The principal of Sacred Heart College, Mankon, Brother Hugh McGregor Jones, sat behind his huge mahogany desk practically rubbing his hands.
A savage grin, starting from his fleshy cheeks, but not staying there, contorted his still smooth countenance, adding age and some new wrinkles to his face.
The friar was pleased with himself.
In fact, at that precise moment, Brother Hugh reasoned that his omniscience, his omnipresence and his omnipotence had paid off.
He now had his tormentor-in-chief - Bamanga Njuma of the fifth - in the shooting sights with the cross hairs fixed on the boy’s mischief-filled head, dead centre.
All he had to do now was squeeze on the trigger and a serious menace to his peace, the peace of Sacred Heart Collge and the peace of all humanity would be no more.
He could almost feel his devastating trigger finger tingling as it always did before a kill. Now there would be no mercy. Now a huge thorn would be taken out of his flesh before dawn. Now the student with the trademark big inane laugh would be reduced to silence.
Somewhere in the building, the deep booms of a wall clock preceded the strident clang of a brass bell.
Prep was over. In his mind’s eye, Brother Hugh could see the relieved classrooms wheeling out their even more relieved content - seven hundred students, if everyone had attended prep, which would be a miracle, into the numerous corridors of the main building.
Winnie and Ala planned to go swimming. They had come back from school; had their lunch; done all their chores15 in a hurry and now they were ready.
It was a bright Wednesday afternoon. The weather16 was very hot and Winnie’s parents had gone to visit a side an aunt in Muea.
“Do you have the tube?”17 Winnie asked
“Yes, I’ll get it,” said.
Alawent to the backyard. He returned some moments later with the tube pulled out of his father’s spare tire.
He was grinning as he sat on the veranda, unplugged the valve of the tube and then inserted the valve18 into his mouth. He blew air into the tube until it was well rounded. Then he joined Winnie in the yard.
Ala, who always said of himself that he was the “only son of Mr. and Mrs. Ndenge,” was fair in complexion. He had a round face, dark hair and long eyelashes. The pupils of his eyes were almost brown.
The twinkle of mischief19 was always present in Ala’s eyes.
Ntemfac A.N. Ofege. Namondo (Child of the Water Spirits). Langaa Publishers. November, 2007. 360 pages (Paperback). Available from Amazon.com ($24.95) and African Books Collective (£19.95)
Ntemfac A.N. Ofege forays into the customs and traditions of the Bakweri people, the often unfathomable dwellers of the lands below the Fako Mountain (Mount Cameroon), to put together a story that is beautiful in content, flowing in style, enthralling in meanders, fetching in intrigue and ethereal in plot. The plot of this book is bustling,fascinating and lingering. This page-turner keeps the reader wondering what next.
Namondo (Child of the Water Spirit) is the story of an exquisite, yet lethal, water spirit or mermaid. This preternatural creature takes on human form and comes to the land to do battle against an equally lethal cult – the Nyongo. Namondo uses her singularpower – the magic ring of the water spirits to prevail. The maiden is, however, killed in the process. The ring of the liengu-la-mwanja must return to her son.
Every one hundred years, or so, a book bursts unto the global readership and stays there for the next one thousand years and more. Ntemfac A.N. Ofege's Namondo(Child of the Water Spirits) is just that kind of book.
Ripe with transfigurations and transformations, this novel promises to be a spirited and lingering read for all those who navigate multiplecultures, languages, times and geographies.
How the immortal gods meddle in the affairs of men has always provided ambrosial reading.
Authors like Homer, who recounted suchstories acquired immortality in their own right. It all starts in the beginning: "Chaos reigned in the firmament, until the ageless spirit Ovase Lova breathed and created dawn. Stars from his fingertips jeweled the heavens and newborn planets radiated throughout the vast universe."
The river gods dispatch Namondo, a liengu-la-mwanja or water spirit, to the land. Mission : waste a deadly cult. The twin uses her magic ring to accomplish her task, but tragedy strikes at the last minute. The fearsome ring of the river must return to her son.
Namondo (Child of the Water Spirits) is a refreshingly different take of the perpetual battle between the good, the bad and the ugly.
Namondo’s story races, twists, turns and jumps from one emotion to another until the chilling conflagration on a bewitched train. This is mythology so vivid that it hums with life: powerfully descriptive, awesome, frightening, compelling, delightful, imaginative, penetrating and lingering.
The magic about Ntemfac A.N. Ofege’s impressive narration is this confident ability to weave such a sprightly tale, one combining yesterday and today; the dead and the living; tradition and modernity; scoundrel and righteous deities. Throughout the story, the reader will taste that uproarious extravaganza of Africa- vicious serpents and elephant-doubles. Namond0 (Child of the Water Spirits) is simply a beautiful story well told.
Move over Things Fall Apart. Here comes the next generation of African writing.
Namondo (Child of the Water Spirits) can be ordered online.