Promoting Community Development or Nursing "Gender Seeds"
By Akere-Maimo in Yaounde
For those who regularly watch Cameroon's National Television - CRTV, Ms Becky Ndive – fondly called Auntie Becky – is a household name and a celebrated TV personality, whose motherly touch and passion for hard work have earned her a deserved accolade, yet unnoticed. She has comfortably created a niche for herself with popular TV programmes such as the “The Debate” and the “Monday Show” on CRTV. In addition, she has anchored popular talk shows on the national network radio station, CRTV, one of which was the early morning “Wake Up Show”. With 27 years of applying herself diligently to the service of her nation, she now requires a deserved rest. In fact, she retired two years ago, but was given two extra years that have already expired. Well, the question which is the orbit of our concern is her ambitions after CRTV. After CRTV, what next for Auntie Becks?
Before delving into her post-CRTV life, it may be interesting to trace the path Auntie Becky has trodden this far. She did her primary school education at Basel Mission Buea, where she completed in 1960 and later got enrolled in St. Francis Teachers Training College, Kumba. When she eventually grabbed her Teacher’s Grade III Certificate by 1966, she went further to obtain the Grade II at BTTC (1968). Then, she moved over to CCAST Bambili, where she did the Arts and later left for the US under what she describes as a difficult situation. Her story of going to study in America, she says, can be a Best Seller if it is published as a book. "You see, I didn’t know I was supposed to go somewhere. I had a friend at that time, a Nigerian diplomat who suggested that I should leave the country. And because if I stay in this Cameroon, I wasn’t going to make it and if he left (since he was a diplomat), I was going to suffer…" she told The Entrepreneur.
They searched through a list of colleges and universities at the American Consulate in Buea at the time and her interest fell for Eastern Baptist College USA, partly due to the fact that her mother founded the first Baptist Church in Ekuna-Mbenge. She wrote to the school and they accepted her. Before leaving, she sought advice from a friend, who told her the only she could attract sympathy in America was to dress as an African. Swathed in her "wrapper" she set out for a land that she did not know with just 15 pounds. Certainly, her faith took her there.
Frightened and naïve, she arrived New York little or not knowing where she was going to. She stood lost by the roadside not until some concerned Africans came to her aid. They helped her locate her school and when she eventually arrived at
Eastern Baptist College, she was treated with much warmth and hospitality. The following day she was called up in the bursar’s office to pay her fees, where she did not have. The bursar got crossed and asked: "Why did you come?" and she replied: "The Lord will provide". The bursar was so astonished and asked her to go to class, saying: "I’ve never seen such faith in my life.
And that is how Auntie Becky found herself studying in America with just 15 pounds. The Lord certainly provided as the Christian community there gave her all the necessary support. She did all sorts of odd jobs, almost working all round to make ends meet. In school, she majored in Sociology and minored in Communication.
When she finally graduated, she picked up a job with the Nigerian Mission to the United Nations as a Social Secretary. From there, she was given a job to teach in Nigeria. After a brief spell in Nigeria, she came back "home" and was lucky to get another job with Radio Cameroon. She owes a lot of respect to Luke Ananga, Olivia Shang and others for honing her skills during her early years in the CRTV house.
Getting into CRTV was not altogether challenging as she was already used to doing contract jobs with Radio Plateau and Televisions, while in Nigeria. She easily picked up and sailed through with flying colours. She, however, shares with us her working experience at CRTV, a place some critics dare to call a "mad house".
"I’m the first female Radio Station Manager in Cameroon. I’m the first lady journalist to go to the warfront (most probably in Cameroon). That was when I was in Buea. While in Buea, I tried almost everything. It was when the Bakassi crises was at its peak. And that is my life. I always start things in a very difficult way and when things begin to go easy, I have to make way for others. When I was a Station Manager, we had 100,000 FCFA to run the radio for a month. You know how much they give now? About 600,000 FCFA…" she revealed to The Entrepreneur.
As a female manager, she had inner strength to turn things round and come out with the desired effects. She says when she got into CRTV Buea, there were no tables, no chairs, no cupboards and insufficient equipment. And so, she had to lobby for assistance from the Limbe Urban Council, the Mayor of Buea at the time, the SW Chief Conference, the Fako students in London and Mr. Peter Mafany Musongue, who was the CDC General Manager at the time.
Her philosophy of success is to break though ordeals, do just the things that are challenging so as to leave a lasting mark of success. Above all, she believes in the Almighty for giving her the strength to do the kind of things that she does.
Now that she is almost at the verge of her retirement, she is ready to devote all her energy in the church and her community, most especially as she has created her NGO known as "Gender Seeds" early this year. Her association is centred on recuperating street children, empowering them and giving them every reason to hope as well as addresses health issues related to adolescents and youths. She has volunteers working for her, while hoping they may one day see a green light. "Gender" because it has to do with the male and female working together and "Seeds" because they have planted a seed that will grow into a tree and bear fruits from which all will eat.
She also encourages women to take the baton of command and make things happen. "Let them stand for positions in the councils as parliamentarians, mayors and why not leaders of political parties…Women should support their counterparts who have shown interest in politics. Besides, women need to empowered economically, socially, spiritually and politically. Women must learn to occupy decision-making position because if they don’t take decisions, they are as good as nothing…" she told The Entrepreneur frankly.
Auntie Becky’s profile can only written in bits and pieces, waiting for the day that she is going to write and publish a book about herself. It is good to recall that she was married to Dr. E.M.L. Endeley, the first PM of West Cameroon. They had 4 kids: two boys, two girls.
© The Entrepreneur Newspaper 2007. All Rights Reserved.
© The Entrepreneur Newspaper 2007. All Rights Reserved.