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Mongo Beti (1932-2001) was a key figure in modern West African literature. His major works of fiction include The Poor Christ of Bomba (1956), Mission to Kala (1957) The Miraculous King (1958), and Perpetua and the Habit of Unhappiness (1974). His non-fiction includes The rape of Cameroon, autopsy of a decolonisation (1972) and France against Africa: return to Cameroon (1993). Although he spent 32 years in self-imposed exile, only returning to Cameroon in 1991, he was throughout his career a powerful political and moral voice, always engaged in the affairs of his home country.
Posted March 8, 2005
A fascinating story of Jean-Marie Medza who returns to his home village in the as an academic failure from his last exams, and is sent off to retrieve from upcountry Kala , the wife of a Niam, a villager who had run off with a man from Kala. This is after several attempts had been made to have her return home. Jean-Marie Medza's relatives honor him because he is a city man and he is educated. In this vivid portrayal of village life and the conflicts in a society coming to terms with western values, where those untouched or unexposed meet the white man, his ideas and those who are exposed to the ideas, Mongo Beti proved himself as a master storyteller. Medza lives with his relatives and becomes a local hero, courted by elderly people in the village, solicited by the girls and cherished by the boys. He sees better heroes in the crowd, yet stays unwilling to stop the underserved praises and attention. He knows he is a pseudo-hero, perhaps even worse than the father he dreaded, a father who had embraced so much of western ideas and commercial materialism to the detriment of his African intelligence, customs and values. Jean-Marie Medza finally clashes with his father, leaves the village, never to return again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.