Pa Carl Jackai Bender Kange, the Bakweri patriarch of Great Soppo, Buea, died on March 12, 2015. He was 96 years old.
Born in 1919, Pa Kange was named after Carl Jacob Bender, the famous German Baptist missionary who served in Cameroon from 1909 until his death in 1935.
From 1939-40, Pa Kange was employed as a vernacular teacher by the German Baptist Mission, while, the Cameroon Baptist Mission employed him as a probationary teacher from 1943-44.
Pa Kange trained at the Government Teacher Training College in Kumba from 1949-50, after which he received further training as a Rural Science teacher. He served in different areas of the British Southern Cameroons before joining the public service as a Community Development Assistant in charge of Victoria Division (now Fako Division) in the Ministry of Cooperative and Community Development
In September 1965, the American Peace Corps Programme granted Pa Kange a travel study tour of America along with an agricultural training course in Porto-Rico. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) granted him an additional five-month scholarship to study in some American Universities. He returned to Cameroon at the end of his training and for three months, led "Operation Cross Roads Africa," a group of American volunteers who traveled across Africa.
Pa Kange became the pioneer instructor at the Community Development Training Center in Kumba. In 1969, the United Nations sponsored him to Tanzania to study that country's famous Ujamma Community Development Resettlement Scheme for Community Development.
Pa Kange was part of the second batch of Pan African Institute for Development - West Africa (PAID-WA) in 1970 where he obtained a diploma course in Community Development. Following his training at PAID-WA, he was promoted to Assistant Community Development officer.
In 1975, Pa Kange was the brains behind the establishment of the first African American Religious Programme in Cameroon known as the National Baptist Convention of America. The program ended ten years later with the opening of the Ducas-Luke Health Center in Lysoka, Fako Division.
From 1977 until his retirement in 1987, Pa Kange served respectively as Divisional Chief of Service for Community Development Manyu, Director of the Community Education and Action Centre in Ekona, and the Divisional Chief for Community Development in Fako Division.
Pa Kange established as a leading expert on the history of Fako division. He will be fondly remembered by university students who visited him regularly for historical facts about the the Bakweri ethnic group in particular and Fako division in general.
Pa Kange is survived by five children and numerous grand children.
With reports from Kange Williams Wasaloko and Ernest Sumelong. Edited by Dibussi Tande