Chantal Biya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chantal Biya
Chantal Biya 2014 (cropped).jpg
Chantal Biya in Washington, DC (2014)
First Lady of Cameroon
Assumed office
23 April 1994
PresidentPaul Biya
Preceded byJeanne-Irène Biya
Personal details
Born (1970-12-04) 4 December 1970 (age 49)
Dimako, East Province, Cameroon
Paul Biya (m. 1994)
ParentsGeorges Vigouroux
Rosette Ndongo Mengolo
First ladies Chantal Biya of Cameroon and Laura Bush of the United States, after a coffee in the White House's Yellow Oval Room. (2003)

Chantal Biya (née Chantal Pulchérie Vigouroux, born December 4, 1970) is the First Lady of Cameroon.


Early life[edit]

Chantal Biya was born in Dimako, East Province, Cameroon.[1] 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.[2]

She spent her adolescence in Yaoundé.[3]

Personal life[edit]

She married 37-years older President Paul Biya on 23 April 1994, after his first wife, Jeanne-Irène Biya, died in 1992.[4][5]

She is well known for her hairstyles.[5][6] Her signature style is called the banane, and is used for formal occasions.[7] Biya has popularised other styles; collectively, they are known as the Chantal Biya.[8] She is also known for her exotic wardrobe. Among her favourite designers are high-end Western labels such as Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton.[5]


She established the Fondation Chantal Biya in 1994,[9] and hosted the inaugural First Ladies Summit in Yaoundé in 1996;[10] the Jeunesse active pour Chantal Biya is an organ of her husband's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement.[11]

Bertrand Teyou[edit]

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"),[12] tracing Biya's rise from humble origins to become First Lady.[5][13] 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.[5][13] Amnesty International and PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee both protested his arrest and issued appeals on his behalf; Amnesty International also named him a prisoner of conscience.[13][14] He was freed in April 2011 when a well wisher agreed to pay his fine in order that he might seek treatment for his worsening health.[15]


  1. ^ G’nowa (2008).
  2. ^ F. (2007).
  3. ^ Morikang (2008).
  4. ^ 2004 Presidential elections: Paul Biya’s Biography, Republic of Cameroon, archived from the original on 30 September 2007, Paul BIYA has been married since 23 April 1994 to Chantal BIYA, after the passing away of his first wife on 29 July 1992.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lees (2014).
  6. ^ Andrews-Dyer (2014).
  7. ^ Nyamnjoh, Durham & Fokwang (2002), p. 113
  8. ^ Nyamnjoh, Durham & Fokwang (2002), p. 117
  9. ^ Fondation Chantal BIYA [Chantal Biya Foundation] (in French), Yaoundé, Cameroon: Synergies Africaines contre le SIDA et les Souffrances, archived from the original on 12 June 2015, Créée en 1994 par Madame Chantal BIYA, Epouse du Président de la République du Cameroun, la Fondation Chantal BIYA est une association humanitaire, apolitique, non confessionnelle et à but non lucratif.
  10. ^ Ibrahim (2003), p. 17.
  11. ^ Ngwane (2004), p. 17.
  12. ^ Teyou (2010).
  13. ^ a b c Mitchell (2011a).
  14. ^ "Urgent Action: Cameroonian writer held in harsh conditions" (PDF). Amnesty International. 12 April 2011.
  15. ^ Mitchell (2011b).


External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Jeanne-Irène Biya
First Lady of Cameroon