Tuesday, June 23, 2015
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In Joseph R. Alila’s first anthropological novel, SUNSET ON POLYGAMY, marital cultural lore and spirituality combine to breed a tragic confusion in a land faced with a deadly new disease epidemic, with public debates raging as to whether the killer is ancestral
In this work of fiction, Joe Ochom, a young man testing his verbal skills in the art of seduction, soon realizes that corralling an educated girl (Megan) requires more than adorning his high school blazer in the marketplace. He proves cowardly—a weakness his principal competitor, polygamist Jim Kokech, is quick to exploit.
With his attention on Megan, Jim suddenly faces a revolt from his wives. Felicia, the first wife, resolves to punish him; she locks him out of her bedroom, just when they must celebrate the planting season as the principal “spiritual co-owners” of the home. Jim’s pastoral calendar comes to a sudden halt—reminding him that the Luo
Baby boom! A year later, Felicia looks on in anger as the home welcomes three newborns, with Maria, Milka, and Nyapora presenting a child each to their shared husband. Felicia has reached menopause, but instead of embracing her new physiological reality, and aging gracefully as the matriarch of her home, she becomes angry at Jim and her co-wives. Struggling with a broiling bout of jealousy at her co-wives and nursing unpredictable desires of her husband, Felicia brews one immoral “romantic” mischief after another and nearly kills her husband while trying a cultic remedy to her marital problems. Depressed, Felicia flees to the Big City to escape the shameful spectacle she has become among the women of Korondo Ridge.
Korondo Ridge still has no rest: Gina—a young widow who has just delivered the body of her late husband, George Amolo, from the Big City—refuses, to the utter dismay of elders, to welcome any man into her bed, arguing that her husband died of “a strange new disease”. The elders refuse to listen, asserting that George died of his father’s
Tragedy! The killer malady the elders call
Felicia returns to Korondo Ridge amid the
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Thursday, August 1, 2013
In Joseph R. Alila’s spiritual anthropological novel, THE WISE ONE OF RAMOGILAND, the arrival of a colonial master in Kenya presents a new spiritual reality to a very religious people, who quickly adapt to the new spiritual situation in the land. Now, as a battery of “colonial forces” conspire against Africa's old way of life, wizards and prophets, who are losing clients of the ordinary kind to the new Christian houses of worship, quickly adapt to the new spiritual reality, even if it only means taking funny-sounding Greek names.
The heroine in this novel, Angelina Nyangi (The Wise One) is born into the new spiritual reality at the dawn of Colonial Kenya. Born prematurely to a family of minor Luo priests, Nyangi survives only because her young father (Rajulu) ignores the advice of his father (Adoko) to “throw the
Talk of bedroom evangelism, like her mother, Nyangi marries a young Seer, but she has a “soft spot” for Christianity, and she soon leads her husband, Omogi the Seer, to take a baptismal vow and a “Christian name,” Mikael, to boot. But fate soon speaks, and Nyangi becomes a widow early into her marriage. Ironically, Nyangi, a clueless daughter of a Christian pastor, suddenly becomes the guardian of a priesthood, whose Stool is struggling to remain relevant in light of a strong Christian wave sweeping through the land at the dawn of Kenya’s independence.
Nyangi lives to be ninety-four years of age, acting a Seer’s role in Kamlai; she even counsels restless politicians and other (elitist) fortune seekers who are groping for space in the treacherous multiethnic, multiparty democracy. For decades Nyangi would walk with secrets of the lowly and mighty of her time, while she awaits the nod to transfer the Stool of Wisdom to son Thomas, who is anything but priestly in his conducts. If Angelina Nyangi’s longevity has become abusive, the seedy extramarital escapades of her eldest son continue to hang around her neck like thorny chalice, with which she has to bear.
Nyangi’s lifetime experiences remind the reader that modern religious dispensations might have robbed soothsayers and wizards of a lot of clients of the ordinary kind but not the important ones: She discovers that the new political and business elites love to have their ancestors’ “sixth sense” watching over their backs. She is their ancestral sixth sense, only she is a mere counselor, and not prophet.