- CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF MAMA CECILIA ASSANA BUONYIH NCHECHUMA:
- “My mother preached love, peace, forgiveness, family unity and generosity. She loved her children so much, and provided their material and financial needs as much as she could”, Nchechuma Banla
- “Whatever we are in society reflects the type of upbringing we had. My mother worked so hard and sacrificed so much, for me to be what I am today”, Banla
- “My mother also went through some very painful moments because of me. In 2019 when I was in Israel for studies, my mother, age 85, was kidnapped by Amba Boys and held in the bush for 14 days, demanding a ransom of 15 million FCFA”, Banla
- “My mother had another painful period the following year (2020), when Amba burnt my house in the village”, Banla
- The Special Church Service and grand reception organised in Douala on Saturday, August 26, 2023, like that which was organised last June in Bamenda, was in fulfilment of the wish of Mama Cecilia Nchechuma, that when she dies, she should be given a befitting burial
Though it has been raining in the nation’s economic capital, Douala, most of these days, Saturday, August 26, 2023, was quite a bright day. Quite a good climate indeed, as the traditional heat in Douala especially during bright weather, was also absent.
The good climate or bright weather facilitated things for the hundreds of people that jammed the Catholic Church at Saint Louis Parish Bonaberi, Douala, for the Thanks Giving Mass that took place at the request of Senior Journalist, NCHECHUMA Pius BANLA (current Director of Human Resources at the Port Authority Douala, PAD), and family. The Thanks Giving Mass was to thank God for the fulfilled and long life of Nchechuma Banla’s mother, MAMA CECILIA ASSANA BUONYIH NCHECHUMA, who passed away on to the Lord last May, at the age of 90. The mass service was followed by a grand reception.
The Life Of Mama Cecilia Assana Buonyih Nchechuma
Mama Cecilia Assana Buonyih was born in 1933. She was a twin. Her mother gave birth to three children, with the other two being her twin brother and her elder sister. The twin brother passed away two years before her, while her elder sister who is in her 90s, is still alive.
Mama Cecilia Assana Buonyih was the first wife of Pa Nchechuma John, and coincidentally enough, gave birth to three children like her mother. Two females and a male, with the male being NCHECHUMA PIUS BANLA. While Pa Nchechuma John, a polygamist, was a peasant farmer, Mama Cecilia was in the restaurant business. She ran a restaurant in Kumbo, Bui division, and later in their native Babessi in Ngohketunjia Division.
Mama Cecilia Worked Hard To Educate His Son
The economic activity (the restaurant business) gave Mama Cecilia financial independence which greatly helped her in the upbringing of her children, especially her lone son. That Nchechuma Banla was able to enter a prestigious secondary school like St Augustine College Kumbo, and successfully went through without dropping out along the way because of fees, was thanks to the great inputs that his mother, Mama Cecilia Nchechuma, made. She continued with her relentless efforts and tremendous sacrifices towards the education of her son, until Nchechuma Banla went to Yaounde University and obtained a degree.
Fortunately for Mama Cecilia, her son, Nchechuma Banla, was constantly conscious of the tremendous efforts and sacrifices which the mother made, for him to have a good education and a good upbringing. He thus never spared any effort to make her beloved mother proud of him, and be happy that the tremendous efforts and sacrifices she made for him to have a good education and a good upbringing, were not in vain. There is no gain saying that without his mother’s untiring support, Nchechuma Banla, would not have been what he is today, and he remains very grateful to his departed mother for having greatly contributed to make him what he is today.
The Values Of Mama Cecilia Assana Buonyih Nchechuma
1) Love for immediate and extended family. She was always there during moments of need.
2) She loved her children very much, and made tremendous efforts to take care of their financial and material needs.
3) She preached love for one another, peace, forgiveness, kindness, family unity, respect, and of course the fear of the Lord.
4) She shared her property before her death. This was a clear indication of the type of person she was. She was generous almost to a fault. She nurtured that spirit of sharing any little thing she had, especially with family members.
Mama Cecilia Asked For A Befitting Burial
Meanwhile, Mama Cecilia Nchechuma was devastated in 2013 when her second daughter passed away. One can imagine what it means for an 80-year-old mother to lose her beloved daughter. She believed she had lived a good life, and was ready for death. Along the line, Mama Cecilia even went and saw the pastor to pray that she should go home to the Lord. She believed that she had accomplished what she came to do in the world, and that it was time she went. She prayed that another tragedy like that of 2013 should not befall her again, for it was for her children to bury her and not vice versa.
For one thing, when Mama Cecilia’s son became what he is today, she felt she had lived an accomplished life, and that her efforts in the world took her to the level where she could not have imagined. When her son reached this level, Mama Cecilia thought she too had reached her final destination, and was so grateful to God for her life and that of her son. She insisted that it was thus time for her to happily go home to the Lord.
But Mama Cecilia Nchechuma insisted on one thing, and it was that when she died, after having accomplished her mission on earth, and also very happy to see her son attain the level he has attained, she should be given a befitting burial. She told the pastor and other close family members, about her last wish being that she should be given a befitting burial.
Mama Cecilia Nchechuma Died On May 22, Buried On June 6
Meanwhile, Mama Cecilia Assana Buonjih Nchechuma, passed away on May 2, 2023, and was buried in Babessi, the village of the Nchechuma Family, on June 6, 2023. Before the corpse was taken to the village for burial, late Mama Cecilia’s corpse, after being removed from the mortuary of the Bamenda Regional Hospital, was first taken to the Catholic Church Bayelle, Nkwen in Bamenda for a mass service. Among the several personalities, friends and sympathisers that attended the mass service to condole with Nchechuma Banla, was the Governor of the Northwest Region, Adolphe Lele L’Afrique.
A grand reception was also organized in Bamenda to celebrate the life of Mama Cecilia Assana Buonyih Nchechuma. This was in fulfilment of the wish of Mama Cecilia Nchechuma, that when she dies, she should be given a befitting burial.
Bond Of Love Between Mother And Child
Meanwhile, as earlier indicated, a Thanksgiving Mass for the life of Mama Cecilia Assana Buonyih Nchechuma, took place at the Catholic Church, St Louis Paris Bonaberi, Douala on Saturday, August 26, 2023.
In a moving sermon, the Parish Priest of Saint Louis Parish Bonaberi Douala, Mgr. Paul Nyaga, talked of the significance of the love – bond between mother and child, like that which existed between Mama Cecilia Nchechuma, and her son, Banla. He asserted that the strong love that Mama Cecilia had for her son, could be seen in the relentless and great efforts she made, to see that her son go to school to be a man in the society.
The Rev Father also noted that three years before Mama Cecilia Nchechuma’s death, that is when she was 87 years old, she bought a pullover for her son, Banla. He asserted that the gesture showed the extent to which Mama Cecilia loved the son, Banla. The strong spirit of a loving and caring mother never diminished, even when the son became a man, and even when she got old.
The Rev Father compared the strong love which existed between Mama Cecilia and her son Banla, to that which existed between the Holy Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus Christ. He hoped that Mama Cecilia would be interceding in Heaven by the side of our Lord, on behalf of his beloved son on earth.
“The Most Joyful Place Is In Heaven”
Mgr. Nyaga said it was not surprising that Mama Cecilia Nchechuma at one point started praying that she wanted to go home to the Lord in Heaven, after she felt she had accomplished her mission on earth. The Priest stressed that the most joyful place to live is not on earth, but that it is rather in heaven by the side of the Lord. He stressed that people must strive to live a God-fearing life on earth, so that when they die, the gate of Heaven will be open to them. The Priest said from the story of the life of Mama Cecilia Assana Buonyih Nchechuma, she lived a God-fearing and fulfilled life, and God also gave her long life on earth. The Priest prayed for the soul of the departed Mama Cecilia Nchechuma to rest in peace.
Why Another Mass Service And Grand Reception In Douala
As aforementioned, the special mass service at the Catholic Church, St Louis Parish Bonaberi, Douala on Saturday, August 26, 2023, was for the Nchechuma Banla and family to give Thanks to the Lord for the long and fruitful life of their beloved mother, MAMA CECILIA A SSANA BUONYIH NCHECHUMA, who peacefully passed away, or better still, whom the Lord called home, on May 22, 2023 at the age of 90. As for the grand reception, Nchechuma Banla explained that: “My mother kept insisting that when she dies, we should give her a befitting burial. That is what we have trying to do today, to celebrate her life”.
As for the special mass service, Nchechuma Banla explained that besides being an opportunity to thank God for the very fruitful and long life that her late mother lived on earth, the mass service was also an opportunity for friends who did not take part in the funeral programme in the Northwest Region, to take part in the programme in Douala. He said that he has many friends in Douala who were angry that they could not participate in the burial of his late mother, and so the Thanksgiving Mass was an opportunity for them to participate in the funeral.
Heavy Attendance Of The Occasion In Douala
The August 26 occasion at the Saint Louis Parish Bonaberi, Douala, was heavily attended. One of the several personalities that attended the occasion was the Deputy General Manager of PAD, CHARLES MICHAUX MOUKOKO NJOH. Five Northwest Fons also attended the occasion. Worthy of note, that Nchechuma Banla is also very much involved in culture and tradition. He is not only a traditional title holder, but one of the Kingmakers in his native Babessi Fondom. That is why he also bears the name, NCHETIEVIE, which was very pronounced when he was working at CRTV.
Many journalists also attended the August 26 occasion to join Nchechuma Banla in celebrating the life of his beloved departed mother, Mama Cecilia. Some big names in the journalism profession like CHARLY NDI CHIA, BERNARD EKO, Hon. WILLIAM PETER MANDIO (Mbam and Inoubou), and NYOH MOSES were all in attendance. The reception was emceed by another big name in Cameroon journalism, FON ECHEKIYE.
Nchechuma Banla Pays Tribute To Late Mother
Meanwhile, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the reception, NCHECHUMA BANLA asserted that whatever we are in society today reflects the type of upbringing we had. He paid glowing tribute to his late mother, for her great input which enabled him to get a good education and a good upbringing. “Without my mother’s input, I would not have been what I am today. She put in a lot of effort to get me to where I am today”, he asserted. Nchechuma Banla disclosed that he also has a lot of landed property in the village, which his mother bought for him.
Besides the happy stories, Nchechuma Banla was also in pains that her beloved mother also went through some very difficult and painful periods in her life, because of him. He disclosed that the mother was kidnapped by Amba Boys on November 4, 2019, when he was in school in Israel. He disclosed that her mother who then was 86 years old, was kept by the Amba Boys in the bush for 14 days, as they demanded a ransom of 15 million FCFA for her release. He further disclosed that less than one year later, her mother was again traumatised by Amba boys, who on March 8, 2020, burnt his house in the village which he took nine years to build.
Nchechuma Banla said the Thanksgiving Mass and reception organised to celebrate the life of her late mother, was also meant for him to express profound gratitude to his beloved and departed mother, for the pains she was viciously subjected to in 2019 because of him. A woman of 86 was forced to pass 14 days in the hands of Amba in the bush. Nothing could have been so cruel!
Senior Journalist, Nchechuma Banla Nchetievie
Meanwhile, it should be noted that though many people associate Senior Journalist, Nchechuma Banla’s career in the media more with the years he was at CRTV, he actually started his long career in journalism in the private press, where he worked for a number of newspapers in the 90s, before joining CRTV. He later left CRTV for a job at the Port Authority of Douala, PAD, where he worked in the Communication Department.
During Nchechuma Banla’s early years at PAD, he made a wise decision to also go back to school, precisely the Catholic University in Douala, for further studies. He thus had to live the lifestyle in the West of having to work and also go to school. Having to work and pay your fees. Not an easy task. Suffice it to say Nchechuma Banla at the end of his studies at the Catholic University, obtained a Master Decree. He usually makes jokes about an adult having to go back to school.
Nchechuma Banla was along the line at PAD appointed the Director of Communications at PAD; a post he held for a number of years. He is currently the Director of Human Resources at PAD. Worth adding, that Nchechuma Banla is also a member of the Northwest Regional Assembly from his Ngohketunjia Division.