The Duchess of Muanenguba————————Samira Edi
The absurd narrative you’re about to read is a non-fiction. It is about love rivalry, betrayal, and of course money. €3000.00 to be exact! It happened in Cameroon—precisely in Douala. Douala; the city sometimes called “The Armpit of Africa,”—certainly for good reasons. Douala is a place pregnant with weird things, and the old tiles on the streets of Akwa opened up recently, yielding forth the gloomy details of the secrets that lies beneath them. So welcome to the party!
You thought you’ve heard it all—but, I assure you, you really haven’t. Tales of brave gentlemen who embark on epic journeys to seek their fortunes or win the fair hand of the beautiful damsels they’re smitten with in exotic lands. This is not that kind. There is the other kind— the sordid story of wrinkly old Westerners, carrying out illicit affairs with young black Africans because they can. Usually, these are teenagers seduced by the illusions of a life of luxury and plenty in the West.
It is a yarn as old as sex itself. Young Africans who cannot fathom a way out of their dystopian existence will seize the chance of any life in the imagined Eldorado that places such as Europe represent. With as little as the price of a plane ticket, a young African girl or boy is lured to be the victim to a sex-starved European old enough to be their grandparent. And it seems these Western Lotharios who dare to walk that fine line between paedophilia and sexual perversion never tire of the pleasures that they enjoy from their sexual peccadilloes with these fresh African bodies, which seem to be lying in abundance everywhere they look on the continent. And so they go back again and again for more, to fulfil their debauched desires with young persons in these exotic places. Young people who willingly indulge in the perverse fantasies that these lechers dare not carry out in their own countries for fear of the law. This is the saga with a sting in its tail. As they say, the chicken who goes too close to the pot usually ends up in it.
On the 1st of September 2014, a young lady in her twenties called Ngonda Nathalie Marie Belinga strolled casually on the streets of Akwa, Douala. Ngonda was still on vacation in her hometown. She had been there since July—from Paris, where she lives with her fiancé, a certain Patrick Jarry. Patrick is a Frenchman in his late fifties.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of urban chaos, Ngonda pounded the familiar pavements of the streets of Akwa, in Cameroon’s economic capital. The sun was high in the sky, with the temperature rising mercilessly to a sweltering 30.0 °C. It must’ve felt boiling hot for any African whose disposition had become acclimatized to the commodious temperate weather of Paris—and it was about to get even hotter. As she walked by the taxi ranks on the sidewalk, a startling image caught her eye. Who did she spot, sitting snugly in the back of a cab which was just about to take off? Her fiancé! Incredible! Patrick Jarry, whom she had left back in Paris 2 months earlier, was right there, in flesh, in a taxi in Douala, just inches away from her. The young woman couldn’t believe her eyes as she blinked in disbelief. Worse, Patrick was not alone. He was nicely sandwiched between two nubile young black ladies who could’ve been mistaken for Ngonda’s friends or even sisters. The woman wasted no time confronting her fiancé, speaking to him through the window. But Patrick remained defiantly inside the car, with the two other ladies clinging to his side protectively.
Instantly, Ngonda erupted in an incandescent rage—accompanied by a deafening scream. She then jumped in front of the taxi, immobilizing it with her body as the driver tried to ease away. Her actions attracted a teeming and ready crowd of loafers who seemed to be milling aimlessly on the streets of Akwa, just about ready for such a thing. In that crowd, was also a battery of cameramen for the private TV station Canal24, filming the entire shebang. The crowd grew large, and excited, converging around the cab and its hapless occupants. Ngondo planted herself to the side of the side, barking at her fiancé and his lady friends to get the eff out!
The curious crowd was informed that the poor lady; Ngonda had left her fiancé in Paris, while she visited Cameroon. Like the good girl that she was, she had left him with a feeding allowance of about €3000.00. The mention of all that lovely money was too much for the edgy crowd—always one commotion away from a full-fledged conflagration. Shouts of “escroc” were launched at the Frenchman, as thugs ambled closer, ready for a showdown. For a moment, the situation came precariously close to a descent into barbaric mob justice. The crowd demanded that the Frenchman and his girls should get out of the car.
Sympathy grew overwhelmingly in favour of the poor girl, Ngonda. Usually, White men were the victims of romance scams. The idea that an old Frenchman could be financially ripping off a young black girl, seemed preposterous. And the temerity of him sneaking in from Paris for a liaison with other young girls of his fiance’s age—while his fiancé was in the country, seemed audacious and incredible. It was not the natural order of things. They bayed for "blood."
As the cacophony rose to a crescendo, suddenly, one of the girls in the taxi with Patrick burst out of the cab and charged straight at Ngonda, in a surprise ambush attack. A furious battle ensued—of the sort usually referred to as cinq minutes de folie—An inferno of insanity in ferocious fighting broke out. The girls tore at each other spectacularly, over the old Frenchman, with members of the public joining in.
Taking advantage of his fiance’s distraction, Patrick instructed the cab driver to take off, together with his other conquest in the car. Ngonda would have none of it—as she sprinted after the speeding vehicle, successfully grabbing hold of the door and hanging desperately onto it.
The driver pulled away but Ngonda was tenacious. The crowd went wild. Speed is not something that succeeds on the bad roads of Douala—so the crowd easily caught up with the fleeing taxi; unfortunately christened "Au Nom de Jesus,"— and forcefully yanked open the doors, belching out the unwilling passengers.
As you can see, some thieves took advantage of the commotion to snatch purses. At the end, on the insistence of Ngonda, she marched her fiancé and his other women off to the Commissariat where the matter was settled.
But that was not the end of the story. There is a twist in the tail.
Having made the number one tabloid news the previous day in Cameroon’s gutter press, and fearful of the consequences of what such insalubrious information about him, if leaked to the French press or the international media would do to his reputation, Monsieur Patrick Jarry willfully took himself to the studios of the Canal24 to set the records straight.. What he said was astonishing.
Patrick Jarry claimed that the lady, Ngonda, was indeed his ex girlfriend with whom he had had an affair back in Paris. When she had intimated that summer that she was travelling to Cameroon for the holidays and invited him, he had advised her that he had no money. She had however offered him board, if he could pay for his own flight ticket.
On that promise, they had flown to Cameroon together, and had had a god time in Yaoundé, Douala and Limbe. The passion fizzled out— from his end, he had lost interest and he told the young lady that the romance was over. They had gone off their separate ways until that fateful Monday in Douala. He claimed that he was surprised by her reaction, as they were no longer romantically involved, to which he agreed.
About the purported, €3000.00, which the Cameroon press chose to refer to as 2 milliion Frs CFA, Patrick Jarry said that was pure fiction. However, he admitted that Ngonda had gifted him a token of love—her grandma’s jewellery, if they ever got married. This is mindblowing. As they had broken off their engagement/relationship, it would seem that is what she was alluding to. He however claimed that the said piece of jewellery was back in Paris and promised to give it back to her on their return.
Mr Jarry also stated that he had paid the princely sum of 1million Frs CFA Frs, at the Commissariat de Police, Wourri. It is difficult to determine if money was was bail money, a bribe or part payment for the vexing jewellery in Mr Jarry's possession, which was valued to about 2,000,000.00 frs CFA. He also promised to complete the rest of his debts to Ngonda, on their return to Paris, which was something to the tune of about €1500.00.
In this saga of unrequited love, betrayed right in a young lady's own backyard, you don't know who to feel sorry for. Who do you blame, when the whole world is in search of love?
Monsieur Patrick Jarry on Canal 24 Cameroon on the 2nd Sept 2014.
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