Mongo Beti
(1932-2001)

Cameroonian leftist known for his stringent satires against colonialism and neo-colonialism. From his youth he was an outspoken enemy of colonialism and supporter of Ruben Um Nyobe, the leftist leader who led an armed anti-colonial struggle against the French in Cameroon and was executed in 1958. Spent the better part of his life in France, due to his criticisms of the client regime in Cameroon.




Ruben Books

Remember Ruben (1974): 252 pages,

Lament for an African Pol (1979): 362 pages,


Other Novels
The Poor Christ of Bomba (1956): 220 pages, a fierce attack on european missionaries, it is also a satire. Makes the point that missionaries during colonialism were the spiritual arm of colonialism: they benefited from the inhuman repression of the colonizers by gaining many converts who sought an escape from their miserable lives and some consolation that they would live better in an afterlife. Also, converts were more easily manipulated and controlled due to the religious authority over them excersized by the european missionaries whose interests were completely synonomous with those of the colonial state. It also attack and mocks the hypocritical conservative "morality" that clergy tend to espose, including of course, missionaries. Further points out that when this forced, imported and reactionary "morality" is forced on people, the reality behind the new facade is much worse than what was the case before the imposition of such ridiculous "morality."

Mission to Kala (1957): 185 pages, a humorous novel, it focuses on a student just returning to his village after failing his secondary school matriculation exam, who is charged by his village with going to an interior village to retrieve a wife of one of the townsmen. Having a colonial education and a controlling father, the trip is an eye-opener for the youth. In the interior village, which has resisted the influence of colonialism to a great extent (unlike the youth's village), the hero of the story sees and lives a more traditional way of life. An affirmation of some progressive traditions, the novel does not glorify the past, and mocks many traditions as well. Also highlights approvingly the outlook of the youth of the village, who are free, confident, independent people who have nothing but hate for colonialism, and refuse to be controlled by it, or by outdated traditions.

King Lazarus (1958): 186 pages,

Perpetua and the Habit of Unhappiness (1974): 221 pages,

The Story of the Madman (1994): 161 pages,