Life And Times Of Bwakambe
THE LAUGHING CRY — AN AFRICAN COCK AND BULL STORY by Henri Lopes Readers International, 1987, 259 pp., $8.95
July-August 1987, volume 11, No 4

The politics of the newly independent African nations is typical of the postcolonial hangover worldwide. Having served as the milch cow of their colonial overlords, the impoverished countries are inextricably tangled in a web of international debt, both financial and moral. In many cases, self assertion was suppressed and a neo-colonial legacy still continues. The leaders, such as they are, hanker after power with little idea of the subtler nuances of diplomacy. Intertribal rivalry, craftily exploited by the colonizers, threatens to divide the continent into thousands of fragments. Military dictators hastily seize the reins of control, which are then manipulated by a mysterious ‘foreign hand’. Having become Big Chief of all the tribes, they proceed, willy-nilly, to govern their countries. What often results is calamitous anarchy followed by another coup d’etat, and the same story repeats itself. Having served in an official capacity with the Congo-Brazzaville government, Henri Lopes is more than familiar with African polity. The present volume displays his astute observation of the minds of the African leaders, and of their little eccentricities which typify their uniqueness. Originally published in Paris in 1982 in French under the title Le Pleurer River the novel has been translated by Gerald Moore.

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