Cameroon mourns presidential contender

Issues of Cameroon's first ever privately-owned tri-weekly newspaper, The Herald, published by Dr Boniface Forbin. Dr Forbin died on April 16, 2017 aged 73. NDI EUGENE NDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Cameroon is in mourning following the death of pioneer journalist and opposition politician Boniface Forbin.

Dr Forbin, who published The Herald; the first ever privately-owned tri-weekly newspaper in the Central African nation, died at the Yaoundé University Teaching Hospital on Sunday, family sources said.

The man who has been variously described as the monument of the journalism profession in the country, also contested the October 2004 presidential election.

Senior comrade

Eulogies have since been pouring in from colleagues at home and abroad and former staff of The Herald since his death was announced.

A former staff of media house, now based in the US, Mr Martin Ayaba, said Dr Forbin who died at the age of 73, was a seasoned journalist who used the pages of The Herald to articulate the plight of the Anglophones in the Cameroon construct.

“His editorials on the burning Anglophone issue of our time were very poignant and palpable to read. For all of these, I salute you senior comrade and wish you well in your transition,” Mr Ayaba wrote in his eulogy.

Dr Boniface Forbin

Another former staff of The Herald, now a senior Social Affairs ministry official, Mr Douglas Achingale, said it was not by the chance that the print media baobab hopped the twig on Easter Sunday.

“For, like Jesus Christ, after touching the lives of many on earth, he rose to heaven on that day,” Mr Achingale wrote, adding that the late Dr Forbin was a pacesetter in English language print media journalism in Cameroon.

“To this day, The Herald, albeit now defunct, is undoubtedly in a class of its own.”

No experience

About two-third of the Cameroon Anglophone journalists between 1990 and 2000 passed through the professional hands of Dr Forbin.

Mr Achingale said The Herald was a school through which many who were today icons of the profession passed. He said journalists came in as amateurs, often with little or no experience, and left as a masters.

Dr Forbin served in the 1980s as a broadcast journalist with the state radio before moving on to work for the Cameroon Airlines Company (CAMAIR) in Douala.

He later left CAMAIR to create The Herald in 1990 with the introduction of the New Press liberty laws and subsequently the reintroduction of multiparty politics in Cameroon.

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