His Life


Papa Barnabas Bonu was Born in Bambui in 1928 to Pa John Amuhngwa (son of Pa Chungong) and Mami Fama. Papa's paternal uncle, Pa Andreas Chungong took Pa Bonu as his personal son and raised him until school age.  Pa John Amuhngwa, Pa Andreas and their brother, Pa Vincent Mbigha, were very close and united. In Papa Bonu's own words, “The love and unity between us was so close that our children hardly knew who was their biological father.”

Early School Life

In 1932, Pa Bonu moved to Njinikom and lived with the Yangse Family. Mr. Leonard Yangse was a catechist in the Parish in Njinikom where there were frequent visits of priests on pastoral duties to his parish, leading to more opportunities for Papa, especially in education.
In 1936, Pa started Primary Education at St. Anthony's School Njinikom, about 20 miles from Bambui. Pa's Primary Education was facilitated by  Mr. Leonard Yangse who advised Pa Bonu's parents to send him to school. Rev. Fr. John McDermott was the Headmaster (Principal) of St. Anthony's School at the time, and the assistant was Dr. John Ngu Foncha.
In 1943, Pa Bonu obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC). 

The Beginning of Teaching Career

In 1947, Pa Bonu started his preliminary course as a professional teacher at the Teachers Training Center in Njinikom. In 1948, Pa Bonu moved to Bambui to continue his professional career when the Training Center was moved to Bambui.  In 1949, Pa completed his Elementary Teaching Training Course and obtained a Teacher's Grade III Certificate.

Teaching Career

In 1951, Pa Bonu got admitted into Government Teacher Training Centre, Kumba, to do a two-year Grade Two Teaching Training course. He successfully completed his his training course. Pa's first appointment was to Sacred Heart School Fiango. He later got transferred to Catholic School Tobel in Kumba
1954, Pa was the Headmaster  at the Catholic School Ikassa, Ndian Division.
1955, Pa was transferred to his hometown Bambui to help open standard  in St. Peter's Practicing school. He was the head of this senior primary school for six years. During his time as the Headmaster of the school, many students passed the common entrance examinations to prominent schools like Sasse College.
In 1963, Pa Bonu became eligible for Grade I Teachers' Cerificate in Rural Science after passing the General Certificate of Education(GCE "O" Levels).
In 1964, Pa was awarded the Teachers' Grade I Certificate . 

Further Studies in United Kingdom

Pa Bonu's dedication to his teaching duties as a teacher earned him a scholarship to study abroad. His studies was to earn him a Diploma in Rural Education. The recommendation came from Rev. Fr. John McDermott who was the the Parish Priest of Bangangu and Manager of Catholic Mission Schools. In his reference, Fr. McDermott stated, "Mr. Barnabas Bonu has been known by me since 1938 as a pupil, student and teacher. He was specially known to me during my term of office as Principal of Teachers' Training College and Supervisor of the Catholic Mission Schools. At present, he is the supervising headmaster and rural science specialist of our school at Bangangu. He is a very hard working and efficient teacher. The farm and vegetable gardens are credit to him. He has also greatly helped to beautify the school compound by planting of variety of flowers and ornamental shrubs. The paths and roads have been neatly lined up with cypress hedges and eucalyptus trees. As supervising headmaster of a double-stream school up to standard VI he has shown himself to have a great sense of responsibility and also to be a very good organizer. His character is most satisfactory. He is well recommended". Signed: John McDemott, Manager Catholic Mission Schools, Bangangu
In September of 1964, Pa Bonu with other colleagues flew from Tiko airport to Calabar, Lagos and from Calabar to London. After completing  all the requirements at the Cameroon embassy, they left by train for The University of Reading Institute of Education. It is worth noting that their hostel was at a Y.M.C.A.(Young Men's Christian Association).
In 1965, Pa Bonu was awarded the Diploma in Rural Education at the University of Reading Institute of Education after completing one academic year.

Teachers' Training Colleges

  • In 1965, Pa Bonu was appointed to assist Fr. Lucas Atang as the Supervisor of Catholic Schools and Colleges in the grassland zone.
  • Pa was later appointed as assistant Principal of St. John's Teachers Training College, Nchang, Mamfe.
  • As part of his community service and with the support of the  Principal  at the teachers training college, Pa encouraged group farming in Nchang community to elevate some of the poverty at that time.
  • Pa Bonu and Fr. Henry Van Dougen  were the initiators of the Nchang Cooperative Oil Palm Industry.
  • Pa Bonu later on moved  to Teachers' Training College, Tatum when Nchang Teachers' Training College was merged with Teachers' Training College Tatum.

Pa Bonu and The Bee

In 1984, Pa Bonu started beekeeping at the Teachers' Training College. Pa had a new perspective about bees during his stay at the University of Reading Institute of Education, when they visited bee farms at the University. In Pa's own words he said: " My mind went back to what I saw in the U.K.". This finally materialized during Pa's stay in Tatum. Pa started a beekeeping club in Tatum. This was a great initiation. 
In 1987, Pa Bonu attended and furthered his specialty in Beekeeping at the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana courtesy of funding from Canadian Presbyterian World Service and Development. With the knowledge obtained at the university and all the books he read about beekeeping, Papa Bonu got the beekeeping club to a thriving level and it gained admiration far and wide. In 1987/88, The Beekeeping Club got a donation of $225.000frs which was used for expansion. Pa Bonu authored a book on beekeeping titled, "Modern Beekeeping in Cameroon."


On June 1991, Pa Bonu retired after serving the Catholic Mission as a teacher for 45 years.

Advanced Study of Education ( Licentiate -LCP)

Pa Bonu's dream was to pursue professional studies in Education at a degree level. In 1985, Pa Bonu attained this dream and was awarded a Diploma in Advanced Study of Education from The College of Perceptors, Essex U.K.


  • January 1982- Pa Bonu was decorated with a red feather by Fon Amuhgwafor II of Bambui
  • May 1982- " Merit Agricole Grade Chevalier" by the Head of State. Recognition of many years of excellent performance in agricultural domains.
  • June 1990-  Pa Bonu was decorated with the Papal Medal by his Lordship Bishop Cornelius F Esua representing The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II


  • Pa Bonu's top priority formal was education. Starting from his early years in the teaching career, he mobilized the people in Bambui  to tell them about the importance of sending their children to school. Pa Bonu helped to sponsor several family and non family members because he believed education was for all.
  • In 1961, as a Councilor for for Bafut/Ndop Council, Pa Bonu saw the construction of the bridge leading to Bambui Fon's Palace. This was one of several bridges that was constructed in  Bambui, Bambili, Nkwen, Mendankwe and Kedjom-keku 
  • As the chairman of of Bambui Village Council in 1979-1981, Pa Bonu laid the foundation for the Bambui Palace Hall. The hall was built and it served the community for several years until a new project was introduced in 2015.
  • In 1979, as Chairman of the Bambui Village Council,  Pa Bonu initiated the Bambui Giant Water Project. This project was launched back in 1976 by Pa Bonu before he became the Chairman of the Village Council.
  • In 1979 he spearheaded  a delegation sponsored by late V.C. Nchami to educate the Bambui community in Limbe, Buea, Mutengene and Kumba on the need to support the Water Project.
  • Under Pa's Chairmanship, the boundary between Bambui-Bambili was retraced.
  • As Chairman of Bambui Village he surveyed and spearheaded the opening of the road linking the mission to Ccast Bambili. 
  • Pa Bonu  introduced the science of bee keeping in the Bambui Community. This has served as a means of living for some people in the community.
  • Pa Bonu was one of the founding members of North West Beefarmers Association(NOWEBA).  
  • Pa Bonu authored and published a manual on bee farming titled, "Modern Bee Keeping in Cameroon.". The revised version was later published in 2000 with same title. 
  • In 1995, Pa Bonu was elected Chairman of Tubah Highland Watershed Committee. 
  • In 1997, Pa Bonu became a member of Agriculture, Agro-industry and Communication (AGROCOM).
  • In 1992, Pa Bonu became the Chairman of Bambui Church Committee and President of Bambui Pastoral Council. He was the Chairman of the Bambui Church Committee for three years. He was the President of Bambui Pastoral Council from 1992 to 2003. 
  • Pa Bonu served as a  Part-Time lecturer at the St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary.
  • To promote the Bambui language, Pa Bonu initiated and published  dairies in dialect for several years. 
  • Pa Bonu authored "A short History and Tradition of BAMBUI 1700-2012".
  • Pa Bonu served as Quarter-Head for Atunui from 2003- 2011. 
  • Pa Bonu served  the Chungong family with love. He educated children family members and non family members. 
  • Pa Bonu started adult education, helping adults in Bambui who could not read and/or write in literacy classes. 
  • Pa was fondly called the "Archives of Bambui" for his documentation in literature, maps and books on most Bambui village and inter-village disputes.


Biography and Photo credit:
"And God Gave Me Life. "  2005 - Barnabas Chungong Bonu