20 Feb 2007
The Funeral Rites of Barrister Tebo Didiers in text and images
N.B There is a link to 56 funeral-related photos at the end of the article
The Moghamo-speaking people are a small community of about 80,000 people living in Batibo subdivision of Cameroon. (Read an article on Rural Batibo at this link http://www.njeitimah-outlook.com/articles/article/2076041/67937.htm )
This little community was hit by a most painful death on the 3rd of February 2007. Barrister Tebo Didiers died suddenly after a brief illness at the age of 40.
When a tree stands in the middle of a desert, the lives of many animals in the vicinity tend to gravitate around it. Tebo Didiers was one of the ‘desert trees’ within the Moghamo community. He was a brilliant lawyer and businessman that has been the driving force behind the community’s only bank. The bank (Community Credit Company) is the most visible institution that originates from rural Batibo.
Feb. 2006: Tebo Didiers (seated front left) attends a funeral in Batibo (photo: Njei M.T)
The mortal remains of Tebo Didiers were removed from the Bamenda mortuary on the 16th of February in the presence of a mammoth crowd of sympathizers from all works of life. Members of the judiciary corps distinguished themselves with their ‘court’ robes and demonstrated a professional solidarity that was the envy of everybody present. A convoy of cars several kilometers long accompanied the corpse to the High Court premises located at Bamenda station. The public was allowed to view the corpse at the court premises before moving the deceased to the Presbyterian Church Azire, Bamenda for the first funeral service.
Feb. 2007: Funeral rites for Barrister Tebo Didiers (photo: Njei M.T)
The corpse of Didiers Tebo was moved later in the evening to Batibo for an all night vigil at their family compound. During the funeral service held at the Presbyterian Church Batibo the following day February 17th, many speakers recounted the good deeds of the departed man. (See video of scene around church in Batibo during funeral service at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgByFGf4JDs
An emotionally shaken Barrister Mbah Eric Mbah, (partner in the law firm) spoke while sobbing with a barely audible voice about his boss that he repeatedly referred to as “my master”. Recounting that Tebo Didiers was everything to him, Mbah Eric pledged to do everything within his powers to render service to the law firm and the family Didiers has left behind. As he fought back tears, Mbah Eric added; “When I talk and cry it is because he leaves behind a family that is not very united”- an apparent reference to squabbles within the extended family.
Mr Sammy Nyambi, a Moghamo elite that flew in from South Africa for the burial told the gathering that the late man planned to come to South Africa in March for possible business contacts that were to benefit the community. “In this world there are basically three kinds of people- those who watch things happen, those who don’t know what is happening and those who make things happen. Maitre Didiers Tebo was definitely one of the outstanding few people that made things happen- for the general good of our people, our country and the international community.” Mr Nyambi Said.
Hon Joseph Mbah Ndam spoke as president of the Batibo Cultural and Development Association. He praised the qualities of the late man especially his belief in teamwork. “He never did anything alone. He always worked as a team.” Mbah Ndam said.
The mayor of Batibo Rural Council recounted a conversation he had with late Didiers. The mayor had recommended that he should build a nice house in Batibo to reflect his status. Didiers was quoted to have replied; “If I carry millions of francs and build a mansion in this town, how will that serve your poor population?” Mayor Mbah Tifuh pleaded with the family members to stay united if they love the late man.
Mr Njei Stanley read a speech sent by the ‘Fon’ of Batibo (H.R.H. RAM Tebo II) in which he thanked all the sympathizers for turning out in large numbers. “Our people are sincere when they turn out in large numbers to say farewell to loved ones”. He said, while describing Didiers as the “hidden driving force behind the new dawn we are witnessing in our Fondom today”.
The mother of the late man thanked the sympathizers for turning out in large numbers to honour her son. She added; “I thank Didiers because he has made me to know that he lived with people”. The congregation applauded when she pledged to give support to Didiers’ widow and let her learn from her experience of bringing up children as a widow (she has been one for about 30 years).
The widow, Tebo Comfort thanked the judiciary and every person “for the contribution to give my husband a befitting burial.”
The chief justice of the Northwest Court of Appeal praised the late barrister for his “professional competence and alertness”.
On his part, the president of the North West chapter of the Cameroon Bar Association, barrister Anthony Amazee said; “ For all the deaths of all the advocates in the North West, the general public has never shown the sympathy they have shown to the judiciary as they have done in the case of Barrister Tebo Didiers.” Describing Didiers as a “symbol of selfless humanity” Amazee added that “We feel cheated that he has been taken away very young but at the same time we are thankful that he came in the first place”.
Other eulogies were heard from professor Peter Ndifon, Amity bank, the junior brother from the U.S, the uncle, PCC Batibo and a host of others I cannot remember. I have not reported on what transpired at the Presbyterian Church Azire because I was not present there.
After the speeches, the legal robes of late Tebo Didiers were handed over to the family “for keeping and for future use” according to the tradition of the Bar Association.
Burial took place after church service at the family compound followed by sustained gun firing and the performance of traditional rites by the ‘Fon’ of Batibo. (See video of gun firing after the burial at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hKcYxe7ETg&mode=related&search= )
The reception that followed the burial transpired smoothly. Everybody ate and drank. It was indeed a demonstration of the degree of sophistication that the people of this area have attained in managing huge gatherings. The population at this occasion was overwhelming.
Fon Gwan Mbanyamsic of Guzang, Fon Forkum Richardson of Bessi and Fon Christopher Mbafor III of Ashong were in the company of the ‘Fon of Batibo’ on the day of the burial.
The following day February 18th, the ‘Fon’ of Batibo performed further traditional rites involving the extended family members of late Didiers.
N.B. View 56 more photos at this link. Photos appear in ‘thumbnail’ form. The funeral photos are the 56 last photos on the page. On some computers there may be two pages with the second page containing most of the photos. Click on each thumbnail to view a large version of any photo. You can then click on the + sign above the opened photo to view an even larger version
Njei Moses Timah