Mission To Kalaby Mongo Beti
Mission to Kala (Mission terminée) is a powerful comic novel set in late colonial Cameroon. It won the Prix Sainte-Beuve in 1958. It describes the visit of a young Yaounde-educated man to a village in the interior. Jean-Marie Medza, the narrator, has just failed his Baccalauréat exam, and returns home expecting humiliation. Instead, he finds that as a scholar his prestige is immense, and he is charged with the duty of travelling to Kala, a remote village, to secure the return of a young woman who has fled her lazy, demanding husband.
In Kala, while awaiting the return of the woman to the village, Medza stays with his uncle, who exploits the young man's celebrity status to have him showered with gifts, most of which his uncle keeps. Medza is the focus of a series of amusing incidents, becomes unexpectedly married, and eventually completes his mission - but then has to return home to deal with the anger of his ambitious father.
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.
- Mallory International
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 0.41(w) x 5.00(h) x 8.00(d)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
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.