Brilliant economist, Castor Osendé Afana is considered a national hero in Cameroon, however he is not as well-known as Ruben Um Nyobé, or Felix-Roland Moumié, or even his alter ego on the western front of Cameroon, Ernest Ouandié. Like those three, he was also assassinated, and paid with his life for his passion for the freedom of Cameroon, and Africa from colonialism. So who was Castor Osendé Afana?
Well, Castor Osendé Afana was born in 1930 in Ngoksa near Sa’a, in the Centre Region of Cameroon. In 1948 he was admitted to the seminary at Mvolyé, in Yaoundé, where he became a strong friend of Albert Ndongmo, the future Bishop of Nkongsamba. He was excluded from the seminary in 1950 because of his critical and rebellious character. It is as a ‘candidat libre’ that he successfully passed the first part of the Baccalauréat. He then started in philosophy at the Lycée Leclerc where he headed student manifestations demonstrating against the poor food service there. He nonetheless went on to successfully pass the 2nd part of the baccalauréat in 1952.
Later, Osendé Afana obtained a full scholarship to study Economics in Toulouse, France. By 1956, he was a vice-president of the Black African Students Federation in France (Fédération des étudiants d’Afrique noire en France – FEANF), and was managing director of the FEANF organ L’Etudiant d’Afrique noire. As a UPC militant he ensured that the issues of Cameroon were well-covered in the magazine. In 1958, Osendé Afana was named General Treasurer of FEANF, as well as being responsible for the UPC in France.
After the French government dissolved the UPC by decree on 13 July 1955, most of the UPC leaders moved to Kumba in the British-administered Southern Cameroons to avoid being jailed by the colonial power. In July 1957, under pressure from the French, the British authorities in western Cameroon deported the leaders of the UPC to Khartoum, Sudan. They moved in turn to Cairo, Egypt, to Conakry, Guinea and finally to Accra, Ghana, where they were hosted by President Nkrumah. In 1958, after Ruben Um Nyobé’s death, Osendé Afana decided to abandon his thesis and rejoin the leadership of the UPC, proposing himself as a candidate for the new Secretary General. Nyobé’s successor, Félix-Roland Moumié, told him “There is no longer a Secretary General. There was one, he is dead, that is it.” However, Osendé Afana was designated UPC representative at the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Conference in Cairo in December 1957 – January 1958. After Cameroon’s independence in 1960, the UPC continued to fight the government of President Ahmadou Ahidjo whom they considered a puppet of the French colonial power. Continue reading “Castor Osendé Afana: A Cameroonian National Hero”