About Francis Nyamnjoh


  • nyamjoh-2bsepia Francis B. Nyamnjoh is Professor of anthropology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa

    Department of Social Anthropology University of Cape Town
    5.23 Arts Building
    Private Bag X3
    Rondebosch 7701
    Cape Town
    South Africa
    Tel: +27 21 650 3681
    Fax: +27 21 650 2307
    EMAIL

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Sue Bih

SOULS FORGOTTEN

Emmanuel Kwanga is an ex-student of the University of Asieyam. After his expulsion, he finds life rather difficult until one day when Patience comes to his aid. Emmanuel is a very idle young man and very notorious for being quarrelsome. He lives the life of someone which others may describe as delinquent, often spending a lot of time pondering on what bar to move- a chief motivation being where more drinks would be offered him. Disturbing dreams plague the lives of Patience and himself and consequently Emmanuel decides to make a visit to his village Abehema, stopping at Kaiserboch to spend the night with a friend. He reaches Abehema only to meet disaster as his village along with its neighbouring villages have been devastated by a poisonous gas. During his stay he eats an avocado which sends him in to a trance and he sees Chief Ngain in the form of his father laughing. He gets up in hospital and on the day he is discharged, is thrilled to find Patience waiting for him. Having grown in love for quite a long time, Emmanuel and Patience get married and are blessed with twins who are named after their late paternal grandparents. Emmanuel later on joins the Social Democratic Front and has dreams that his party will lose all three elections which he shares with his wife Patience. Believing in his dreams he leaves the party.

Anye

SOULS FORGOTTEN BY FRANCIS NYAMNJOH.

Souls forgotten looks through the life of Emmanuel Kwanga and the obligation he has to his village as everyone there is looking up to him for they have all seen him through to university hoping that they would enjoy a better life when his hard work is rewarded. However his life sequel is that of incredible misfortune. Leaving his door open he goes to check the results of his exam only to see that he has not lived up to the expectations of the village of Abehema. He returns home dismayed as he has failed his exams and discovers that thieves have taken advantage of his open door, leaving virtually nothing in his house.
And so the difficult life of Emmanuel begins. He goes to a church since he has no place to go. There he meets Patience who offers him accommodation. Her coming into his life is some sort of blessing to Emmanuel though it is mostly of his own effort as he steals money from her purse to go to bars. At this time the only dilemma he faces is which bar to visit. The one where he is offered more free drinks is always a motivating factor. He grows rather reckless and is always in arguments as examples of this with Janet his neighbor and Oumarou depict his hot temper.
With time, Emmanuel’s life takes another turn. Like the previous turn, it is nothing good. He starts having very bad dreams notably involving himself and Patience who go to his village Abehema only to find a vast land void of any sign of life. Because of this dream he decides to pay a visit to his village Abehema stopping at Kaizerbosch to spend the night there. He lodges at the house of his father’s old friend- Mr. Tangh-e-keh where he receives devastating news of how poisonous gas from Lake Abehema has spread through the neighboring villages leaving Abehema void of life just like in his dream. The neighboring villages are fast becoming like the devastated village of Abehema. They go on to visit victims at the hospital, Nchang and finally Abehema. There, he goes to his parent’s hut where a strange voice asks him to eat a pear fruit from the tree behind the hut. He falls into a trance and has a vision in which Chief Ngain appears to him wearing his father’s clothes. He is taken to hospital on account of food poisoning where he is admitted. On being discharged he finds Patience waiting for him and takes him home. Later on they get married and are blessed with twins. After this Emmanuel’s life in a way begins to make sense know as he works with the Social Democratic Party popularly known as S.D.F. But then again his dreams would not give him rest. This time he foresees that the party looses dismally in all the three upcoming election campaigns. Consequently he quits the S.D.F as his formation of an NGO suggests.
In a nutshell this story looks through the hero’s life as he tries to make sense out of it for both himself and Abehema, in a world where things are no longer as they used to be, clearly depicted for example by the abrupt ending of Abehema’s existence. It shows us what is very common among youths in our society today. At one point in their lives they go astray. The good ones like Emmanuel would find their way back on course. The bad youths would continue with their ‘new life’. Therefore the experiences of Emmanuel are just a few of the obstacles by which he is influenced to make critical decisions. For example, he forms his own NGO when he dreams that all is not going to work out well with the Social Democratic Front (S.D.F party). We learn to trust our instincts just as Emmanuel believed in his dreams, and sometimes take critical decisions in our lives in regards to the problems we face as the protagonist did in forming his NGO. Of course with this confidence, we are bound to be happy just as our hero ends up.
Souls Forgotten also exhibits a classical allusion to the theoretical democracy that Africa practices. From Emmanuel’s pessimistic dream of the future of the S.D.F, we can see the author bringing out the hope some African countries seem to have for a change in their government. This would be safe to say if we assume that like Emmanuel’s dream, the doom of the Social Democratic Front (S.D.F), indeed, comes to pass. In assuming this then we will not have to look very far for examples in our African society. The novel tells us that in spite of all signs of a possible victory in election campaigns, the S.D.F still lost (strictly in content of the dream). Well Zimbabwe’s M.D.C has just witnessed a similar fate. It is no secret that everyone saw a change coming in regards to Zimbabwe’s government. And what a change that turned out to be. They won but lost.
To put pen to paper in my analysis of Souls Forgotten, I like this book. Not only is it a well presented novel of an off course life that finds the right track in the end, but a epitome of something that could push youths to see themselves as Emmanuel and are therefore called to take a stand in the lives, unlike previous characters in the author’s recent novels such as the committed drinker, Dieudonne. And lastly, in my opinion, it voices out the truth about African democracy- it is just a theory.

nyamnjoh

Thanks Nike. I'm Pleased you found it of interest.

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