At the funeral mass of Prof. Fongot Kini-Yen Kini celebrated by his venerated friend the Archbishop of the Bamenda Archdiocese, His Lordship Cornelius Fontem Esua at the Bamenda Metropolitan Cathedral, mourners included Prof. Paul Nchuoji Nkwi of the Constitutional Council and other highly respected Sasse Old Boys, Prof. Akoko Robert, Head of Department for Communication and Development Studies of the University of Bamenda where Prof. Kini was a lecturer before his demise. A host of university dons from all over the national territory also answered present to pay their last respect to the ace varsity don.
Prof. Kini, before his unfortunate demise, was Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research and Cooperation at the Bamenda University of Science and Technology BUST.
To Prof. Paul Nkwi, Prof Kini was a friend, colleague and classmate. “We attended St. Anthony’s Primary School Njinikom together and all sat the same entrance exam into Sasse the same year. We had our Ordinary Levels the same year in Sasse and proceeded to read Philosophy and Theology. He will be remembered for his genuine love for culture, his love for music and his desire to be with people, his various fields of study that made him outstanding is a lot and I must say it takes time to get people of his caliber and so it is a great loss for the educational community,” he said.
Prof Akoko Robert said the late Prof. Kini was an all-round scholar.
His words: “He is a great scholar. I have known since 1993 when we started teaching together in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the University of Buea. Since then, we have been working together. So when I was appointed to head the Department of Communication and Development Studies at the University of Bamenda, I felt I couldn’t do without Prof. Kini. In his one year lecture time in the University of Bamenda, he has left a great impact on the students and the university at large. He was an all-round scholar, a musician, a political scientist, a designer who designed most of his dresses and a lot more. I remember in Buea, besides teaching students Anthropology, he equally taught them designing and manipulation of fabrics to achieve certain desired colours and outcomes. It will take us time to get someone who will conveniently fit into his shoes.”
To Journalist Yerima Kini Nsom, junior brother to late Prof. Kini-Yen Kini, “Prof was many things in one. He was more than a brother. In fact, he was a father who took over the family since 1986 when our father died. He is of those rare examples in Kom where in matrilineal succession reigns that was chosen by his late father in total violation of the tradition to succeed him and not the nephew as tradition requires. This was due to his humaneness and wonderful sense of responsibility within the family. He sponsored me through school and many other people who were not family members. He was always very calm and solved so many problems without raising his voice. He was unsparingly frontal when it came to fighting social injustice. He was an intellectual activist who did not join the alleluia singers who sometimes join the oppressors in power against the masses. He was a Pan Africanist though he studied in the University of Sorbonne in France. He had his designer label in France meant to promote African dressing. In fact, I cannot enumerate all the virtues of his character here.”
The academic giant with 18 academic degrees leaves behind two sons and a large family and the university community to mourn him.