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Tecla Omog Tcheke Nkomane

“May you prevent blowing on fire if you wear the beard” (Her most quoted proverb)

Childhood

Tecla Ngon Omog is born September 9, 1923 in Beon-Edea. She is the first child of Marthe Ngo Kanga, a Bassa from Ngodi Si, near Mom-Dibang and a Catholic school teacher Thomas François Omog-Likabo from Mitounga village. The other family’s children are: Gertrude Ngon Omog (1925), Louis Likabo-Omog (1929), Marguerite Ngon Omog (1933), Joseph Omog-Omog (1937), Thérèse Ngon Omog (1941). Tecla’s childhood is devoted to learn cooking, doing domestic chores including sewing, seeking drinking water, washing dishes, doing the laundry, fishing, cultivating various varieties of plants to nourish the family. At the age of seven, Tecla can speak many languages including Adiè (and some varieties of Bakoko languages Yakalak, Yassouk, Besso), Bassa, Douala. Tecla is able to walk from Edea Catholic Mission to Mitounga, a distance of six miles. Her mother Marthe is teaching her to take care of younger sisters and brothers by singing lullabies, giving them coconut water, feed them and even heal them from minor sicknesses using traditional medicine based on herbs and trees barks. All that knowledge makes it possible to survive in the environment which prevails at the end of the Twenties in Cameroon.

Education

However that knowledge might look complete at the age of seven, there is a need to learn French and have a more formal education.

Frédéric Tcheke Nkomane

Childhood

In 1920, Tcheke Etjen is given birth by his mother Françoise Ngon Ekouta (Imbidjeg), the second wife of the Lom-Edéa notable André Nkomane Tcheke. Lom-Edéa is then the most populated of the thirteen villages composing Edéa Canton. All of these villages are situated on the left bank of Sanaga river. They are: Mbengue, Mintounga, Batombe, Elog Belle, Nkak a Nzock, , Beon, Nlon a Mooh, Mbanda, Pongo, Koukoue, Apu a Ngock, Okot, Lom-Edéa. Nkomane’s compound is located in a part of Lom Edéa named Song Paa. Françoise is a beautiful woman from Lom-Edéa village. The first Nkomane’s wife is from the Batombè village and is named Isabelle Dimè (Mikinda). At that time, Lom-Edéa has a great market -Ebom Nsinga- held once a week- and its people can have a variety of food such as fish, prawn, shrimp. Exchanges are based on barter. From Lom- Edéa, you can reach Edéa downtown by three different means : a risky dugout trip going up the current, taking a seasonal road called Nlong a Nsinga, the permanent and secure way by Nlong a Mooh.

Nkomane family grows very fast. The two wives Isabelle giving birth to Tcheke Evinan, Ngon Nkomane (Kol), Tcheke Etoga (Etot) while Francoise is giving birth to Tcheke Etjen, Tcheke Evean, Tcheke Epouan. Tragically in 1929, the head of family Nkomane dies when his oldest child Tcheke Etjen is nine years old. The family is left in the care of Bitegye be Kagangne, a Nkomane’s cousin. The two young widows will face a precarious life. Françoise will give birth to Yves Nkomane Bitegye in 1938.

The environment where Tcheke Etjen is living allows him to speak his own language Adie (and some varieties of it Yakalak and Yassouk), and some other languages including Pongo, Malimba, Bassa. He can fish in the Sanaga river and in some marsh places not far from the family’s compound. His knowledge includes: achieving some domestic chores, mainly seeking drinking water, finding some wood to cook the meals, hunting little bush animals to get some proteins, and a few art craft concerning house building (covering with some braided leaves, making walls out of mud), singing some lullabies to hush his young brothers when his mom is way. The family is able to cultivate some plants and tubers. He can practise poultry farming and keep some smaller life-stock.  Some practices of hunting make it possible to get some bush meat, most of the time her mother would make smoked meat. A young boy in general cannot be introduced to traditional medicine from his mother. More than once, Tcheke Etjen must experience the arrestation of his mother Francoise anytime she was unable to pay her annual tax. Tcheke Etjen is not introduced to this esoteric and secret realm. Having to raise a family, Françoise skillfully handles  obtetrics and pediatrics. She is a member of the secret society Besima. Belonging to the Adie Tribe, Tcheke Etjen is able to swim and even he is able to cross the river Sanaga from the left bank to the right bank.

He must know his genealogy:

    • Tcheke
    • Nkomane
    • Tcheke
    • Bidouga
    • Mikok
    • Esse
    • Babi
    • Nzoo-
    • Yamissa
    • Mbenane
    • Adie
    • Likande
    • Mpoo.

Going to school

Even if his knowledge is wide, speaking already four to six languages, in 1930, Tcheke Etjen has to register to primary school to acquire the basics of French, and the best and nearly only solution then was registering Edea Catholic School, about five miles from his house at Song Paa. In many occasions, he has to drop his classes for three months to get enough money and pay tax his mother has to pay. His classmate Mbouma Dikor is at the same time his cousin. They will share their passion for learning new things. He is discovered as a serious student and all his masters want to take care of him, among them Thomas Francois Omog-Likabo. He receives a Christian education and is baptized becoming Frédéric Sévérin. The same day, his classmate Mbouma becomes  François Xavier.

In 1938 he reaches the last primary school class and graduates getting the CEPE. He is admitted to the selective first year of St Tarsicius Seminar, a junior high school. He had to learn many subjects including: French, Latin, mathematics, history, geography, biology, philosophy (mainly morals). After three years of studies, facing the drop of his classmate Mbouma, he decides to quit the Seminar. Frédéric and François decide to challenge the then famous Diplôme des Moniteurs Indigènes in 1942 and succeed it by the end of 1942.

Professional experience

Since 1941, Frédéric Tcheke is hired to teach at his former Edéa Catholic School. He is considered as a good teacher, mastering the four basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in French, elementary word problems in mathematics involving percentages, fractions and the four arithmetical operations, history and geography, biology, morals.

In 1943, he marries his teacher’s daughter Técla Jeanne Marie Omog. His marriage is a big event in the Adiè community. He builds his first house in Lom Edéa and his mother’s house. He needs more resources to meet his needs. Then he decides to move to St Michel de Nden Catholic School, near Zoetélé where he is hired by the director Father Simon Mbogle. He holds the last primary class. Travelling from Edéa to Nden is challenging. The trip starts train from Edéa to Mbalmayo (about 120 km lasting more than 12 hours), and from Mbalmayo to Nden , you do it on dusty roads. He will meet different people leaving in a more rural environment and having different cultures, amomg them Chef Bomo Minko. In July 1944, the couple will have its first son Simon. Staying there up to 1945, he will apply to be a civil servant teacher and will be admitted in 1946.

His first position obtained in 1946 as a civil servant will be held in Batouri in the East of Cameroon. He is given a house in the affluent part of Batouri downtown called Camp Blanc. Some of his students have to live in his house since their parents are in other towns such as Mouloundou, Yokadouma. He learns to cooperate with the local traditional authority Chef Bari, administrative authority the French Chef de Region, religious authority represented by the Bishop of Doume . He will meet European civil servants suggesting he might go abroad to study. Some Cameroonian civil servants are planning to organize a movement of liberation. The most conscious of these civil servants is Ruben Um Nyobe. In September 1946, Frédéric and Técla will have a second child André Désiré Nkomane Tcheke. The Batouri years will run from 1946 to 1951. From his French colleagues, Frederic will learn notions of domestic budgeting, and sometime will replace the Chef de Region when he is in tour.

In June 1951, Frédéric Tcheke is appointed Director of the Ecole Rurale d’Oyop-Ngoassé, in the subdivision of Sangmelima, Dja et Lobo. He has to cooperate with Chef Mboutou Atchamename to build the school buildings. In this part of Cameroon, young students must start school in their native language Boulou before learning some French. There are three school teachers and six classes. Some students can easily achieve the two syllabuses in one year. In 1953, his young brother Yves Nkomane Bitegye succeeds the entrance examination of Ecole Professionnelle de Douala and the CEPE. In 1955, his son Simon succeeds CEPE and the selective entrance examination to Yaoundé Lycée Général Leclerc.  In these Fifties, certain raw materials including cocoa and coffee had known courses particularly advantageous for the farmers and the incomes of the families were raised. Meanwhile, Tecla’s dressmaker skills help to improve the family incomes. Economic emancipation leads the populations  to seek  independence of the country. These years the family witnesses  many movements of revolt which are sometimes crushed in bath blood by the French colonial administration. Frederic wishes seeing his brothers Andre Bernard and Joseph Edgar having wives. He will achieve that goal in 1952 for Andre Bernard who will marry Adrienne Ngon Ngwanza (from Koukoue), and Joseph Edgar who will marry Monique Ngon Eyike Loe (from Beon) in 1956.

The  Ahmadou Ahidjo regime put in place from February 1958 is based on a ruling party, and anyone with a different  opinion is at risk. June 1958, after his son André succeeds CEPE and the entrance examination to Yaoundé Lycée Général Leclerc and Yves Nkomane graduates from his high school. Frédéric Tcheke is promoted by being appointed director of Zoetele Primary School . The school is in the vicinity of Chef  Mvondo Eko’o at Meyila. Zoetele is then an incipient city. School buildings are satisfactory and allow  to accomodate six classes while finding residences for school teachers. His professional results are satisfactory. Cameroonians do not benefit human rights. January 1960, Cameroon wins its  independence. A great number of Camerooning are appointed in managing positions. September 1961, Simon must leave Lycee  Leclerc Leclerc and registers College Liberman of Douala, a Jesuit High School where he graduates in June 1962.

Thomas François Omog Likabo

Omog Likabo is born in 1880 at Mitounga village, one of the 13 villages of Edea Canton, on the left bank of Sanaga river. Thoses villages are: Mbengue, Mitounga, Batombe, Elog Belle, Nkak a Nzock, Nzock Nkong, Pongo, Mbanda, Beon, Okot, Koukoue, Apuh a Ngock, Lom Edea. He is baptized at Catholic Mission Marienberg, on the right bank of Sanaga river at 1893.

At the time in Europe a growing interest is shown towards the African continent. An international conference Berlin Conference 1884-1885 is held in Germany that divides Africa.

Childhood

Omog is a son of Likabo, a Ndogola notable, and his wife

He is interested in genealogy and discovers very early that Mpoo is patriarch having given birth to Likande, Kalke, Mbang, Nsem, Nsouk, Biangue, …

Likande gives birth to one son Adie. Adie to two sons Mbenane and Etomene.

Education

Under the German administration, a young from Edea has no other choice that to register Buea School

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