Language: English

Pages: 122

ISBN: 1577669886

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Toundi Ondoua, the rural African protagonist of Houseboy, encounters a world of prisms that cast beautiful but unobtainable glimmers, especially for a black youth in colonial Cameroon. Houseboy, written in the form of Toundi's captivating diary and translated from the original French, discloses his awe of the white world and a web of unpredictable experiences. Early on, he escapes his father's angry blows by seeking asylum with his benefactor, the local European priest who meets an untimely death. Toundi then becomes "the Chief European's 'boy'--the dog of the King." Toundi's attempt to fulfill a dream of advancement and improvement opens his eyes to troubling realities. Gradually, preconceptions of the Europeans come crashing down on him as he struggles with his identity, his place in society, and the changing culture.

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to the sleeves of which his red badges and their silver braid had been sewn, apparently in some haste. From each sleeve trailed a length of white cotton. A middle-aged man wearing a pyjama top over his loin-cloth shouted 'Eyes front!' Some thirty urchins, unnoticed until now, sprang to attention. 'Forward marsss!' ordered the man. The schoolboys advanced in front of the Commandant. Their instructor shouted once more. 'Eyes front!' The boys seemed to panic. They huddled together like chickens who

hanging in the yard. 'Washman, washman,' she called. No reply. She sprang into the washhouse like a wounded panther. I knew Baklu went to sleep there through the after· noon waiting for his washing to dry in the sun. If you listened carefully you could hear his snores from the kitchen. There came the sound of a raised voice. 'Baklu in trouble,' said the cook. 'Idle creature! You lazy idle loafer!' shrieked Madame. 'Where do you think you are .•• where do any of you think you are? His lordship

right hand up to his nose was holding one of Madame's sanitary towels between the thumb and finger of his left. He tried to come into the kitchen. The cook shut the door against him and began to swear. Baklu went back to the washhouse, roaring with laughter•. He came back a few moments *Prison ao later sniffing his fingers which were dripping with water and trying to dry them by waving them about in the air. The cook half opened the door and shouted through, 'Don't come in here, don't come

over his motor cycle, over the 'Hammer of the Whites'. I was at the top of the cotton tree high up among the branches. The whole world stretched out at my feet, a great sea of people with leprosy and yaws, pregnant women with their bellies slit open and slimy old men, and millions of Gullets ,perched on the anthills kept order, cracking their hippopotamus-hide whips ••. I took off from my branch and dived headfirst plunging a thousand miles down on to, that world. My head burst like a 120 ,l \

Yaounde. When I came here I found the school full of great louts of twenty and over still trying to get their school certificates. I threw them all out. They were bone idle and most of them had gonorrhoea. The African instructors and pupils were making 31 the girls in the school pregnant. It was like a brothel. Going through the registers I discovered that the youngest pupil to get his school certificate was seventeen. The youngest pupil in the school was nine years old and in the preparatory

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