Bernard Fonlon, one of the greatest leaders of our time has died in 1986. He was a teacher, writer, editor of literary journals, and head of the African Literature Department at the University of Yaoundé. This great leader always made strong stand for the oppressed communities. Even in the difficult political atmosphere he never let down from his honor and ideology. After the passage of this great person, people across the world intend to honor his memory and founded Fonlon-Nichols award.
Stephen Arnold former director of the Research Institute for African and Caribbean Literature RICLAC at the University of Alberta came forward to contribute and develop a fund in the name of this leader. Friends of Fonlon form all over the world then came in handy and contributed for the fund. The Provincial Government of Alberta matched these contributions.
Lee Nichols, a journalist who is well known for his passionate work on human rights. He always raised his voice against racism and supported human rights with every bit of him. He is very popular for his historic reports on Voice of America on the development of African literatures. Scholars of African literature greatly honor Nichols for his outstanding work on literature. By the time Alberta Government raised funds in memory of Fonlon, Nichols announced his retirement.
Bernard Fonlon and Lee Nichols both shared common ideology and followed the path of humanity. They thought alike in the commitment to democratic ideals, humanistic values, and literary excellence in Africa.The executive committee of RICLAC decided to associate Nichols name with Fonlon and now the fund is used to award as Fonlon-Nichols Award.
From the meeting at Guadeloupe in 1993 the Executive of the African Literature Association decided to arrange the award in every year’s meeting and since then it’s going on.