The Old Man and the Medal by Ferdinand Oyono

The Old Man and the Medal by Ferdinand Oyono

This novel fiercely satirizes the false pretenses of European colonial rule in Africa. Meka, a village elder, has always been loyal to the white man. It is with pride that he first hears he is to receive a medal. While waiting for the ceremony, however, Meka’s pride gives way to skepticism. At the same time, his wife has realized that the medal is being given to her husband as compensation for the sacrifices they have made. The events following the ceremony confirm Meka’s new estimation of the white man. Both subtle and oftentimes humorous, this beautifully told story lays bare the hollowness of the mission in Africa. It fuels opportunities for discussing colonial politics around class and race as well as for exploring indigenous Cameroon life and values.

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