By Francis B. Nyamnjoh
Michael Sam-Nuvala Fonkem was born 28 January 1953. He passed away on Thursday 8 October 2015. Fonkem was an accomplished journalist who had practiced uninterrupted since graduating in 1976 from the International School of Journalism, Yaoundé (Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme de Yaoundé – ESSIJY). His professional career which kicked off as a news anchor and commentator at the National Station of Radio Cameroon, Yaoundé brought him face to face with the grim reality of the consequences of refusing to play the role of ‘His Master’s Voice’. Interrogations with the ‘political police’, intimidations, arrests and a 5-month spell of incarceration at the Nkondengui maximum security prison, Yaoundé was the price he had to pay for being a free thinker. During his journey through the wilderness marked by a lay-off from the Cameroon Civil Service in 1998, Sam-Nuvala Fonkem wrote for a number of news publications until he joined the United Nations Operation in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) as Public Information Officer in 2010.