Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

26 November 2012

Cameroon: 'Cleansing the Queen' Novel on the Shelf

Written by Dr Peter Mabu, the story that has been translated into French, is the latest publication of the SOPECAM publishing house.

Cameroon's literary landscape has been enriched by a new publication. The book, titled "Cleansing the Queen" is a metaphorical novel tracing the history of Africans from slavery through colonialism, neo-colonialism, the wind of change to contemporary life. The narrative set in the fictive village of Wehlon, recounts the plight of a queen, Ya-anfon who is victim of her own beauty and therefore the object of covetousness from many suitors.

A marriage of interest between Ya-anfon, a Nfua and Jim Litz a Balanyam ushers an influx of Balanyams into Wehlon who take the advantage to pillage the resources of Wehlon and subject the Nfuas into oppression. The Nfuas are eventually liberated but their liberators of yesterday turned out to be the oppressors of today as Wehlon goes through a succession of leadership crisis. Calm is restored when the people finally settle for a democratic system of governance and peaceful alternation of power.

The narrative is simple, conversational and captures the interest of the reader from the beginning to the end. The story line is not that of cause and effect but a series of tableaus painted by the author, Shey Dr. Peter Mabu, to give a whole image of a mutilated continent symbolised in the raped queen who deserves to be cleansed from the curse.

The 153-page novel is divided into six chapters with a prologue and epilogue coupled with illustrations to ease the mind and enhance comprehension. Each chapter is preceded by a quote from an eminent thinker which acts a key to deciphering the message in the tableau. The book is printed on good quality paper and graphics on the back cover are in white on a blue background. The book is published by SOPECAM and distributed by Messapresse and cost FCFA 3500 a copy.

In the words of veteran university don and playwright, Prof. Bole Butake, "Cleansing the Queen" is an allegorical, docu-fictional narrative of the entire history of a people blinded by greed and endemic corruption and unaware of their own worth, written in a fluent literary style and a good sense of history and critical humour". The book in published in both French and English which is a novelty in Cameroon.

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