Cameroon movie industry loses icon, Otia Vitalis!.

The late Otia Vitalis Suh

One of Cameroonian’s finest actors and film producers, Otia Vitalis Suh, is dead.

The senior biomedical scientist cum movie actor, died in the early hours of Sunday in Yaounde.

We gathered that Otia Vitalis, who featured in over 50 movies throughout his career, breathed his last after suffering from an unknown illness.

He was hospitalised at the Yaounde Biyem-Assi District Hospital, where he eventually gave up the ghost.

The Guardian Post gathered that Otia, who was amongst the pioneers in the Cameroonian film industry, took ill recently and was rushed to hospital. After battling between life and death for days, he finally succumbed to the cold hands of death.

It was not immediately known what might have killed the movie star.

Following his demise yesterday, tributes have been pouring in honour of the late revered thespian. His colleagues in the movie industry have been taking turns to pay him their last respects.

In an outing Sunday, movie actress and producer, Stephanie Tum, wrote: “This is heartbreaking. Oh Pa Otia!!! Thank you for sharing your gift with us. This is such a big loss”.

For his part, movie producer, BillyBob Ndive Lifongo, described yesterday as a black Sunday for the Cameroon Film Industry in particular and the entire entertainment industry, following the demise of Otia.

In a moving tribute posted on social media yesterday, journalist, Katche Rene, who grew up in Tole near Buea, just like the late Otia, described him as a cherished and venerated actor.

He said his departure has left a void that will be deeply felt across the world of cinema and beyond. 

“Known for his captivating performances and profound impact on African film, Otia's legacy is one of brilliance, dedication, and cultural enrichment,” Katche noted, stating that “the Tole Boy was not just an actor, he was a storyteller whose roles transcended the screen, touching the hearts and minds of audiences”. 

“Throughout his career, Otia's versatility and commitment to his art earned him admiration and respect. He brought characters to life with such authenticity and passion that viewers were not merely watching a film but experiencing a journey. His ability to convey a wide range of emotions with subtlety and power made him a standout figure in the industry,” Katche added.

Otia Vitalis gained recognition primarily for portraying fatherly characters in Cameroon Movie Industry, Collywood films in the early 2000s. 

The multifaceted movie legend was mainly seen in his movies as a statesman, traditional ruler, father, or elder. His breakthrough came through his role in the popular series, Bad Angels, aired on state-run TV, CRTV.


A self-made man                  

Though originally a native of Modele in Menchum Division of the North West Region, Otia Vitalis was born in Tole, near Buea, in the South West Region.

He began acting as far back as his Secondary School days in Bishop Rogan College, Small Soppo-Buea. 

It so happened that a member of the drama club was once absent and he was called up to replace him. 

He played the role well and the Rev Father in charge, Fr Humphery Tatah Mbuy, was very impressed and so kept calling him to act.

Aside being an actor, Otia Vitalis was a senior medical laboratory scientist. 

He worked at the research unit of the University of Yaounde I. 

In the movie industry, Otia served as board chair of the Cameroon film industry. 

He was elected to the coveted position in 2013. 

A pioneer in the Cameroonian film industry, Otia Vitalis was founder of the Red Feather Awards, which promoted Cameroon culture in entertainment.

He featured in over 50 made-in-Cameroon movies and three TV series. 

He was well known for his role in popular TV series, Bad Angels, which gained popularity in most Cameroonian households. 

He also featured in movies, including 4th Generation, Hidden Dreams, Saving Mbango, Daniella the Slave Girl, Love Trap, Dzemakou, Samba, Maestro and Broken, which is on Netflix. He earned nominations and recognitions in the film industry for putting Cameroon on the global stage.

He was spotted in at least four adverts on TV and outdoor publicity for corporate companies. 

Vitalis Otia also featured in a famous music video by renowned singer, Mr Leo.



This story was first published in The Guardian Post issue No3137 of Monday June 10, 2024

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