Chantal Biya

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Chantal Biya
Chantal Biya 2014 (cropped).jpg
Chantal Biya in Washington D.C., 2014
Born (1971-01-08) 8 January 1971 (age 44)
Dimako, East Province, Cameroon
Occupation First lady
Spouse(s) Paul Biya
Parent(s) Georges 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 Friday, 21 March 2003

Chantal Biya (born 8 January 1971) is the First Lady of Cameroon.


Early life[edit]

Chantal Pulchérie Vigouroux was born in 1971 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]


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.[4]

Her Jeunesse Active pour Chantal Biya is an organ of her husband's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement.[5]

Grand Prix Chantal Biya is a professional road bicycle racing event on the UCI Africa Tour.

Personal life[edit]

She married President Paul Biya on 23 April 1994, after his first wife, Jeanne-Irène Biya, died in 1992.[6][7]

She is well known for her hairstyles.[7][8] Her signature style is called the banane, and is used for formal occasions.[9] Biya has popularised other styles; collectively, they are known as the Chantal Biya.[10] She is also known because of her exotic wardrobe. Some of her favourite designers include high-end Western labels such as Chanel or Dior.[7]

Bertrand Teyou incident[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"), tracing Biya's rise from humble origins to become First Lady.[7][11] 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.[7][11] 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.[11][12] 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.[13]


  1. ^ Cameroun Online
  2. ^ F., M. (2 August 2007). "Bangou – La mère de Chantal Biya élue maire". Le Quotidien Mutations. Accessed 7 May 2008.
  3. ^ Morikang.
  4. ^ Ibrahim 17.
  5. ^ Ngwane 17.
  6. ^ Paul Biya's Biography. Republic of Cameroon 2004 Presidential Elections website. Accessed 27 October 2006.
  7. ^ a b c d e Kevin A. Lees, The Story Behind the Hair: Contemporary, Repressive Cameroon, The Huffington Post, 8 July 2014
  8. ^ Helena Andrews, The first lady of Cameroon and her hair have touched down in D.C., The Washington Post, 4 August 2014
  9. ^ Nyamnjoh et al. 113.
  10. ^ Nyamnjoh et al. 117.
  11. ^ a b c "Cameroon: Author jailed for insulting President's wife". International PEN. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Urgent Action: Cameroonian writer held in harsh conditions" (PDF). Amnesty International. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Cameroon: Author Jailed for Insult Released". Writers in Prison Committee, International PEN. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 


External links[edit]