Thursday, November 5, 2015

Meet Waa Nkeng Musi, The Image Hunter

 By FC Ndi

Waa Nkeng Musi: The Image Hunter
Aristotle one of the greatest philosophers once developed an idea of virtue ethics that relies substantially on the effects role models have on people. According to Aristotle we learn to be morally (virtuous) by modeling the behavior of moral people. He believed that it was the moral duty of every citizen to act as a good role model. This was especially true for people who were most likely to be in the public eye, since these people had so many eyes on them that is why when asked, many youths would say that they want to be like their role models. Aristotle would argue that this is not a choice a person can make. Since these people are so prominent in our society they are role models and should take this responsibility seriously.
One person who is taking his leading role seriously is Waa Nkeng Musi, founder of MUSINASH Image Central, an audiovisual firm based in Bamenda, regional capital of the North West Region. Waa Nkeng Musi is a super-mega photographer, a profession in which he has gained fame. As the world celebrates World Photography, Musi should as well be acknowledged for clouting a weighing scale in the sector.
The most interesting thing about this energetic young man is that he looks beyond the horizon that appears to be the end of the world for others to see other opportunities that nobody imagines can exist. From a humble photographer with a small Kodak pushed by the passion to preserve images and the quest to earn a living, Waa Nkeng Musi moved out of the madding crowd to becoming a professional photographer, Movie Maker, Senior Audiovisual consultant. Talk about photography in Anglophone Cameroon and the first name that comes to mind is Waa Nkeng Musi. “My motivation to do photography came as a result of my love to preserve events in images”.
Musi Waa’s success story as a professional photographer,(image hunter) could be traced as far back as the early 90s when he was a student of Government Bilingual High School Mbengwi. One of teachers, Jaji Manu (Bilogy teacher) having discovered the knack young Musi had to images nicknamed him MUSINASH “Branche” which today a trademark in Cameroon.
With a lot of innovations in the sector, Musi says “the challenges are enormous now that digital equipments have been simplified and functions like robots leaving users just with the option to point and shoot”. This, he says attracted adventurers to the point that almost everyone with a Smartphone thinks his/herself a photographer.  However, the principalities according to Waa Musi must be applied by the professionals in order to make the difference. “We have kept our mark as seen in our art so as to meet up with international standards.  In order to strive as a professional, I have kept my skills wanting as well as upgrading them and above all, respecting the norms”. In fact, this could be seen through his work. Those who have had the opportunity to visit his office would agree with this reporter that Musi is as perfect as a mathematician.
  To say that Doumana has rescued the population from the pangs of useless drivers is to use one of the weakest diction ever to describe the work of a workaholic. But to say he has rescued the population from the pangs of useless driver and holders of fake drivers’ licenses makes his actions to similar to those of William Still.
Seemingly, these fascinating acts of transforming, acting and realizing positive multiplier upshot are gifted.
Rudyard Kipling, one of the finest English writers once said that “if you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs and if you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat the two the same, yours is earth and everything that is in it”. This is a clear-cut veracity justifies why has earned him several recognitions. He has won several national and international awards in photography and film making. In 2006 he was the Best Photographer in the North West in a competition organized by the then Ministry of Culture. This was prior to the National Festival of Arts and Culture. At a national exhibition held at the Hilton Hotel in Yaounde in 2008, Musi won the second national prize on photography. In 2006, he took part in an international photo exhibition, Ono Bursary Photography of the Year organized by The Duke of Edinburgh where he picked the crown of runner-up of the 150 participants representing their respective countries. His exploits at that exhibition gave him the opening to participate in the International Gold Event in Hong Kong and China where he took official pictures for the event.
What is important about this award winning dynamic young man is that he is resourceful, down to earth and fertile in expedients. In the year 2006, he started a jump-start career in the movie industry. His first film “Grains of Honesty” won the Best Feature Film for Africa at the Abuja International Film Festival. The following, he was selected Best Virtual Artist of the North West for his innovative ideas expressed through the Bring The Noise Project Africa by the British Library.  
Musi’s trappings can only be best captured through the lenses of John Quincy Adams who said that if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. Musi is not just a self-motivated person hunter with unparalleled qualities. In getting to where he is today he is also leaving a mark of greatness in his approach to empower young Cameroonians. “I have trained a lot of young people both in studio training that is long term as well as through Government sponsored project. My studio graduated 15 trainees and 6 others under the sponsorship of a government programme PAJER’U”. Majority of his trainees are settled in business both within and outside Bamenda. I have a trainee who is a photographer in the USA”. Some budding filmmakers and photographers like Bobmarli Muluh, Asanji Emmanuel, Eboua Mark, Billy Val, and the seasoned filmmaker Musing Derrick are his former students.   If Musi is building common frontiers for all segments of society as a photographer, it is thanks to his commitment to do just the right thing in sector that has recorded a lot of evolution. In keeping his head high, Waa Nkeng Musi followed the principle outlined by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that ‘heights by great “men” reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companies slept, they were toiling upward in the night’ burning the midnight candle to change lives around. This is also thanks to the training that he acquired at the Duke of Edinburgh’s program UK majoring in Photography and Filmmaking.
Harping on the major challenges at this year’s Photography Day commemoration in Bamernda, Waa Musi said that not everyone with a camera is a photographer. To him, a photographer is that person who is able to pull out a good image that speaks. Yet the sector is full of untrained photographers. Elaborating on the nomenclature of images, he said “most media houses exploit images without hiring the services of professions and at the end result is that they return home with extremely poor pictures for their publications and jeopardize the profession. However, he recommended that society should embrace photography as a profession and see photographers as preservers of history. “Government must give us the opportunity to proof our work by allowing us to have access to publication of arts in public space.  A good example is the municipal space in Yaounde around the Chinese center and the ministry of external relations where photos of our national integrity are displayed. In effect, it will sell our cultural values”.
The question as to how much of Cameroon as Africa in miniature is preserved in pictures abound high. This he said will expose them and will permit professional photographers to also participate in international exhibitions. It is for this reasons that young photographers have been chopped by the syndrome of on-spot shot collection. The reasons why photographers are hired abroad to do the job that can perfectly be done is also a major hindrance. Besides, authors’ rights are not also respected.    
As to whether photography is a sustainable job, Musi said “I am a proud photographer and my family goes by my sweat sweat as an image hunter just like a tapper who sustains his family from the rip of palms. From all indication, you will judge without doubts that I am happily living a blessed life. Though it is challenging to get there, it is all about steadfastness, honesty, respect for costumer ship,  duty conscious and above all surrendering it under God’s protection”.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

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