This town in the English part of the country gains this reputation in the 90’s. “Back in the days, the Fiango town hall (1st Arrondissement of Kumba) was known for issuing fake birth certificates. In the event of a person losing this document or wanting to change their age, the way to go was Kumba, close to Nigeria”, we learned from a journalist in his forties. A vast corruption phenomenon which generated a typically Cameroonian saying: “avoir l’âge de Kumba ou faire le Kumba (being Kumba age or do the Kumba)”. A way of saying that one can have a birth certificate which does not state one's true age.
For example, if you turned 60 years old in 2016, well, thanks to Kumba, you can officially pretend to be only 30. Which would enable you for example to sit some exams where the maximum age is an essential requirement. You could also delay your retirement even though your white hair and advanced hair loss do not match with your official 30 years. “They have all kinds of stamps in Kumba. From the seal of the Yaoundé I mayor to the stamp of the gynaecologist at the Fondjomekwet hospital who is meant to have carried out your delivery”, our source says ironically.
“To pretend that your birth certificate was established a long time ago, in Kumba the method was to soak it in stout, preferably Guinness. The certificate was then sun dried. Et voila!”, indicates Francis, looking all serious. The creation of a National Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths in 2013, to digitise all Registrar documents, did not change a thing. Fake documents persist... in Kumba as everywhere else.