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René Douala Manga Bell (His Royal Highness Prince)

NameDouala Manga Bell
Other NamesRené
Date of Birth1927-02-22
Place of BirthDouala

Prince René Douala Manga Bell was the heir to the throne of Bell, one of the most famous dynasties “Sawa”. Despite his small size he was a respected leader with a charismatic personality and wanted to make the leap to modernity for his people.

Born February 22, 1927, in Douala, to father Eitel Douala Manga Bell, elder brother of Prince Alexander Ndoumbé Douala Manga Bell, his father re-married after his mother’s death to Rachel Kwedi Tiki of Bonendale.

On completion of his studies in Douala, he enlisted in the French army in 1948 and fought in Tonkin from 1950 to 1953, later that same year he returned to France. After his discharge, he married Delphine Bonny M'Bedy Eboumbou in January 1954 in Paris, at St Honoré d' Eylau church, after five years of engagement.

He enjoyed a professional career in journalism, having joined the Training Centre for Journalists, in Paris, he collaborated with several newspapers , including RTF (Radio Television Francaise), Presence Africaine, Carrefour de l’Histoire, OCORA (Office de la Coopération de la Radiodiffusion pour l’Afrique) and Eclair newspaper for Cinema newsreels of Cameroon.

When his uncle Prince Alexandre Douala Manga Bell Ndoumbé died, September 19, 1966, Bell returned to Cameroon and took over as the reigning Prince. As a man of culture and politics he was immediately respected by all for his enlightened sense and intuitive perception of events.

In obedience, he would often accompany his wife to church on Sundays, at Saints Pierre et Paul Cathedral, in Yaounde. His friends were from all sides. Among them were Cardinal Christian Tumi and his Majesty the King of Bamum and Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya.

He died on the night of November 5, 2012, in Douala. The official funeral of the Prince were held on 16 December 2012 because they needed time to prepare to pay tribute to the great man he was. Tradition in Cameroon requires the dead body of a traditional chief does not go to the morgue but should be buried the same day of his death in an undisclosed location.

Despite the fact that ministers of religion present at the farewell ceremony knew with assurance the coffin placed in front of the post station in Bonanjo was actually empty it had still not prevented a large ecumenical worship celebrated in honour of the legendary ruler, and in the presence of Mr. Rene Sadi, Personal Representative of the Head of State.