Author: Tchassa Kamga

Like you, I am many things. I read, write and breathe at odd times.

Empty Cups

In Anticipation of Coffee: http://www.instagram.com/tchassakamga

In the end, it comes down to one sip. The last drip. The moment you hear the faint drained intolerance to the unsaid bits.

Echos unspoken, crawling behind the smiles — fake. You know they know. You know because you can’t unknow the ‘unuttered’ hate.

But you sip. You can’t spit. Because you know good and bad things come in threes. You know it’s inevitable. Variation is the way of the end, the truth of growth, the price and prize of change.

So you sip. Cold, hot, warm, milk, dark, chocolate. You sip. A blip. A spot. A smudge. You sip.

Because only empty cups get to be filled again.

 

Originally published on our medium publication: Self-ish.

The Language Of The Heart

 

But who needs a reason when the language of the heart speaks so loud?

I don’t mind that she leaves her underwear on the floor most of the time. It’s not because of some bullshit feminist mindset, it’s just that I do it all the time. And if she can clean up after my mess, why can’t I feel okay to clean up after her?

When I asked her to marry me, I knew she’d say yes. But it was equally important that the stakes were high. We’d come through nearly a decade of love, hate, distance, discovery, and self-examination. I knew I was never going to be enough for her dreams. I knew I’d had to work at myself. I also understood that she had her demons and would need my help. The reason why she was reading books on marriage lately. At least, she was trying- actively. Me? I still needed to recede into my cave to pull the strength to finally pop the question.

And I’m glad I did when I was most vulnerable.

I don’t think vulnerability is sexy. Neither is it the new cool- to be in touch with your emotions and all that media gender equality crap.

I like how real she is when she opens up to me. It freaks me out when she looks at me with those big brown eyes. It’s terrifying. Knowing that she could do anything for me. That she would turn her back on her family in a split second just for me.

That’s what terrified me when we knelt down in the room that evening.

She was going to say yes to my introverted mind. She was going to say yes to my years of baggage and loneliness. To all the times I had asked a girl out and either broken up or been broken. She was going to say yes to the future conversations that our families would use as a vent to pull skeletons from years ago.

Or not.

About the time when she was the cause of all my life failure. Or the time when she’d wanted me to move in with her and be her slave on the other end of the world.

God, I was so naïve.

But her kisses make sense now. Even though I wish (secretly) they’d be less- I understand. I understand her. I understand her need to be close- emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. We’d both wanted this for so long. For so many years, that having it for those first few days drained me.

But she’d wanted it more than I’d ever had.

For that, I love and respect her. I respect her need. She deserves my best. Not because she’s special and loving and cute and hardworking and prayerful and really, really kind.

But because I love her.

I don’t even know why I love her. For all these years, I’ve dated other women. I’ve kissed other women. I’ve imagined myself building a family with another. I’ve been infatuated, I’ve sprawled with desire over women more physically attractive, more sensual, more emotionally stable (include other unnecessary relationship criteria).

I’m not proud of my streak. But I’ll own it any time, any day. Because all that has made me who and what I am today- me.

I don’t know why I have chosen to spend the rest of my existence on earth with her- in my intellectual respite, I’ve computed the logic behind my decision. The answer?

Nothing.

There’s no reason why she’s the perfect fit. There’s no reason why I know I’ll have to talk about my feelings and fight and believe that we can grow and change together. There’s still no reason why I have chosen to start my family with her.

But who needs a reason when the language of the heart speaks so loud?

Originally published on our Medium Publication- Self-ish.

I Must Pick Myself Up

Because…

  1. We all have problems.
  2. My solution works for me and yours would work for you.
  3. I cannot live your life and you cannot live mine.
  4. My destiny is dictated by the choices I make (or don’t make).
  5. Because life isn’t fair.
  6. And life, she owes me nothing.
  7. Complaining is draining.
  8. We all have 24 hours in a day. Many have created value with theirs.
  9. My heart will be broken.
  10. I define my version of success.
  11. No matter what I do, I will disappoint some people.
  12. No matter what I do, some people will be disappointed by what I do.
  13. Negativity is self-fulfilling.
  14. So is positivity.
  15. I cannot have a conversation with you if you don’t want to have one with me.
  16. I am responsible for what I do with my emotions.
  17. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
  18. My success is predicated on how much I work for it.
  19. Luck doesn’t exist- only opportunities that meet with a prepared recipient.
  20. Overnight success takes time.
  21. Love is both urgent and patient.
  22. Gratitude is a muscle. It can be exercised.
  23. Miracles happen only when you believe.
  24. Depression is real.
  25. Depression can be overcome.
  26. I am unique. So are you.
  27. I cannot change the past.
  28. I cannot see the future.
  29. Love is a choice.
  30. Death is certain.
  31. What I do between now and then is up to me.
  32. I can.
  33. You can too.

Hi. I’m Tchassa Kamga and I write. I currently live in Buea, Cameroon. I also host a podcast and I freeze stuff on Instagram. You can find me on Twitter,Snapchat, and Facebook.
Together with my good friend
C. Befoune, we started Self-ish where we share personal essays on Self Improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships. This post was originally published there.

Who am I?

It’s the parts that you see. And what you don’t see.

It’s the layers.

The lives I’ve lived and those I seek to become.

It’s never what you want, rather, what you have.

I’m only unique because every day, I listen to the silence that tells me who I was and who I must be.

I listen to the silence of my thoughts because it contains more than we fathom.

I’m like you. Different. We all are.

Most choose to be like everyone else and get lost in a sea of carbon hypocrites.

I try, every single day, to be happy. To do what makes me happy. Because I know that when I’m happy, I make others happy.

I try to live in the moment.

I try to improve on who I was yesterday.

I study every day. I learn every day. About me. About man. About the world.

Who am I? I’m a lot of things.

Just like you.

 

Originally published on Self-ish.
Are you on Twitter? Me too!

 

The simple things that brought me joy this week.

I write every day. I only publish when I feel worried enough. For the past few days, I haven’t published — I haven’t written words that I feel have pieces of my soul in it. I don’t even know how to explain what that means. I just know when it’s not it. This week, I haven’t found it.

So, I’ve been trying something else.

My drafts contain the reason why this week is critical to my career. It involves severed bonds, coping mechanisms and healthy ways to stay on top of personal failures.

In that draft folder, I also have a recollection of the video games I played with my brother; how much they made us who we are today. It wasn’t until I wrote that down that I realized how much video games had impacted my life, and still will.


These three things include things whose roles in my life I am just coming across. It is the minimalist call of these actions that brings me gratitude in times when I need that feeling the most. What are they then?

1. Long walks

With my cab fare in hand, I’ll latch unto my backpack and do something that brings me peace in ways I never appreciated.

I’ll walk.

I don’t exercise regularly. I don’t pay attention to what I eat. I suck at all sports. I don’t know my MBI. One thing I do know though, is that for the past 6 months, not walking has made me seep into this mental place where I don’t like the shape I see in my mirror.

By most descriptions, I am definitely not overweight. But I don’t look so athletic either.

I still need to figure out why or how I am able to walk these long distances or stand all day and feel nothing. I might be a mutant. Nice.

I’ve turned to observing the city as I walk down home. I imagine conversations and describe scenes to myself. Sometimes, I take out the coins to pay for the cab, but I just hold unto them, then, walk home.

It casts a soothing spell on me. I feel a healing from the inside. It’s as though the city hears my pain and swathes it with every footfall.

2. Random Notes on Evernote

I’ve completed more texts on Evernote in the past week than in the last month. I’ve also found that I enjoy leaving sentences halfway, knowing I cannot finish them at the moment. It’s a daring anticipation, waiting for the words to come as I pen the ones already present.

It was strange at the start. I usually start and finish my poems or posts immediately. I hardly leave texts to be edited later. This, I found, through massive consumption of how-to’s on Medium, wasn’t a good practice. Now, I l edit at at later time, taking up to weeks at a time.

This has allowed me to provide a skeleton for the book ideas I have and to do so freely. I don’t have to complete the work I start at that time. I know I will. And even when I write a complete text, I let it simmer for a bit.

Given the number of incomplete drafts I now have, I know I cannot lack what to write about every single day. Is this a bad practice? I don’t know. Between you and me…I don’t care.

What you’re reading was written straight on Medium a few hours ago. I think that writing down my thoughts allows my ideas to flow more. It’s less limiting and it reduces the pressure on my desire to create work that touches the soul.

3. Face to Face Conversations

I am an introvert. I have learned how to be comfortable around people in a way that makes me seem extroverted. But, if given the choice, I’d rather be by myself.

I do my best work when I’m alone. You should see me after a party — a wreck, physically unable to accommodate humans.

One of the most common problems introverts face is energy level management: knowing your threshold. It’s important to know how much of humans you can handle, for how long, and how long it would take to recharge.

I take one full night of alone time after spending a day around people. But, if I have to interact with these people, it could take more. Last Saturday for example, I attended a party. I had fun. A lot. I danced, drank and slept on a couch. I really, really needed to let out that night. Guess what? It took me two days to recover. Not from the hangover, but from the interactions with other people.

However, I’ve been able to get inspiration for posts, stories, articles, and even just be entertained, by having face to face conversations.

Because I found it hard to create what I wanted, I started paying closer attention to the people I was with. Listening to what they were saying. Watching their body language. Asking questions. Laughing at their jokes. Paying compliments when necessary.

It’s one of those simple things that make life incredibly worthwhile: having a conversation.

I have lots of them with myself. But it’s only when I talk with others that I hear myself even more through them.


A lot has changed in my life recently. A lot more is coming ahead. I’ve never been this grateful for everything I have and glad that I am living in the greatest era of all time!

From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank you for reading this. Please, click on the heart to recommend this piece. It gets more readers to see. You know how much my self-worth depends on this…so…euh…thanks. 😀

If you enjoyed this post, please share using the social media buttons below. Don’t hesitate to ask me anything on twitter.

This post was originally published on Self-ish.

The Thing About Growing Up

Or what happens when you get a little bit mindful about your choices

I know you don’t read a lot of my stuff and…
I read your stuff- she cut in.
Pause.
Huh. Really?
Yeah.
So…you read about
the time when I got my heart broken and I cried for a day?, I said, half hoping she’d say no.
Yes, my Mum replied, I read that.

So, I had a Whatsapp Call with a special someone today. We’re a typical Cameroonian family: we talk about plans for the future without trying to express our personal, usually differing, ideals; we spend christmas together — the first few days blissful, except for when the undying skeletons creep; we love each other but, when anyone says “I love you”, there is this, slight, very, uncomfortable, pause. *clears throat*

Ergo, the idea of a conversation in which we’d talk about my career, plans for the future, my dissatisfaction with my role as the first child, my opinion about her career, my relationships, and my take on responsibility, goes further to cement a singular thought I’ve been having:

I may actually be growing up. Dammit.

You see, this year: I had the best birthday gift, I gained more gratitude for the people in my life, I loved, I destroyed ( single handedly, and I am not being self-deprecating here) one of the strongest bonds I had ever forged with a friend- a brother. I’m still reeling from that loss. I’ll be okay. Thanks for asking.

I’m still incredibly amazed by how much I have been able to handle these situations.

Disclaimer: I had help from colleagues, friends and family. I just like to think that I am a hero. Meh.

Anyway, my mother and I talked. Remember the part where I said we were a typical Cameroonian family? Well, I lied. What can I say? I love me some drama. *wink*

We’re atypical. My siblings definitely have their own narrative about this, but, from my vantage point, having parents who actually make an argument for their decisions in your life, isn’t exactly “ Cameroonian”.

Normally, if you’re smart, you become a medical doctor. No questions asked. If you don’t make it through entrance exam- you do biochemistry, ace it, get a scholarship and leave the country. And oh, if you’re the first child, don’t forget to reel in your siblings when you get “established”. Whatever established means.

I have a tendency to replay important conversations in my head- text messages, meaningful encounters- like that time in the restaurant. I seem almost out of my body listening to myself — fragmenting my thought process. Of course, in time, these recollections become flawed. I try as much possible to milk them before I can’t trust the details.

If the one with Mum today is fresh, then I can rely on my conclusions:

1. You’re never too old to be a kid

I have come to terms with the fact that my mother will always worry. Same for my father. It was a pain the size of a hard drive at some point in my life( read: until very recently). Now, it feels more like a piece of fish in my spacious teeth- it’s annoying, but I can take it out when I want to. Plus, it feels sort of nice, you know. *smiles*

I feel really old at 27. Well… sometimes. But, the people I hangout with make me feel like a kid. All the time. I love the balance. It keeps me in check. And I know I can always count on my mother — she’ll worry, complain, try to make me get a ‘safe’ career path — because that is her job.

2. Sometimes, you need to stop being a kid

I’m currently working with a team that suits and stretches my skills. I don’t get time to “relax”. The work is challenging. For a lazy, stubborn writer like me, I looove ditching projects half-way. Once I don’t like an idea- meh. Dead.

With work ( and with life), I can’t do that. The team counts on me. The mission must be completed! (Did someone say Metal Slug?) I cannot run to my mother and say: sorry. I know my parents will always (want to) be there for me. And I get it- I won the parent lottery. I am certain that when I my own child, it will be the exact same feeling. However, in gratitude for what they’ve done for me , I need to get my life together. For them. For me.

3. “Sometimes, you need to leave your family, so that you can be stable enough to help your family” — hK:

A friend said that to me months ago. I was worried about how best to get to my siblings on ze search of a career. Isn’t it ironic how good I am at proffering advice I have a hard time heeding?

Today, I told my mother about how much she had no choice when it came to worrying about me and my siblings. And how I did. I have a choice. I cannot let my first born son incontinence ( is that even a thing?) stop me from living “my life”. I have goals, dreams, and plans. Lists of books to publish. Podcast conversations to have. Scripts to finish. Ideas to test. Places to see. If I get hung up on solving family problems ( I don’t have that many, trust me. I just take them a tad too seriously), when do I get the time to make my dent? I need to chill.

Inner self: yeah dude, chill ( I just watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” *grins* * does 3 second air guitar solo*

4. You always have a choice about how you feel

Like when I said “ I love you” at the end of the conversation. We’re not living ze dream. Our bank accounts aren’t sputtering passive income. My job isn’t “fun”. My parents are not “the world’s best parents”. Heck, I don’t even have a couch! ( I’m working on the couch part though. Thanks Q. 🙂 ).

After my recent break-up, I internalized my pain. It was a lot of pain for me. I justified it with messages, texts, contexts. I even went back to work with more vigor. Then, I had a one day crash — and a one week crash. Then I wrote this.

With my return from ze dark side, I started mindfulness: I label my thoughts — useful, useless — depending on what they are at the time.

I don’t need to “delete” the thoughts. I just need to know — is this useful? Is this useless? That’s it. It takes practice. And I am pretty bad at it ( getting there…). But I know this keeps me from replaying unnecessary conversations. I may not be the happiest person on earth, but I know I am responsible for how I feel about whatever happens to me.

I still have a lot of things to figure out. I still want to travel and write. I still want to have epic conversations (even though my LGG4 gave up on me and I lost months of conversations and pictures that I will never recover * takes deep breath to calm himself down*). I have a lot of things I need to work on. And, I have someone who will die for me if she needed to.

I know she won’t read this ( she actually hardly reads my work. I mean…come on…why are you reading this self-deprecating renegade ramble?), just know that I love you Mum.

And I love you too for reading this far. Thank you.

This is not to all the Mums. This is not to all the friends who make our lives worth it. This is not to hard workers and sweet colleagues. This is not to adorable siblings and best friends.

This is to you who finds a reason to be grateful and to keep being better at growing up.


Tchassa Kamga lives in Buea, Cameroon. This part of the country just got its internet reinstated! Previously, he’s had to travel a long distance to post. However, this was written in his pyjamas. At home. Under myopic influence.

He’s learning the intricacies of curating events and documenting them at the fine dining restaurant and cultural hub- IYA Buea. He has three episodes on his podcast . He also takes blatant pictures on Instagram.

He co-writes with C. Befoune ( he has a not-so secret crush on her) on this publication — Self-ish . Their goal is to share the lessons they’ve learnt from multiple sources in the domains of Self-improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.

Easily get him on Twitter.

 

What Happens When ‘They’ Have Faith in You


Click to Check out my Station on Anchor!!

After spending over three months without access to the internet, I can comfortably tell you that my life went on normally — sort of. I found out — among other things — the following:

1. My fear of failure easily leads me through a cycle : despair, then mild depression, then the search for the easiest exit.

In secondary school ( and even during my undergraduate years), I could do “mini-quits” — where I’d disappear from school from a couple of weeks, totally immerse myself in whatever new interest I’d had, then return for exams or catch-up with notes from my classmates.

Eh, good times.

Because I was smart enough to pass tests and major exams, no one noticed the momentary world I’d need to swathe myself through my moments of resistance.

This had always worked for me. Then I became productively accountable to another human — I got a job. What I found out with an employer ( who actually cares about you) is that you can’t climb into a self pity and stay home without showing up for work. You can’t carry a sad mane around the office and expect smiles and pats on the back. You can’t deliver sub-par work and expect cakes. Accountability demands and upgrade in dealing with self-inflicted despair. Which leads me to…

2. When you have people who expect much from you, you tend to do much.

“No expectations, no disappointment”– the popular maxim goes( I hope it’s not as popular as my brain thinks it is). This holds true for expectations in others — if you don’t expect much from anyone, you hardly get disappointed with anything that happens. You know, because you didn’t exactly root for or against his/her ability to achieve anything. This, my friend, is safe.

Too safe.

My boss expects a tonne from me. So do the members of my new family aka colleagues. I was navel gazing and licking my broken heart ( yep, doing it for the nth time), forgetting to see how much they’d invested in me. I almost irreversibly let them down.

The fact that you’re reading this means I didn’t. And that I have learnt more important things about love, life, work, family and friendships. Things like…

Real friends get worried when you quit too easily. They’re not afraid to tell you in your face.

Real friends don’t sugarcoat your laziness. They don’t make it a mean joke either.

Real mentors don’t babysit you. They show you the way. You have to walk it.

Weak ties are powerful. They could pay for your airplane ticket. But you’ll never know if you stay depressed in your room.

Business plans are important. Learn how to write one. It could save your life. Or fund it.

Same for life plans. “If you don’t know where goal post is, where do you shoot?” ( Somebody said that. I don’t remember who. 🙂 )

Resistance is real. Acknowledge it. Respect it. But do what you must.

You are responsible for how you handle your emotions. 

I now practice mindful meditation- I label my thoughts: “useless”, “useful”. I’ve stopped draining with replays of “useless” conversations in my mind.

If you think you don’t have friends, maybe you’re right. But maybe you aren’t a friend either.

 We all have 24 hours. You get to pick your family, gain weak ties and garner identity capital. It’s important to learn how to let go, how to be honest with ourselves.

Guilty as charged. 80% of previous paragraph comes from Dr. Meg Jay.

I have always rushed over my issues by writing every itty bitty tiny things that happens to me. Now I know better: everything takes time. Heartbreaks. Disappointment. Loss. 

Because we see our neighbours smiles and carry on doesn’t mean all is well. 

It’s better to stay on the road to recovery than to rush (with the mind) to the end. The whiplash may be lethal.

And love yourself. You’re worthy.


Tchassa Kamga lives in Buea, Cameroon. This part of the country just got its internet reinstated! Previously, he’s had to travel a long distance to post. However, this was written in his pyjamas. At home. Under myopic influence.

He’s learning the intricacies of curating events and documenting them at the fine dining restaurant and cultural hub- IYA Buea. He has three episodes on his podcast . He also takes blatant pictures on Instagram.

He co-writes with C. Befoune on this publication — Self-ish . Their goal is to share the lessons they’ve learnt from multiple sources in the domains of Self-improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.

Easily get him on Twitter.

The Day I didn’t Want to Talk To Anyone

The Bimbia Slave Site Captured with my LG G4

I’m scared of the direction my life has been headed in the past couple of months. I dropped out from my graduate programme. I took my first real job working with a small (but impressive) team where we’re singlehandedly sculpting the cultural landscape of the country — the potential is huge.

My poetry collection sits in this same computer unpublished. I haven’t posted anything on the internet in weeks.

Oh, and I got dumped. I could tell you about how painful it was. Or what I wish I hadn’t said or done. Or the lessons I learned or how much I would miss her. Truth is, up until recently, I thought I had ‘survived’ this. I hadn’t. I may not. In fact, given my propensity towards extreme emotional engagement without building the initial required foundation upon which most long term relationships are built, I woke up a few mornings later and sobbed.

I cry when I watch emotive movies or read texts with similar properties. I cried when I received a surprise birthday cake for the first time with my name on it.

I still consider myself cold and unemotional. I’ve trained myself to not express surprise, fear or elation unexpectedly. Dealing with subtle forms of rejection in secondary school and during my first years in the Uni gave me that skill.

That morning, I sat up and prepared to head to work, I don’t remember the exact sequence of events that led to my sobs, but I felt a deep sense of loss, like my reason for existing had been stolen. I could not find words to describe what my mind didn’t comprehend. As I struggled to make sense of it, I muttered to myself in hope that words would soothe the excruciating feeling that boiled in my abdomen. It made no sense. Yet, the tears flowed. They were hot. Enough to make me stop. Enough to let off a little of the pressure from within. I’d never cried over a breakup before.

Great. One more item off my bucket list.

I washed my face and wore the adequate thespian features. Then I left home.

Because that wasn’t the day I couldn’t talk to anyone.


Last month, someone on twitter interviewed me for her dissertation. She said she’d come across my writing on the web and her work focused on black writers living on the continent. Another amazing writer said I was quite a talent. I felt important. This is not to say that I have a bad case of low self-esteem.

Because I do have a mild case of it.

I don’t think I am particularly handsome. It is for this reason that I feel very nervous in front of anyone’s camera.

I don’t think I am a good writer. I sometimes fear that I may die and never accomplish my dreams. Of course, you will tell me it is probably a legitimate fear that everyone has. Honey, I get you, but I am not everyone.

I am me. I’m scared.

I feel like a fraud. I try hard to hide it behind jokes, and smart talk ( boy, do I steal from books). Which is why it takes me a long time to trust anyone to open up and really get them to enter my world.

(Fun fact, you ( yes you reading this) probably know more about me from reading me on the internet that most people in my immediate surroundings. That’s how much of me I am able to hide from everyone around me)

On the other side of this deep fear of disappointing my inner self, I also have a sense of things I can do that no one else could. I play with words in ways that never seizes to amaze people around me. I speak two languages and I ( sort of sing). I am also sort of funny — when I’m not depressed.

As you can see.

I am very much in touch with the things I don’t like: I find it hard to do work that is algorithmic. I thrive with creative tasks. However, I have recently observed that even heuristic tasks if given constraints, offset my juices and literally- believe me when I tell you- render me totally incapable of making coherent sentences.

Yesterday, during a workshop, I had to create a story from a theme I absolutely hated. I think my brain died for the next half of the session. My ideas mortified instantaneously.

But, it wasn’t because I was scared of dying alone, unfulfilled and without dreams that I decided not to talk to anyone. I was because I had had enough and I was exhausted. For the first time in months, I’d reached the trough of my mild depression and I decided I didn’t want to do anything. Except this.


When I woke up that morning, everything was the same; the car horns through my window, the sun’s sly smile pouring through. My eyelids were heavy, but my stomach too.

“I could read a few pages before I go up there”, I thought to myself as I grabbed the Samsung tablet on the table.

A journey to the loo wiped the thoughts of another dive at the warm covers. It was my special moment with myself. While I did my business, I flipped to my ebook app, ‘Born Standing Up’ was open.

As much as I’d never paid attention to Steve Martin’s work as an entertainer, I noticed that his writing gave me insights into his life that would never leave me. I quietly continued my not so challenging multitasking ordeal.

8.15am

I knew because my phone alarm started ringing as soon as I got into the room. Steve was saying something about Nina Lawrence and her change of name. But I knew I couldn’t afford another sluggish read.

8.30am.

Fifteen minutes couldn’t have gone this fast. I knew something wasn’t right that morning the moment I started freezing during my workout. I wasn’t unlike the rushing antelopes away from forest fire deep in the country. Or the birds leaving the island before the volcano.

Even when I took the cab, my head moved with difficulty. My smile felt plastic. I could hear my voice. Even I didn’t believe my destination when I told the driver.

In a sudden rush, I wrote an email to my best friend in over 11 years. The network was shitty but I was grateful for Gmail’s HTML version . I told her what I was going to do. I know what I wrote in the email, but I couldn’t believe I was going to do it. When my phone rang and I saw my superior calling, I silenced the device and turned the screen face down.

I wasn’t in control anymore. That was when he told me what we were going to do that afternoon.
End of part one.


Tchassa Kamga lives in Buea, Cameroon. This part of the country hasn’t had internet in over two months. So, he’s had to travel a long distance to post this. He’s learning the intricacies of curating events and documenting them at the fine dining restaurant and cultural hub- IYA Buea. He has three episodes on his podcast . He also takes blatant pictures on Instagram.

He co-writes with C. Befoune on this publication — Self-ish . Their goal is to share the lessons they’ve learnt from multiple sources in the domains of Self-improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.

You can easily get him on Twitter.

#IYAGriotNights: Episode Two #Poetry #Events #Buea #Cameroon

https://soundcloud.com/tchassakamga/is-spoken-word-for-you

“Poetry is for the bourgeoisie”; “Poetry is for the literary elite”; “Poetry is like wine, you need to be either a lover of the craft or an expert to enjoy it”.

That must have been what was going through the minds in the audience of the very first #IYAGriotNight. On that 12th of December, 2016, the few curious individuals who settled at the lounge didn’t know what to expect. A majority had never seen a live Spoken Word Poetry event before. Many were students of the University and as well as Silicon Mountain enthusiasts. For others, this was an initial visit to the erstwhile Alliance Franco Camerounaise. In its stead, “IYA: Food and Culture”.

“IYA” means “mother” in many Bantu languages.

“[IYA] is a canvas upon which the community is called to create. What you see now was once a dream in our minds. It represents the love our mothers, our IYAs had for us. In Africa, we don’t have a culture of mothers saying “I love you”. They show this love through meals; through the incredibly rich recipes handed from one generation to the next. That is what the “Food” part of IYA represents. But what many haven’t seen yet, which our communal ethos is built on, is the “Culture”. We have a huge repertoire of collective Arts that the world is dying to discover. The IYA Griot Nights is one more step in this direction.”

The IYA Griot Nights is a monthly event whose sole purpose is to remind us where we’re from. A griot is a professional oral historian. Our grandmothers were griots- they told stories of war, of love, of the stubborn child or the greedy king. Stories of “sense pass king”.

Leslie Meya “Kibelle”

Poetry is just one form of oral expression. It is one of the most beautiful tools of storytelling. Spoken Word Poetry needs the artist to perform his/her poem. This makes it not only entertaining but especially important in conveying emotions to the viewers.

The Cameroonian spoken word scene has birthed global sensation like Stone Karim Mohamad. In Yaoundé, the Goethe Institute has hosted events and competitions that has seen world class performances. However, the impact of the Spoken Word Movement hasn’t reached this part of the country yet. But this is changing.

World class Spoken Word Performers include: Erykah Badu, Grand Corps Malade, Soul Williams and Souleyman Diamanka

During this first event, the audience was so inspired that a few had their own pieces read on the spot. Simo Jandie gave us a witty and humorous reading of his piece from his Facebook post titled: “My Power Bank”.

That evening, the photographer and media personality- Tito Valery, who happens to be a Spoken Word artist, shared a lot with the audience. He said when he heard about the event, he swore he would travel from Yaoundé to attend it. And he did.

Tito Valery

Nine performers took to the stage: Monique Kwachou, Njoka Mavin, Leslie Meya, Malcolm Koh, Orlyne Passy Nopoudem (duet with me), Nzonda Kenneth and Erwin Ayota. Halfway during the performance, members of the audience opted, on the spot, to perform pieces of their own.

Nzondah Kenneth
Njoka Mavin
Koh Malcolm

It was an emotionally laden event that ended with the audience looking forward to the next #IYAGriotNight.

Poets prepare your quills, viewers prepare your minds. A date has been set, the venue is maintained and the menu rich with emotions galore!

Pin your calendars! Saturday, 28th of February, 2016, we welcome you once more to the gust of Zeitgeist that IYA is blowing on the cultural scene of the nation. This time around, two critical conditions.

1. Poets: No papers on stage. http://bit.ly/02griotpoets

2. Audience: No ticket= no entry. http://bit.ly/02GriotAudience

The IYA Griot Night will always be free. You just need to grab a ticket from Eventbrite. This ticket grants you a seat and a drink.

New rule: poets send video versions of your performance by Tuesday, the 17th of January.

There are no themes, all we need is: you, your story and your emotions. Follow this link for to fill the submission form.

There would be a Spoken Word Poetry Know/Share session at IYA to teach the intricacies of Spoken Word performance. These would be 2–3 hour sessions facilitated by the Spoken Word Curator during which skills and techniques for better Spoken Word Performances would be exhibited real time.

In order to be part of the audience, follow this link to secure your seat: http://bit.ly/02GriotAudience

Come and watch history being made, again.

L-R: Tchassa Kamga and Orlyne Passy Nopoudem

Organiser of IYA Griot Nights: IYA BUEA
Facebook iyabuea Twitter@iya_buea
Nestled afoot Mount Cameroon in a colonial build that once house the French consulate, IYA is home to a world-class restaurant, cocktail lounge, literary café and creative spaces.
IYA, a one of a kind gastronomic experience, pays homage to Cameroon’s rich and diverse culinary and cultural heritage, balancing traditional elements and modernity in a multipurpose space. Check our website — 
www.iyabuea.com — for more information and do not hesitate to get in touch with us. It’s always a pleasure.

My first ever #spoken word trial is on SoundCloud!

 

1-zi9bczftg5cojqxhgstq6qWhen I read this text in March, I felt like I had to give it life. Even if I didn’t have the technical skills required, I couldn’t help it.
And even when I did, I let it sit in my computer for all this while, gathering digital dust. I feel the time has come for me to let the world know what I can do and to judge me for it.

This is just the beginning. I would love to get your feedback and suggestions.

It is in French. But do not worry, I have another one prepared in English- a text another wonderful Ghanaian blogger wrote.

They are the words of a mother, saying goodbye to her child. Probably because she ( the mother) will be taken away because of the war.

According to the author of this text, it is the image you see that prompted her to write that piece. That she felt connected to the baby.

Credits:
Text: Anne Marie Befoune ( www.twitter.com/befoune) Tu Ne Te Souviendra pas…click to read.
Background Audio: Phenakist – Wasting-my-young-years_instrumental