Village Noah, a must for Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Cameroon

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Former French tennis player and singer Yannick Noah at Village Noah in Yaoundé on July 25, 2022.

It has become a must for all French luminaries passing through Yaoundé: Village Noah, where the former winner of Roland-Garros (1983), transformed into a successful singer, now spends more than six months a year. Thus, Emmanuel Macron, who is visiting Cameroon, is also expected there after a lunch with President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for almost forty years.

Located in Etoudi, a district in the northern part of Yaoundé, Village Noah extends over approximately two hectares. “I grew up here until I was 12, told World Yannick Noah during the African Cup of Nations (CAN), played in January and February in Cameroon. At that time there was nothing on this family land, only bush and a river, a little further down, where the children went to fetch water. »

The “village” includes three tennis courts, a swimming pool, a bar, a performance stage and a dozen bungalows

Today, the area, located a few hundred meters from the presidential palace and the new Olembe stadium, is surrounded by the city, and Etoudi has become a district of the capital. At the entrance is a multi-way panel on which you can read: “Swimmingpool (83.50 meters)”, “New York (9,344 km)” and… “Roland-Garros (7,091 km)”. The “village” includes three tennis courts, a Le Coq sportif store (the player’s historic equipment supplier), a swimming pool, a bar, a stage for shows and about ten bungalows built in the middle of a huge garden with lush vegetation.

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“When my father died in 2018, I became the traditional chief of Etoudi village, explains Yannick Noah. It is a title passed down from father to son. During the funeral, which lasted two days, we danced and everyone who knew my father came to tell me anecdotes about him, moments of life. »

The house cocktail

Yannick Noah’s mother had built a school where a dozen children from the neighborhood came to take classes. “Today there are 400 children, welcomes Yannick Noah. They receive instruction in English and French [les deux langues officielles du Cameroun]. Being a chef obliges me to certain tasks, including taking care of the children, the elderly and the most fragile. Soon I plan to build a pharmacy. » The former champion also takes care of a Cameroonian tennis player, Uma, whom he dreams of “to see one day enter center court”.

Yannick Noah and Emmanuel Macron have never met. After a visit to the family vault, a simple white building under mango trees where Noah’s grandfather and father rest, the two men will be able to speak discreetly in a custom bus the singer has decorated. Then, in the bar, whose walls are covered with trophies and a jersey of his son Joakim Noah, NBA star, a “zack” will be served, the house cocktail imagined by Zacharie Noah, father of Yannick and good soccer player who won the Coupe de France with the Sedan club in 1961.

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The village of Noah will act as a setting “discussions with French and Cameroonian civil society representatives as part of the follow-up to the New Africa-France Summit [organisé en octobre 2021 à Montpellier] », said Elysée. Emmanuel Macron is also due to meet with a dozen young Cameroonians and French who have been working together on the future of relations between the two countries, good governance, the environment and issues of colonial memory.

The evening ends with a concert by Cameroonian musicians. Yannick Noah should also go on stage to interpret Africa Saga and Back to Africa. Emmanuel Macron is to continue his stay on the continent with a visit to Benin on Wednesday, where several meetings are planned – notably with President Patrice Talon – and the next day in Guinea-Bissau.

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