Cruel City: A Novel

By Mongo Beti; Pim Higginson | Go to book overview

11

MORE OR LESS HALFWAY between the city and Bamila, Banda stopped. There were no huts in sight: to the left and right, nothing but the bush or the forest.

He sat on the low embankment that ran along the road and exhaled. It felt as if he were back in friendly territory. Sweat beaded on his face: he wiped it with the palm of his wide hand, and then dried it off on his khaki shorts. It feels good to be in the forest! the young man thought naïvely. Why did he want to go to the city later? And maybe he was wrong? He had often felt how cruel and hard the city was, with its White officers, its regional guards, its territorial guards with bayonets fixed to their barrels, its one-way streets, and its “no natives allowed” policy. But this time, he had been its victim: he had realized everything that was inhuman about it.

Sighing, he brought his hand to his black eye: the swelling had diminished since last night. And perhaps Fort-Nègre wasn’t like Tanga? Perhaps Tanga was a special case? And perhaps the ferocious and recalcitrant personality of the inhabitants of this area explained the extreme harshness of the Whites? Was everywhere really like Tanga? He’d have to find out. He’d have given a lot to know. One way or another he couldn’t continue living in Bamila after his mother died. You can’t live in a large village like Bamila where all the old men hate you and you hate them. You can’t even live in one of the nearby villages because their hate will pursue you …

-123-

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Cruel City: A Novel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Romancing Africa xi
  • 1 1
  • 2 8
  • 3 16
  • 4 20
  • 5 35
  • 6 47
  • 7 64
  • 8 78
  • 9 93
  • 10 108
  • 11 123
  • 12 139
  • 13 151
  • Epilogue 166
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