Therese Ngann (Fashion Designer)
|Date of Birth||1928-04-06|
Cameroon's foremost fashion designer and superior stylist, Madam Therese Ngann paved the way for the countries fashion empress to reach an international prominence.
She was the last born in a family of ten children and her parents destined her to become a nun. At the St. Anne Novitiate in Edea, the young Thérèse’s passion for sewing began to evolve and she was then sent to Ms. Clavery for training, whom was trained at Christian Dior in France. She was also enrolled in correspondence courses at “Coupe et Couture” in Paris before her career rocketed in 1955.
As a pioneer, she organized the first ever fashion show in Cameroon at “Salle des Fetes d’ Akwa” in Douala, in May 1967. The impressive display of events wowed the 400 guests and she instantly shot to fame.
From 1970 to 1979, she landed the role of being the official designer of Cameroon Airlines ( Camair ) hostesses. Her favourite fabrics to play around with were bazin materials and loincloth. Her fame continued to rise as she was sought by the First Lady at the time, Germaine Ahidjo. Her impressive list of clientele included many other wives of heads of state, including Jeanne Irene Biya and Josephine Bongo (Patience Dabany).
In 1994 she was crowned Queen of the African fashion and in 2002 received the “Epi d'Or” at FENAC festival. Later that year she unveiled her new perfume line during a glamourous fashion show in Yaoundé.
Despite her brilliant career, Therese Ngann's last days were gripped by misery and poverty. In 2010 She was reportedly thrown out of the house at Bonapriso in which she had been living since 1963. She was very sick with little money and had nowhere to go to, until a relative came to her rescue by taking her to a residence at New Bell where she lived until her death.
But Madam Ngann's spectacular professional career overshadows whatever might have been turbulent moments in her life. That is why President Biya's envoy, Ama Tutu Muna, decorated her, posthumously, with the National Order of Valour.
In a eulogy, the Secretary General in the Ministry of Culture, Mamaouda Malachi, praised the fallen designer for getting Cameroon's fashion to international respectability. He described Therese Ngann as a fertile-minded person who remained humble and sympathetic, despite her enormous achievements. To him, she remains a role model for younger generations.
During a requiem mass, Rev. Father Jean Pierre Binam of the Matomb Catholic Church, described late Ngann as a selfless and self-made person, who lived and died in the fear of God. He said the late designer was patient and humble. Several personalities, including the Minister of Social Affairs, Catherine Bakang Mbock, varsity dons, artists and designers attended her funeral.