28, April 2022
The family represents nature in its most distinct manifestation, and it is the cornerstone of human society. Consequently, individuals who invest in their families make the most significant contribution to their nation and humanity.
When a child is born, its parents always contemplate what role the new family member will play in contributing to the family’s success.
About fifty-two years ago, a princess was born to Chief Ashukem Nkwanyou Abanda and Mama Lucy Nga Eyong Ashukem.
She was Princess Cecilqueen Ebika Ashukem. The young beauty was one of eight children born to Mama Lucy Ashukem and was the only daughter of her mother to survive her first birthday.
In her earlier years, she devoted time to her father’s palace and learned almost everything there was to learn about the history of the Manyu nation and the culture of its people.
In the palace, she demonstrated strong character and leadership skills in a family jam-packed with boys, and she nurtured the importance of promoting communal and extended family love.
The princess obtained her primary education from the schools in Ebeagwa and Tinto villages, Manyu, Cameroon. It was a difficult decision for Chief Ashukem to let the young princess leave the palace to acquire secondary and high school education away from Ebeagwa.
Still, she left home and obtained her secondary education in PSS Besongabang, GHS Eyumojock and Worldwide Mission Mpondo. Upon completing her high school education, Princess Cecilqueen Ebika spent time between Buea and Mamfe and lived with her older brother, Chief John Beteck Ashukem.
Princess Ebika often recounted to her children how much love and inspiration her senior brother, Chief Beteck,had lavished upon her.
As Cameroon’s economy faced difficulties in the nineties, and many young people left the country for greener pastures in Europe and North America, this princess also looked outwards for solutions to her economic and financial challenges.
In 1996, the young Ms. Ebika Ashukem was granted a visa to the United Kingdom. One of her closest friends in Holland remarked that “when Ebika had that visa to the UK, it was a turning point for her family.”
Her coming to the UK was a huge blessing to her family in Cameroon. Like many families where she came from, hers was not economically affluent and struggled to afford the basic needs for human existence.
For her family, food, medication, clothing, and other essentials for a convenient life were in short supply, but hunger and anxiety were plentiful.
Upon arrival in the United Kingdom in 1996, the young Cecilqueen Ashukem had three words as her motto – Family, Prayer and Charity—because her goal was to end the economic challenges of her family in Cameroon.
While many who travelled to the UK from poor backgrounds in Africa in the mid-nineties concentrated on primitive material consumption, she invested her income in making her family better. The cold weather in her new country did not prevent her from going after her goals.
She went to work and sometimes took on two jobs with many agencies around London. She worked day and night with the sole purpose of saving enough money to support her numerous family members scattered all over the regions and villages in Cameroon.
While dereliction of family responsibility is now a norm in Manyu, she was the opposite through her actions. She took a keen interest in offering opportunities to the less fortunate in her family and beyond.
Over the years, she single-handedly sponsored nine family members to the UK. Her charitable deeds are an inspiring example for many to follow. Even on her deathbed, she was still supporting many children in Cameroon.
In 2016, she lavished gifts and money on Bate Nico as her appreciation for his outstanding contribution to Manyu music and culture. She made immeasurable sacrifices to all who knew her. Her home in London was open to all, and the quality of her cooked dinners was something that would never be forgotten by those lucky enough to have enjoyed them.
Her ability to engage in conversation about the rich history and culture of the Manyu nation was remarkable.
In 1997, Aunty Ebika Ashukem got married to Mr Jean-Louis Mellot. They were opposite personalities who had a great union by complementing each other and were blessed with two exceptional children, Jennifer and Rene.
Mr. Mellot sadly preceded her in death in May 2010. Over the last twelve months, Princess Ebika Ashukem was in and out of the hospital with various health complications and, sadly, was called to rest with our Lord on 10 April 2022.
She lives behind three children, a sizable family in the UK and a vast Manyu community in the UK to mourn her.
Princess Ebika Ashukem never claimed infallibility and righteousness, and maybe, she was unlucky to be surrounded by people who were experts at fault-finding.
She possessed several weaknesses like all mortals, but the devil is always in the detail. When a woman invests in sponsoring more than nine of her family members from Cameroon to the UK, the conclusion must be resounding.
The outward deeds of humans mirror their inward selves, and a life of charity is superior to its opposite. Her loss reminds us of just how delicate life is. Her life teaches us the importance of love and the need to show our loved ones that we appreciate them. The perfect society or perfect human being is an imagined creation by scholastic thinkers.
Our sister’s loss should serve as a warning to people who would remove the speck from the eye of others and fail to see the beam on their own.
Her life amplifies the need to be charitable, and she exits the stage, having made the Manyu community in the UK and the entire Manyu nation better.
Her kindness magnifies the world she created, evidenced by the many people now bearing her family name in the UK.
Fifty-two years ago, Chief Ashukem wondered what the young Princess Ebika had to offer. She placed value on family, and by investing in her family, she has left the world a better place than she met it.
Princess Cecilqueen Ebika Ashukem, rest in peace, for you came, saw, and made a difference.
By Isong Asu with files from Jennifer Mellot