Mbella Sonne Dipoko Dies at 73

Genre : Cultural personnality death announcements
Principal country concerned : Column : Literature
Release/publication date : September 2009
Published on : 09/12/2009

Anglophone novelist, poet, and painter, author of A few Nights and Days, 1969, Because of Woman, 1969, Black and White in Love, 1972.

Mbella Sonne Dipoko, Novelist, Poet and politician died on Saturday December 5th 2009 in Tiko, Cameroon after a brief illness. He succeeded his father as chief of Missaka village in 1991, but he continued writing, contributing poems and articles to local and international magazines. His poem, below, was submitted to The Post newspaper, Cameroon, a few days before his death.

By Mbella Sonne Dipoko

It was foretold long ago
That after Noah's deluge
The next destruction of the world
Would be by fire
And can't you feel the heat building up already,
The global warming up?

And so to fulfil the prophecy
Copenhagen is going to be
Just some more hot air
Presaging the sparks that would turn
Into the flames in which the world will be consumed
And then out of the ashes of ecocide capitalism
It won't be Christ on His second coming presiding
On Judgment Day
But Karl Marx returning like a revolutionary phoenix
Out of the ashes of the busting bubbles
Of the lopsided economies
Of our over-heated world

Dipoko in his own words (on his life, writing, politics and his beard), culled from Cameroon Life Magazine (May 1990)
In the West they would call me a romantic, one of the last breed, I suppose. A romantic and not a mad man, as some people do here, in Africa, fearing the beard and scared of the head of hair...So let them be scared of my look, of my beard, of my head of hair. They are just philistines who are afraid of originality. They wish to be caricatures of Europeans. When they are scared of a mere beard, what would these people do when war comes, when the horizon suddenly begins to sneeze smoke and spit flames? Who will save the nation? For only the courageous can defend the colors of a country.

I did two stints at the university. First, it was when I imagined I could become a lawyer. So for a couple of years I studied law and economics at Paris University. But I gave this up when I began to work on my first novel, A few nights and Days. I really could not reconcile the drudgery of law school studies with the flamboyance of compulsive creative information. And also, what news was coming out of Africa, spoke of the death of freedom, and I thought it would be spiritually stultifying to try to function as a lawyer in a totalitarian environment.


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