Joseph Chiefor Tamajong – Boston, MA
Beloved grandfather, father, and husband Joseph Chiefor Tamajong, 85, of Boston, MA, passed away on May 12, 2020 with his family by his side. Over the course of his 85 years, Papa Tamajong as he was popularly known by all, overcame and achieved more things than the average person could manage in twice that time. Born in a small village called Nkwen in Bamenda, Cameroon, Pa Tamajong embodied the spirit of resiliency and self-reliance; he left school and worked odd jobs from the age of ten to support his family before moving to Nigeria and taking on a career in the military. . Nkwen is in the Bamenda Metropolis in Mezam Division, of the North West Region of the Republic of Cameroon.
It was during a break from his military career that he met the woman who would eventually become his soulmate and partner of more than 60 years, Juliana. Together, they returned to Cameroon and began a life journey together that would eventually lead to 10 children, 15 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
Pa Tamajong professional life was prosperous and varied, with a work ethic that few could hope to match. Following his return to Cameroon he worked first as a police officer, then as Chief of Public Works, and finally as a successful business owner before settling down into retirement.
When asked about his philosophy towards life, Pa Tamajong answer would always revolve around one thing: family. In everything he did and in every lesson he taught, it all always came back to the importance of family. To his children, he was both a role model and an active, available parent. Although he never had the opportunity to achieve his own academic ambitions, he did everything in his power to ensure that every single one of his children was able to attend university and live the life he had always dreamed of for them. To his wife, he was a loving partner both within the family home and in supporting her own professional aspirations. To the Tamajong family, he was the backbone and a moral support for all.
Following his retirement, he moved to the United States to be with his oldest children and Boston became his second home. Pa Tamajong was an active member of his local community, his church, and a number of Cameroonian social clubs. Although he came to the US with little formal education, he chose to attend adult literacy classes because he wanted to understand his new home and its culture. With the same passion and vigor, he carried throughout his life, he threw himself into the new adventure of American life fully, going on to become an American citizen and a dynamic and engaged volunteer in a number of political campaigns.
Pa Tamajong was a noble man of very high repute in his native village of Nkwen. In Nkwen, Pa was known traditionally as “Tah Meh’ Ntse”, which title is bequeathed upon him as one of the original nine (9) ancestral descendant family heads known as Beh Tah Beh’ Tielah in Nkwen.
The norms, believes and tradition of the Nkwen people recognizes all of the Beh Tah Beh’ Tielah’s as they are adulated and respected in their own rights and share certain inalienable rights of nobility; their remains, funeral rites and interment are not subject to public viewing. Public celebrations of their life (cry die) can only happen after their interment and must be exclusively decreed by the traditional hierarchy of the village after certain traditional libations and formalities have been fulfilled.
In each place he went, he became a friend, father figure, and inspiration to all. He made it a point to attend every housewarming, christening, or bereavement he was invited to because he considered the members of his community to be members of his own family. Pa Tamajong lived faithfully in his values and never took a single day of life for granted. He will be deeply and endlessly missed by all who knew him.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies” – John 11:25
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