Born in Mbem,
Cameroon, in 1953, S. Nzante Spee went to primary and secondary school
at the Baptist Missionary College in Bamenda, Cameroon. In 1971, he left
the college and began teaching English at Saint Mary's College in Mbalmayo,
Cameroon. As a young man, since it was impossible to earn one's livelihood
in Bamenda by painting, Spee decorated facades, bookshops and post offices.
In 1976, he went to Nigeria to study fine arts for three years, and continued
his studies in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire until 1982. By this point, Spee
was recognized as a painter of great talent, with works being sold internationally.
In spite of his rising reputation, he decided to return to Cameroon. Moving
back to Bamenda, he had multiple expositions and workshops. In 1984, he
won the Bastos Prize, awarded in honor of Cameroon's best painting of
the year. From 1990 and 1991, he participated in the Festival des Francophonies
(Festival of the French-Speaking World) in Limoges, France. Once again
returning to Cameroon, Spee finally decided to carry out one of his oldest
dreams: to set up an arts center in Bamenda in support of Cameroonian
painters trying to make a career out of their art. Before the founding
of the Spee Art Center, no one in Cameroon could believe that it is possible
to make a living painting.