Published in 1969, Recontres essentielles is the first novel by a woman of sub-Saharan francophone Africa. Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury, of Cameroon, wrote it "to inspire other women to write." Its story of love, infertility, a failed marriage, and adultery looks at both interpersonal connections and national politics from a feminist perspective.
In the introduction the volume editor, Cheryl Toman, provides valuable background with a discussion of African matriarchy, past and present; ethnic groups in Cameroon; interracial relationships; and polygamy as it affects women's roles in the family and their interaction with one another.
About the Author
Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury (b. 1938) is a novelist, journalist, children's rights lawyer, and activist who is committed to the cause of African women. Currently she divides her time between Paris and Cameroon and is working on her second novel, based on the life of the political martyr Alexandre Douala Manga Bell.
Cheryl Toman is associate professor of modern languages and literatures at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of Contemporary Matriarchies in Cameroonian Francophone Literature and the editor of Defying the Global Language: Perspectives in Ethnic Studies.