His Life



Engineer/Chief Ambrose KUM BAME  First Son of Late Rev. Simon Fuh Bame and Late Mary Bame Of Weh, Menchum, NWP Cameroon is no more.  Wedded in the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon at age 29 to Elizabeth Timoh Keng(daughter of late Engineer Timoh Wah of Nyen), he leaves behind five children and wife.

Engineer/Chief Ambrose Kum Bame was the first Child in a family of Ten.  He was born in 1944 in Weh, Cameroon.   Just one year ago, He lost his mother Mary Bame, then followed by the death of his immediate Brother Rev. Prof Michael Bame Bame just three months ago.

As a loving, caring and generous brother, he also gave away his first Son Nelson Bame Kum, right from the womb, to his immediate brother, Michael Bame Bame and assumed the role of an uncle.  Nelson Bame would grow up entirely with Grand Parents and Michael Bame Bame, visiting Ambrose Bame less than seven times since 1979 in his entire life.  He always admonished Nelson Bame to stay close to his adopted Father, Michael Bame Bame.

His late Father, Rev. Simon Bame, named him after St. Ambrose of Milan.   The latter’s life (Sant Ambroggio de Milano in Italian) is a particularly fascinating story.  St. Ambrose was born around 339 in what is now France, the son of the Roman prefect of Gaul.  Following his his father's footsteps, Ambrose embarked upon a career in law and politics and by 370 AD, he had become the Imperial governor of Northern Italy.  When the episcopal see of Milan became vacant in 374, the people demanded that Saint Ambrose be made their bishop.  The neighboring bishops and the Emperor convinced him to accept this call as the will of God, and so the catechumen Ambrose was baptized and ordained first deacon, then priest, then bishop, all in a single week!


This politician-turned churchman was profoundly aware of his lack of preparation for this great responsibility and so set himself immediately to prayer and the study of Scripture.  His deep spirituality and love of God's Word married together with the oratorical skill acquired in law and politics made St. Ambrose one of the greatest preachers of the early church. 


St. Ambrose proved to be a fierce opponent of heresy, paganism, and hypocrisy.  He battled to preserve the independence of the Church from the state and courageously excommunicated the powerful Catholic Emperor Theodosius I for a massacre of innocent civilians in Thessalonica.  St. Ambrose also had a significant impact on sacred music through the composition of hymns and psalm tones that are known to this day as Ambrosian chant.  Besides numerous sermons and treatises on the spiritual life, Saint Ambrose is responsible for two of the first great theological works written in Latin, De Sacramentis on the Sacraments and De Spiritu Sancto on the Holy Spirit.

As a young man he worked hard to help his father to both raise and educate his brothers and sisters selflessly.

 He was educated in the very first post-independence Technical colleges in the SWP of Cameroon by the Americans and British.  He continued his degree in California United States where he specialized in Automotive Engineering.  He practiced both automotive and civil engineering with an awe-real intuit and creativity that the western world could not understand. As a scholar he always topped his class across his whole career.  He became the President of the African Society of Engineers in the 1970s.

 He began his professional Career as a Director of the Presbyterian Engineering Complex of Cameroon in the SWP.  After exposing his managerial and technical savvy, a then Minister of Cabinet under Late President Ahmadou Ahidjou of Cameroon, late Nzo Ekangaki decided to embrace Ambrose Bame and worked on industrialization Projects for the Western Cameroons.  H.E. Nzo Ekangaki (from Nguti, of blessed memory) embraced Chief Ambrose Bame more than a brother.  When H.E Ekangaki headed the OAU, he invested hundreds of Millions of francs CFA in the SWP of Cameroon.  Engineer Ambrose KUM BAME designed a Project worth over CFA 500million in the 70s (approx USD 3 billion today) in high-end civil engineering and industrial processing equipment.  The Project took off well with exports to Britain and the United States.  They ordered amongst others, factory machines, tractors, caterpillars, trailers, and the largest wood processing machines ever built in Brazil and the world hitherto.  Engineer Ambrose BAME took two of those machines and altered the design to produce the largest Lumber equipment in human history then.  Their plan was to process all wood in Cameroon and black Africa and export only finished products, train Cameroonians to produce spare parts on Multi-million civil engineering and mechanical equipment. They built a huge industrial complex with over 100 workers in a city called “kilampe”(a few miles from Nguti).    When Nelson Bame Kum was a child, two-four years old, he lived there in a city with trained talking parrots, modern poultry, fish-ponds, artificial streams, palm plantations, artificial lakes, engineering and factory complex built by Engineer Ambrose Bame and financed by late Nzo Ekangaki. 

As narrated by Ambrose Bame, soon after the project took off,  late President Ahmadou Ahidjou of Cameroon heard of it and  sent Nzo Ekangaki to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and asked the latter to leave without any questions for time-is-of-the-essence mission critical emergencies.   Engineer Ambrose KUM BAME was attacked on the Project and attempted assassinations came upon him.  He ran away to the Western Province, then Nigeria for some time abandoning a Multi-million dollar Project.  There was no other Cameroon capable in education, experience and intuit to continue the project.   Late Nzo Ekangaki wept in silence from Ethiopia.  H.E. Nzo was a great politician/Economist but with no Industrial know-how.  He wept how and with whom he could industrialize his own area of Cameroon.  Afraid of late Ahmadou Ahidjou H.E. Nzo Ekangaki gave up the dream of Industrializing English Cameroon privately/silently.  A dream he conceived with Ambrose KUM BAME.  Engineer Ambrose Bame went to Nigeria and engineered many projects there returning with some cash and a few trained technicians to Cameroon.  Coming with a team of Africans, a year after, and with money from his pocket to revive the project, he returned to find that the machines -- multi-million dollar equipment were gone.  Machines that an individual could not move -- only perhaps a government could move such machines. 

He vowed and swore never to work for the government.  He swore never to join politics.  He declared that politics and those in power were unfair to his people.  He lived with a life trauma.  As the years went by, many large foreign companies came to him in the SWP of Cameroon to cross over into Douala and work with them for great amounts of compensation, as much as five hundred thousand up to a million FCFA per month in the 1980s and 90s.  He vowed never to take his talents across the Mungo River of Cameroon.

He spent almost his entire life in the SWP of Cameroon where he worked hard to contribute to the development of English Cameroons and accrued some few millions of FCFA.  He retired as Chief/local Administrator of lower Matoh village and participated in South West Chief Conferences.  He often collaborated with the SDO of Meme and Chief Mukete of Kumba, his long time Friend.   Though an acclaimed developer/engineer, he retired with only a few millions FCFA of his salary in accrued debts and court cases in Kumba town for default payments/contracts.  He claimed only few millions in court from debtors and ended up with little after company headquarters were found on mysterious fires – fires that claimed the buildings wherein his files and retirement benefits were kept.  He moved to Yaounde five years ago to look after his grand kids as grandfather/grand uncle.  He gave away so much of his energy, equipment and savings peacefully.   He was a man with uncountable friends.

He was born into the hands/people of God and ended in the hands/people of God.  He will also be remembered as a very generous Cameroonian.  A man who always gave food and drinks to his entourage; a man who would go anywhere and everywhere and mix up with the people from the grassroots; a man who stood by his will and intelligence and detested injustice – and just as Saint Ambrose, a man who detested hypocrisy and pretense.

@  Copyright: Kum Nelson Bame Bame,  (Authorized for reprint and distribution only in original form without alteration or interpretation).