel the garrote choking me. As dumbfounded and as screamingly distressed as I am to think of myself in this rather lethargic state, the voice within me keeps taunting and urging me on. This has been the case since the turn of the century; the unending state of tribulation… and the challenge to actualize a dream. The wailing voice keeps nagging non-stop and cursing at the damnable lack of transfiguration in low-impact African academia. This factor, I presume, must be held accountable for Africa’s incapacity to reinvent, transform, and redeem the material condition of the African people. Now I know that the deliverance of besieged Africa from this survivable travail is a task that has been entrusted to sublime African children; and I must confront untruth by speaking out. We are duty bound to justify our commitment to our African fatherland through all possible forms of potent gambits as predicated on the ancestral African Laws.



© 2019 METUGE EKANE Printing: BoD – Books on Demand, Stockholm, Sweden Production: BoD – Books on Demand, Norderstedt, Germany Layout: BoD – Books on Demand ISBN: 978-91-7851-600-1

To Menyinge and Menyake; my parents, auntie Julie, and my uncle






Project statement














The Sublime child and the nation of perversity






Nchume‘ bwel, illustrated by Menyinge Ekane ‘Nchume’ bwel’ is a glorious concept with an expansively consummate vision of societal organization. It is an ancestral ideal in the communal mythology of the Bakossi people in Cameroon as typified by the evocative song ‘Ah Nchume’ bwel mot ne eche ngen’, which means ‘The auspiciously luxuriant tree that provides a reachable branch for everybody’. Literally, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ is that ecologically accommodating entity at the ultimate frontier which caters for our sacrosanct structure. As our cosmic patrimony, the underlying significance of ‘Nchume’ bwel’ as typified by divine strands of nationalism cannot be overstated. The tree provides a harmonious balance of spirituality, symmetry, sublimity and satisfaction despite having its own independent existence in the primal jungle. Hence, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ is a constitutive element of both our cosmic consciousness and sociological efflorescence if we look at the concept in some depth. As an ancient Bakossi philosophy, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ is a living monument to the ingenious expansiveness of our ancestral agency which transcends the frontiers of pure scientific rationality. Moreover, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ is a valuable reminder of man’s humanity to man in an aggressively amoral world of materialistic perversity and self-interested dead weight that eclipses community solidarity, thereby stifling societal regeneration. Amid such nefariousness, we have self-centred realms, engrossed in extreme consumerism, presumptuous superficiality, and imperious artificiality whereby even human remains and faecal pathogens have only monetary value. As a moral philosophy, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ portrays theoretically infinite perspectives and altruistic ideals concerning positive aspects of subsistence, equity, inclusion, transparency, community, and caring for the less fortunate such as the underprivileged, the challenged, the destitute, the powerless, the helpless, the elderly, the children, and the sick. As an encompassing sociopolitical principle thus, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ highlights the relevance of communal democracy, peaceful coexistence, interdependence, egalitarian justice and consummate satisfaction. ‘Nchume’ bwel’ symbolizes virility, potency, power, empowerment, incorruptibility, wealth, love, empathy, happiness, optimism, positivity, exploration, enlightenment, intellect, clarity, team work, loyalty, spirituality, energy, upliftment, and eternity.

Acknowledgments I express special thanks to Stockholm University and the Swedish Defence University library. I am also profoundly indebted to my father for the insightful discussions and encouragement. Words are simply not sufficient enough to express my thankfulness to my mother to whom I say, this endeavor should be taken as a token of my gratitude for all her kindness and wisdom. Moreover, I present eternal gratitude to my sparkling and sublime little boy, for his concern, patience and impressive industry; his unbelievably instructive ideas and creative input into this project. Lastly, I express my deepest regrets to my uncle and political scientist whose glittering career was over when he left town on February 11th 2018 but whose spectral presence is still being warmly experienced till date. May his instructive soul find eternal exaltation. It is important to acknowledge the sociological relevance of ‘Nchume’ bwel’ in the anthology of African transfiguration. According to Sangu Ekane J. A., and Nyangu Ebude M. E., (2019); ‘‘Nchume’ bwel’ is a valuable and desirable tree that ‘provides a share for everybody’’. Even if ‘Nchume’ bwel’ as a concept did not inspire this exploratory endeavour, it is a vision for social reformation or rebirth since it functions as a transfiguring shield against presumptuous proclivities and egomaniacal impulses. This vision ought to be inscribed onto the soul of the African cognitive revival as it sharpens the debate about transfiguration. Moreover, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ engenders fascinating insights into our human relationships and ontology as Africans, as we aspire to the restitution of our African sociology of knowledge. Although ‘Nchume’ bwel’ was not the foundational premise at the outset, the need to highlight its significance in this transfiguration process cannot be overstated. On a theoretical level ‘Nchume’ bwel’ could have broad implications for conceptualizations of the transfiguration construct upon which comprehensive remediation is founded. In this sense, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ remains the luxuriant tree of virile potency; a source of auspicious divination that will ensure the rebirth of perceptive and precognitive African people. Therefore, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ is not merely to be seen as a tree of life but as a communal mode of operations. It is a distinct mode of living that would render Africans impervious to duplicitous egomania and methodically orchestrated schemes of human domestication. 11


ASH- Adornment in the Spirit House (Ndab’ Chum: Nkosse ancestral hut) ASOTS- Africa south of the Sahara CAF- Confederation of African Football CEMAC- Communaute Economique et Monetaire de l’Afrique Centrale (Central African Economic and Monetary Community) CFA- Communaute Financiere Africaine (Financial Community of Africa) CRTV- Cameroon Radio and Television DRC- Democratic Republic of Congo ENAM- Ecole Normale d’Administration et de Magistrature du Cameroun (National School of Administration and Magistracy- Cameroon) EU- European Union FSLC- First School Leaving Certificate GCE- General Certificate of Education IMF- International Monetary Fund IRIC- Institut des Relations Internationales du Cameroun (International Relations Institute of Cameroon) IVF- In Vitro Fertilization OIF- Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (Organisation of French-speaking countries) RWF- Rwandan Franc

‘Sango’ or ‘Sangu’: an affectionately masculine and venerable traditional title in some Bantu communities of Cameroon. It embodies honour, as opposed to mere high social rank or seniority. Honour in this strict sense implies in good character and reputation; as well as in principled sanity and nobility of spirit. ‘Nyango’ or ‘Nyangu’ is the feminine equivalent.


Project statement

This project is essentially a satirical repository that scrutinizes the subversion of allegorical regimes of objective rationality by schemes of political opportunism and intellectual posturing in African intellectualism. Although the project may not necessarily be considered as a handbook, it is designed to provide academics and laymen in Africa south of the Sahara a grounding in self-evaluative soul-searching as a fundamental framework for innovative proďŹ ciency and societal remediation. The project throws light on the ways in which academics can contribute in generating reforms as it proposes a political pathway that would institute contextual rigor by introducing effective research attitudes which will reorient African academics towards a reexive outlook. This outlook may assist in eliminating dependency on methodological dogma and vapid intellectual opportunism that propagates persuasive self-enslavement, thereby impeding transformation. By assuming the position as an unrepentant sociopolitical controversialist, it is intended that the reader will transcend the realities of his or her own subjective mental model like the sublime child. Political opportunism and intellectual posturing as indicated above are blatantly integral to the realities of subjective human rationality which often culminates in appalling sociological atrocity, self-absorption, and even self-consciousness. As a banal consequence, intellectual and emotional primitivism would appear as a recognition of existence (Fanon, 1967: 32). That notwithstanding, as long as self-evaluative soul searching is not about either comprehending emotional instability or predicting human conduct, it is simply presupposed that intrinsic cultural barriers would be challenged and diminished once vibrant introspective intuition becomes a norm for every piece of intellectual activity or industrial endeavor. In other words, the idea is not necessarily about making a situational analysis through a gripping narrative that would be limited merely in a description of a series of incapacitating events regarding African intellectualism. Rather, it is about attempting a type of sociological leucotomy 13

through a situational diagnosis that would enable an understanding as to why people behave in particularly disruptive ways in a given society. In this sense therefore, the intention is to foster an introspective school of thought by encouraging people to examine their own judgments with an exceptional emphasis on the composite interplay between intra-personal interactions, inter-personal relationships, intellectual interventionism, utility-maximization, and innovative ingenuity. Therefore, the composite project synthesizes comprehensive rationality as propounded by Herbert Simon (Allison and Zelikow, 1999: 19-20); groundings on utilitarianism; and different doctrines of black liberation. While Rastafarai as a prophetic and liberating force could be seen as one such prominent aspects of this rather doctrinal approach, this project essentially espouses W.E.B Du Bois’ emotively poignant treatise on ‘double-consciousness’ as brilliantly expounded by Frantz Fanon with an invocation of vapid emotional primitivism. Moreover, the project is also inspired by concepts such as ‘metaphysical guilt’ and ‘cultural mummification’ as propounded by Frantz Fanon (1967: 18 and 34); concepts which preclude intellectual self-assurance among academics across Africa south of the Sahara. According to Johnson-Hill; ‘The Rastafarai doctrine seems to entail ongoing stressful encounters with institutional authorities’ (Johnson-Hill, 1995: 45). Johnson-Hill further notes that Rastafarai literature is replete with calls for fundamental social change based on equal rights and justice that is articulated through a dynamic involving the evolving critique of the status quo, as grounded in the Biblical prophets’ denunciation of Babylon. Moreover, Johnson-Hill emphasizes that Rastafarai I and I concept concerns with such issues as exploitation by multinational corporations and the production of nuclear weapons indicating the extent to which they seek to express creatively a prophetic message in the contemporary age (Johnson-Hill, 1995: 332). In brief, the comprehensive synthesis is premised on harnessing the composite transformative potential of the complex interplay between introspection, utility-maximization and liberty as a source of potency, and the basis of an encompassing sociological order. In this comprehensive and promising approach thus, the scientific relevance of intellectual responsiveness is considered to be inextricably interwoven with local societal exigencies. In this sense, a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of transformative change will be facilitated by emancipated sensibility and the transformative power of 14

education as highlighted via dispassionate intellectualism. This would divulge the quintessential value of the potent robot-person as opposed to the rather vapid ineffectiveness that is enshrined in the notions of self-absorption and self-conscious intellectualism. Moreover, a comprehensive understanding would imply that curiosity and intellectual rigor are employed in tandem as prefaces to inquiry and far-sighted innovations. These innovations will ultimately be facilitated by polities and policies that are based on encompassing and dispassionate institutional designs, as well as domestically-oriented sociopolitical regimes that are tailored for specific local communities. In brief, such comprehensive regimes and institutional designs would be established through aggregating local polities such as tribal polities in various societies in Africa south of the Sahara in a measure to achieve the orgasmic state of comprehensive remediation in those societies. Finally, we must emphasize the interplay between observational curiosity and intellectual reorientation as a function of intellectual self-assurance and sharpened responsiveness. The intellectual reorientation of African academics is essentially premised on the sociological admonition against the incapacitating core belief that fosters the treatment of the stupendously uprooted African academics as the nobility. If intellectual reorientation presupposes some level of transformation (in terms of cognitive rehabilitation, self-preservation and self-improvement) when perceived as the quintessence of awakening, then the political education that is engendered by this intellectual reorientation process would contribute in stimulating African academics to reinvent the stringency of their childlike curiosity through an introspective dialogue. The ‘Nchume’ bwel’ concept would constitute an essential part of this introspective impulse. Through a vein of satirical anger arising from introspection thus, the African academics would awaken in themselves the intelligence of their very own sublime child, as they become stimulated into repairing and redeeming their faltering cognition. This will be effectuated with the utmost grace amid the gradual reinstatement of regimes of objective rationality. This redemption will necessitate a combination of modern and traditional methods in knowledge production and transmission. In sum, ‘Nchume’ bwel’ would enable the transition from the nobility to communal humility. That is, from relative obscurity to clairvoyant labour by dealing with extremes on both ends of the spectrum in a rather symmetrical way. 15

THE LACK of transfiguration in low-impact African academia regarding both cultivated and insensate academics is largely accountable for Africa’s incapacity to reinvent, transform, and redeem the material condition of the African people. The subliminal message is that transfiguration is a prerequisite to transformation. Thus, the embodying conceptual idea is that responsiveness and transformation are essentially about the pursuit of relative gains. This pursuit is guided by both introspective intuition and autonomous action. In Africa, transformation can only be achieved when African people start observing Africa through African lenses. Although this project is essentially a tale of woe regarding the largely unresponsive African academia, it is also methodical in its orientation in a measure to divulge the sub rosa and hegemonic regimes which preclude objective rationality in African intellectualism. This project is intended for researchers and students of Africa as they would be introduced to the sublimity of introspective intuition as a fundamental framework for societal remediation. Metuge Ekane is a researcher whose areas of interest include political and extra-legal military interventionism, Great power politics, political artistry, policy analysis, institutionalism, nationalist mobilization, social research methodology, comparative politics, and comprehensive remediation. Cover illustration: Metuge Ekane

ISBN: 978-91-7851-600-1

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