Cameroon’s Mankon community are mourning their paramount ruler, Fon Angwafor III Solomon, who has died aged 97. Fondly referred to as King Solomon the Wise, he was an influential political figure who was one of the architects of the reunification of English-speaking Southern Cameroons and francophone La République du Cameroun in 1972.
Fon Angwafor III Solomon went on to become an MP, then the first national president of the ruling CPDM party for decades – although he was rarely received in audience by the party leader, President Paul Biya. The late paramount ruler had also studied agriculture in neighbouring Nigeria, and together with his children cultivated a variety of crops and exotic fruits.
Fon Angwafor has been through the thick and thin of Cameroonian politics. His palatial residence in the heart of Bamenda was burnt during the tense period when multi-party democracy was reintroduced in Cameroon. While several traditional rulers escaped from the current bloody conflict the English-speaking regions, he stayed put until his disappearance – which is how his death is being referred as.
According to the tradition of the Mankon people, their king has simply disappeared. They believe Fon Angwafor III has spirited himself away to meet his ancestors. On the lighter side, many will remember him as a giant man with an extremely big shoe size that tickled many.
Meanwhile, a new king has been chosen. He is Fru Asah Angwafor, an educationist.