Chantal Biya in New York, 2009
8 January 1971 |
Dimako, East Province, Cameroon
Rosette Ndongo Mengolo
Chantal Pulchérie Vigouroux was born in 1971 in Dimako, East Province, Cameroon. Her father was French expatriate Georges Vigouroux and her mother, Miss Doumé pageant winner Rosette Ndongo Mengolo. Her mother was elected Mayor of Bangou following the July 2007 municipal elections.
She has established several charitable organisations. Among them are African Synergy, which pursues various HIV/AIDS initiatives, and the Chantal Biya Foundation (French Fondation Chantal Biya). She hosted the original First Ladies Summit in Yaoundé during the 1996 Organisation of African Unity summit.
She is well known for her hairstyles. Her signature style is called the banane, and is used for formal occasions. Biya has popularised other styles; collectively, they are known as the Chantal Biya. She is also known because of her exotic wardrobe. Some of her favourite designers include high-end Western labels such as Chanel or Dior.
Bertrand Teyou incident
In November 2010, Bertrand Teyou published a book titled La belle de la république bananière: Chantal Biya, de la rue au palais (English: "The belle of the banana republic: Chantal Biya, from the streets to the palace"), tracing Biya's rise from humble origins to become First Lady. He was subsequently given a two-year prison term on charges of "insult to character" and organising an "illegal demonstration" for attempting to hold a public reading. Amnesty International and International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee both protested his arrest and issued appeals on his behalf; Amnesty International also named him a prisoner of conscience. He was freed on 2 May 2011 when a well-wisher agreed to pay his fine in order that he might seek treatment for his worsening health condition.
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- Synergies Africaines contre le SIDA et les Souffrances
- Chantal Biya: Cameroon First Lady (Photos) Biography, photos and video.