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Africa’s Collective Memory

L.I.S.A. Film … „Un testament vivant“ …


The Minister of Arts and Culture of Cameroon came to launch the works at the AfricAvenir International Foundation.

"My happiness is great to speak today in Bonabéri, at the AfricAvenir International Foundation, which I have personally attended since its birth, to open the International Meeting in Douala on the transmission of the collective African memory [...] That the AfricAvenir International Foundation has decided to devote several days and resources to the celebration of the transmission of the collective African memory is a commendable and timely initiative. Indeed, certain arts, know-how, social practices and rituals as well as endogenous knowledge about nature and the universe, which are sometimes priceless, are threatened with extinction in our countries: it is urgent to identify, map, archive and safeguard them. For all these elements link us to our memory, they link us to our common history, they link us to our terroirs, they link us to our territories [...]" These were the words of H.E. Professor Mouelle Kombi at the opening of the International Meeting in Douala.

The AfricAvenir International Foundation has won the wager of a successful International Meeting on the publication of the first results of its 3-year project on collective memory in partnership with the Gerda Henkel Stiftung: His Excellency Professor Narcisse MOUELLE KOMBI, Minister of Arts and Culture of Cameroon came personally, and proceeded to the solemn opening of the International Meeting in Douala, held at the headquarters of the AfricAvenir International Foundation, on Monday, February 29, 2016. Minister MOUELLE KOMBI will thus go down in history as the first member of the Government to officially come to the headquarters of the said foundation. Moreover, it is the current Minister of Arts and Culture who will make this first highly significant gesture, symbolizing the Government's concern for the safeguarding of cultural heritage. For the first time also, the Governor of the Coastal Region, in the person of Mr. IVAHA DIBOUA Samuel, has responded of his presence, at the invitation of Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III to the great meeting of several countries, notably Gambia, Germany, Mali, South Korea, Cameroon, France, Gabon and Ghana. Several Kings from all regions of Cameroon such as Senator and Lamido du Logone-Birni HM Mahamat Bahar Marouf, HM Old King Priso Ngom Priso Superior Chief Bankon of Abo-North, HM Me Makolle Jean-Jacques Superior Chief Bankon of Abo-South, Senator HM Jean-Marie Mama, Doh Ganyonga III, Fon of Bali-Nyonga, to name but a few, effectively honoured the appointment.

The Speech of H.E. Professor Binam Bikoï, Executive Secretary of CERDOTOLA

Dr. Anna-Monika Lauter, Director of the Patrimonies Department of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and representative of its President, Prof. Dr. Manda Tchebwa Antoine, Director of CICIBA in Libreville-Gabon, Dr. Baba Ceesay NCAC (National Center for Arts and Culture) of The Gambia, Dr. Abdel Kader Haidara and Dr. Banzoumana Traoré of the NGO SAVAMA-DCI and many others also honoured this historic appointment. We registered about forty journalists, ladies and gentlemen of the media for the coverage of this historic event.

The Speech of Dr. Anna-Monika Lauter of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung

Prince Bele Bele Kum'a Ndumbe III, Professor of Universities, Founding President of AfricAvenir International and host of the event opened his remarks with a quotation from the President of the Republic of Cameroon His Excellency Mr. Paul Biya on 14 September 1983:

"An intellectual is only worthwhile if he can elaborate ideas likely to constitute in the long run solutions for a work of art with the dimensions of life lived, promote a new culture, nourished by our traditions, but resolutely integrating the contributions of the modern world, especially in the scientific field, be inspired by the awareness that the future of the nation is built on today's daring and on the generosity of the elite".

The Speech of Prince Professor Kum'a Ndumbe III

During its 30 years of existence, the work of the AfricAvenir International Foundation was perfectly in line with Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III's response to the President's words, constituted in his first book published in Cameroon on October 03, 1983 and entitled "Africa takes up the challenge".

The winner of the First Prize of the competition for young authors organized in 1986 by the Association of Poets and Writers of Cameroon (APEC) then under the chairmanship of Prof. Kum'a Ndumbe III, was none other than Mouelle Kombi, a young author at the time, now Minister of Arts and Culture of Cameroon. His work "translated from the event" which gave him the victory in the competition for young authors and then published by AfricAvenir in 1986, was republished by the same publisher and increased by the text "a tragic dawn" in 2016. During his visit to the publishing house, the Minister discovered it with great pride.

"Translated from "L'Evénementiel - Une Aube si Tragique" (A Tragic Dawn)

Editions AfricAvenir


In the presence of the Minister of Arts and Culture, the first three results of the three-year project on the transmission of the collective memory were handed over to the communities of origin of the elders whose memory is diffused today, through their Kings present :

The book "When the elders speak...".

Kings and Traditional Chefs who each received their copy of the book "When the Ancients Speak".

From the DVD "When the elders speak...".

From the book "Dimbámbɛ́ lá Sáwá - Mambéndá másū na ɓedɛmo ɓásū" entirely in the Duala language.

The duala language book "Dimbámbɛ́ lá Sáwá - Mambéndá másū na ɓedɛmo ɓásū" sold out the same day! Fortunately, there was one copy left for its presentation on Tuesday 01 March 2016 by its author, Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III.

Following this presentation, a panel consisting of the Kings and chiefs present such as HM Toto Bekombo, HM Ndofoa Zofoa, HM Yakuba Mohamadou, HM Mahamat Bahar Marouf, HM Dr. Doh Ganyonga III and Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III, nourished the debate on the issue of the depths of the African cultural and initiatory legacy, for 6 hours of time! At AfricAvenir, the dignitaries of tradition had finally found a space where they could fully express themselves, an opportunity they fully exploited.

The Panel of Kings, discussing the Ancestral Knowledge of Deep Africa

The International Meeting in Douala led to the signing of two partnership agreements:

The signature of the partnership agreement between CICIBA and the AfricAvenir International Foundation.

Two institutions working in the same direction as the AfricAvenir International Foundation, namely the National Centre for Arts and Culture of The Gambia (NCAC) and the Malian NGO SAVAMA-DCI, whose respective leaders are Dr. Baba Ceesay and Dr. Abdel Kader Haidara accompanied by Dr. Banzoumana Traoré, have also entered into a joint partnership with the AfricAvenir International Foundation. After the presentations of the Gambian and Malian guests on their respective institutions and the perfect concordance between the activities and ours, and having seen the already existing collaboration between these institutions and the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the AfricAvenir International Foundation, SAVAMA-DCI and the NCAC in the presence of HM Mahamat Bahar Marouf, Sultan of Logone-Birni, Senator, on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016.

Signature of the "Memorandum of Understanding" MOU between the AfricAvenir International Foundation, the NGO SAVAMA-DCI of Mali and the NCAC of The Gambia with as witness SM Mahamat Bahar Marouf du Logone Birni, Senator.

The three institutions, whose leaders are collectors and curators of cultural goods of inestimable value and of inescapable importance for the preservation and promotion of the African collective memory, each in its own field of specialisation, have immediately set up an "International Dialogue Committee for the Return of Works of Art and Religious Objects". Senator HM Mahamat Bahar Marouf of Logone Birni, who witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, is himself a member of this Dialogue Committee.

International Dialogue Committee for the Return of Works of Art and Religious Objects

One of the most striking articulations of the Meeting was undoubtedly the unforgettable inaugural lesson of Professor Blaise Alfred NGANDO on doctoral research for an African scientific renaissance: The Constitution of the Mandeng Empire, or the Kurukan Fuga Charter of 1236. "...] Do not offend women, they are our mothers [...] Do not humiliate your enemies [...] Never harm foreigners [...]" These were the revelations of the content of the Constitution of the Mandeng Empire of Mali of 1236. Thus, 500 years before the French Revolution, which was the fruitful origin of the declaration of the rights of man and the citizen, in Africa, a constitution had already been adopted prescribing respect for the inalienable rights of man. The University Professor, the only Associate Professor of the History of Law in Cameroon, Major of his class in the agrégation exam, Director of the Documentary Resource Centre of the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences of the University of Yaounde II and lawyer at the Hauts-de-Seine Bar in Paris, was greatly ovationed at the end of his inaugural lesson. Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III praised the stature of a young Professor who "[...] draws on the sources of deep Africa to teach at the University [...]". The scholarships offered by the AfricAvenir International Foundation in partnership with the Gerda Henkel Stiftung within the framework of the above-mentioned project, have so far been awarded to 4 Cameroonian students, including 3 researchers in law and one researcher in history, respectively from the Universities of Yaounde III and Yaounde I. The three lawyers are none other than the best students of Proeffeseur Ngando. The four doctoral students presented their thesis project to their Professor and benefited from the criticism of the Project Professors present: Professor Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III, Emeritus, Professor Nseme Clédor of the University of Yaounde and Professor Jules Assoumou of the University of Douala.

The Inaugural Lecture by Professor Blaise Alfred Ngando of the University of Yaounde II.

The Fellows and their Project Presentations

The handing over to the media of the three above-mentioned publications of AfricAvenir 2016 editions, as well as specimens of the Timbuktu manuscripts by the panel consisting of Dr. Abdel Kader HAIDARA and Dr. Banzoumana TRAORE from Mali and Professors Alfred NGANDO and Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III from Cameroon, was also a remarkable episode of the international meeting in Douala.

The Media Award Ceremony

After the signing of the agreement between the Cameroonian, Gambian and Malian parties on Thursday, March 3, 2016, the correspondent of AfricAvenir International who flew 25 hours to attend the Meeting, Dr. Su-Kyung Han, presented to the students and doctoral students with incessant questions, his presentation on the theme "Copyright and the Internet" and thus closed the International Meeting in Douala.

Dr. Su Kyung Han's Seminar

In view of the first official visit of a minister member of the Cameroonian government in office and moreover of the Minister of Arts and Culture and the aforementioned high personalities, the immense media coverage and the presence of distinguished guests from several continents, the solemn restitution to humanity, the voice of the ancient witnesses of the Genesis of Cameroon and symbols of a safeguarded African collective memory, the bet of a successful International Meeting marking its 30 years of existence, was won by the AfricAvenir International Foundation, hands up!

The first articulation of this International Meeting, which ended under these beautiful colours, took place on 27 February 2016 at the headquarters of the AfricAvenir International Foundation, in the Cheikh Anta Diop Library: it is the headquarters of the Board of Directors, which includes 5 different nationalities: Cameroon, South Korea, Ghana, France, Austria. The seat of the Board of Directors has led to the publication of the new statutes of the Foundation. The Minutes resulting from the seat of the Board revealing its members and the statutes are available under the following link:


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The AfricAvenir International Foundation is an International Non-Governmental Non-Profit Organization based in Douala, Cameroon, whose objective is to work for the African Renaissance, Endogenous Development, International Cooperation and Sustainable Peace. Founded in 1986 by its promoter the Prince and Professor Kum'a Ndumbe III.

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