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Nji Collins Gbah

Cameroon Teen Is 1st African to Win Google Coding Challenge

BAMENDA, CAMEROON — A teenager in northwestern Cameroon has become the first African to win Google’s global youth coding challenge, despite an ongoing internet blackout in his hometown.

Nji Patrick Gbah’s tailor shop in Bamenda is buzzing with business and pride. His son, Collins, was recently named one of 34 grand-prize winners in this year’s Google Code-In, a global challenge for young programmers.

He used to punish his son for “joking” with the computer.

Nji Collins Gbah
“I was feeling that he is just spending his time without doing house chores. At times I used to seize my computer and lock it in the house and I tell him not to use it anymore because I was believing that he is just spending time on that computer for nothing,” said the teen’s father.

Nji Collins Gbah has won a trip to Google headquarters in California this June with the other top finishers.

The competition was open to students between the ages of 13 and 17. More than 1,300 young people from 62 countries participated this year.

“The only thing I want to say is focus on studies,” Collins said. “Get to know more about the opportunities that are around you and go to sites which have real information about opportunities like this.”

But that may be hard at the moment for his fellow students in Bamenda. In mid-January, the internet was cut to English-speaking parts of Cameroon, amid ongoing unrest.

Collins had to plead with his uncle for travel money so he could go to to Mbouda, a French-speaking town 30 kilometers away, to get online and compete. He had just a few days to complete 842 programming tasks.

Many believe the government ordered the internet blackout, though there has been no official confirmation.

Teachers and lawyers have been on strike in the English-speaking regions since November. They have been joined by activists calling for secession. Some demonstrations have turned violent and dozens of people have been arrested.

Officials say activists have been using social media to spread anti-government messages.

Cameroon’s minister of post and telecommunication, Libom Li Likeng, told VOA there has to be a responsible use of technology. She says although social networks provide lots of opportunities, they have noticed that many people use them for unhealthy purposes.

African countries have been increasingly responding to unrest by cutting internet access. Uganda, Congo and Mali are just a few other examples.

Last week, a U.N. rights expert called the internet blackout in parts of Cameroon “an appalling violation” of freedom of expression.

Residents in affected areas say it is impacting the economy as money transfer services and ATM’s are not working.


Previously posted: Young Cameroonian among the grand prize winners of the latest ‘Google Code-in’ contest

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  1. Good job youngster.
    You are setting an example for the youth in Kamerun.
    Now I do know some “mignons” will now come and sing praises because you hail from certain area.
    Bless the “petit” and bless le Kamerun

    • pretentious troll. It is this same attitude you started to use in hailing Hon Wirba after his parliamentary man of the year show only to make a u-turn few hours later and rejoice in police brutality. Always rushing to post junk 1st because of too much free time on your hands. Get a life idle turd.

      • @Mbappe’s full-time job is working for LRC to spread misinformation. If he does not, he will not be paid.
        On other posts on this site, he was happy to advocate for West Cameroon students like Nji Collins to be brutalized or even murdered by LRC gendarmes and military.
        Now he pretends to be happy for the kid’s success. What a hypocrite!
        Have a laugh and ignore him. @Mbappe is one of the triplet of deplorables I have encountered on this site. The others are @Pharoan and @Ras.
        We need to call them out for whom they are.

    • Keep ur fake congrats. He did it without u and we could do a lot more if we were not deprived of professional training. If it was not virtual, he would never have been there. Idiots are being admitted to ENAM, CUSS, ENS etc just because they are this or that. Ask ur uncle’s to restore internet bc this attitude makes it all the more clear that the union does not want us!

  2. Congratulations young man. Keep it up! Ras Tuge would hate him settling in Si Mountain Buea with his SWRM looney army that aims to own all mosquitoes while avoiding tigers! Nji Patrick, you will be welcome to the United States – a smart country that pulls top talent from all over the world to stay topmost.

  3. Congratulations for putting your country on the map! Great luck in scaling the hurdles along your path.

  4. Congratulations young man, like many in your generation you want to move Africa in a different direction, unfortunately there are to many grand papas in power who are willing to die with Africa than let you guys change it to benefit the many.
    Today we have Facebook, WhatsApp, internet etc making life easy for our people even in the most remote areas.
    Hope you get out of that place soon before someone charges you with treason for traveling to Bafoussam to access internet.
    Your win came at this time to remind the world that everyone in West Cameroon is considered a suspect today in the land of their ancestors
    Even without internet? Good Luck!

  5. @BMG my Bros concerning our previous laptop debate any comments ? We should do well to encourage such young minds.
    Once more congrats Nji, now your Dads gonna be forced to buy about 2 computers for you and one each for everyone else in the house.
    Kikikiki life is good !

  6. Nji Gbah, thank you for making us proud as well as for making the world appreciate the fact that not all youngsters in Southern Cameroon are like the weed smoking Brenda Biya of LRC. Please, stay focus and keep your eyes focus on the price.

  7. Congrats Collins. It is safer for your to remain in California until your statehood is restored given the rate at which your age mates are being bundled up and incarcerated by the forces of darkness, lawlessness and disorder in LRC. You shall have all the resources to forge and never regret it.

  8. Totally awesome petit frere. Go Indomitable Cub!

  9. This teen’s name must be “Mbah” or “Mba” and not Gbah!

  10. Du courage petit ! you are a rare spice which can enhance the taste of Cameroon’s future .

  11. Mr Collins you have done it! Those who have Internet 24/7 still didn’t have a chance! Maybe if the competition was in the hands of Paul Biya he would have called Brenda and announce her the winner. Biya’s legs are now like a banana stem, you don’t need a weapon to knock him down just a gentle wind. That is same for his military! Just look at the trucks that had accident in Yaoundé yesterday… what kind of military is that? We will not fight them; we leave them in the hands of our ancestors

  12. Congrats, I hope the Frogs can learn something from you.

  13. Korup Forest Belgium

    Congrats young boy! I like this “Many believe the government ordered the internet blackout, though there has been no official confirmation.” Yeah right, it was that imaginary thing called god who cut the internet.

  14. Bravo Collins! We are all very proud of you. Keep moving forward. Remember, don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. You got a dream, you got to protect it. You want something, go get it. Period.

  15. congrats Boy.proud of you.courage

    • Du courage petit camerounais le bonheur t attend . Certain que les enfants d AG sont derniers de la classe a force de bourrer leurs cerveaux avec ses bouffonneries . Inshort sep bush no aider the jujuman for come out of e pima brain. Les cancre font toujours beaucoup de bruit .

      • We all know your beef with the Biya regime is because he jailed your thieving uncle and not because you stand for justice. You are just another paranoid dark element from the epicentre of embezzlement. Moronic Coward! We will divide that country whether you like it or not!

  16. Akwaya Denizens Declare Themselves Nigerians.

    This is the message BaretaNews received now. First BaretaNews cannot independently verify this message as we write but because of the stakes, we are publishing as received.

    ” Akwaya is on fire right now .The villagers have burnt down government schools and grand stand demanding the release of their son Ayah Paul and they have declared themselves Nigerians until further notice …. there is heavy gun shot right now between police and villagers…”

    Is there anyone knowing someone in Akwaya that we can call to substantiate this news?


    • “there is heavy gun shot right now between police and villagers…”

      Keep the fake new going…

  17. Thank God that this contest was not conducted in La Republique du Cameroun. This young man would not have known how to get by because it would have been first only in French language, secondly it would have required bribing, thirdly he would have failed because the questions would have been misinterpreted or mistranslated into English and fourthly he would have never known about it because where would they communicate it. But thank God that the hand of LRC was never in this. When they should up they almost hindered this young guy. That’s La Repubilique for you. A stumbling block to every opportunity for young people. Long Live Southern Cameroons, Long Live Ambazonia, Long Live success from Ambaland.

  18. well done young man,be proud of your anglophone heritage, without it, you would not have won anything, LRC does not give opportunities to young people like yourselves.I hope you use your intelligence and care to help all the young people in that hellhole country.

  19. Can’t be prouder of u Collins. U represent d future n hope of Southern Cameroons. ICT is d new frontier will greatly transform SC..hope La Republique will not scheme to replace dis brilliant son of ours by fielding one Mbarga or Atangana to impersonate Collins in order to travel to California to steal Collins’ award!! Those thieves n low life are capable of anything!

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