ISBN 9789956558599
Pages 172
Dimensions 203 x 127 mm
Published 2009
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Genuine Intellectuals

Academic and Social Responsibilities of Universities in Africa

by Bernard Nsokika Fonlon

This book, slim as it looks, took Bernard Nsokika Fonlon the best part of five laborious years to write 1965-9 inclusive. He writes: "I was penning away as students in France were up in arms against the academic Establishment, and their fury almost toppled a powerful, prestigious, political giant like General de Gaulle. In America students, arms in hand, besieged and stormed the buildings of the University Administration, others blew up lecture halls in Canada - the student revolt, a very saeva indignatio, was in paroxysm. But in England (save in the London School of Economics where students rioted for the lame reason that the College gate looked like that of a jail-house) all was calm..."

Fonlon drew on these events to define the role of university education in this precious treasure of a book, which he dedicates to every African freshman and freshwoman. The book details his reflections and vision on the scientific and philosophical Nature, End and Purpose of university studies. He calls on African students to harness the Scientific Method in their quest for Truth, and to put the specialised knowledge they acquire to the benefit of the commonwealth first, then, to themselves. To do this effectively, universities must jealously protect academic freedom from all non-academic interferences. For any university that does not teach a student to think critically and in total freedom has taught him or her nothing of genuine worth. Universities are and must remain sacred places and spaces for the forging of genuine intellectuals imbued with skills and zeal to assume and promote social responsibilities with self abnegation.

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“Bernard Fonlon … believed in public service with selfless dedication and unwavering integrity.  … He was educated in the classical mould of Europe, yet he remained close to home in his daily life.”

Professor Aliko Songolo, University of California – Irvine, USA

“Professor Bernard Fonlon’s only joy and satisfaction in regard to students and their work was to see young Cameroonians contributing to the advancement of knowledge.”

Dr Paul Verdzekov, Archbishop Emeritus of Bamenda, Cameroon

About the Author

Bernard Nsokika Fonlon

Professor Bernard Nsokika Fonlon, M.A., Ph.D., (Nui) Dip. Ed. (Oxon), born 19 November 1924 in Nso, North West Region of Cameroon, died 26 August 1986. He was a government minister and leading intellectual of Cameroon. A man of diverse abilities, Fonlon was characterized as the Cameroonian Socrates. He was a major promoter of bilingualism, as reflected in the journal Abbia: Cameroon Cultural Review that he founded in the early 1960s.

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