Tuesday, August 21, 2007



In the fictional novel, "The Wise One of Ramogiland," ISBN 978143032554-3 (http://www.lulu.com/), Joseph R. Alila (Author of such novels as "Sunset on Polygamy," and "The Milayi Curse") distinguishes himself as a social critic with a feel for mature satire with an understanding of serious problems of the past, the present and the future of his Ramogi (Luo) people of East Africa. His heroine, "The Wise One" is introduced to the reader as an unwilling inheritor of a male prophetic order (thanks to old prophesies in her favor). She then grows into a woman of wisdom, whose work ensures a harmonious and informed life for the people of her Kosoko clan within their spiritual, social, cultural and physical environment. From her simple abode on Ratil Hill (The Sinai) she also shepherds the leadership of Ramogi people and the Nation in transitional times. She struggles with such issues as "Can a Ramogi be the President of the Nation?" and "Should the Ramogi Circumcise or Not in the face of the AIDS crisis?
Through his heroine (The Wise One) Alila struggles with such issues in Luo leadership as the often misunderstood "political sycophancy" towards the Modern Political Luo Warriors (pako Thwondi), and the Collective Luo Psyche in national politics. Alila illuminates the workings of essential elements of the Tripodal Luo Leadership in 1) The Warrior Leader (Thuon), 2) The Wisdom of Seer’s Stool (Kom Jabilo); 3) The Elder Leader (Ker) and his collegiate Council of Elders, and which three helped to maintain a united Ramogi front in the lowest of their political times.
Through the services offered by his heroine, "The Wise One," Alila demonstrates, in warm comedy, the making of a modern Ramogi Leader: When the young Warrior visits with "The Wise One," he is put on the Seer’s Stool to empower him with "hidden knowledge;" then he has to carry the heavy javelin (nyol) and full-body shield (kuot) both of which are symbolic of Warrior Leadership and the enormity of the people’s burdens. And when The Young Warrior returns a second time to commune with the New Seer, he is given the rough Shepherd’s Crooked Stick (Luet Nyabola). The Young Warrior symbolically graduates into the tempered Elder Leader. After these visits, the Young Leader attains full empowerment as a modern Luo Leader: a relentless, tempered and informed fighter for the people’s rights, nationally and internationally. The Leader must look North to the Cradle of the Luo, the Sudan, for new challenges, because leadership is about solving problems.

J. Alila (Author)

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