BEMBA by Andree Clair


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Current events notwithstanding, this paints a different picture of the Congo from the one envisioned in newspaper headlines. Bemba, a Congolese lad, moves to Kiboundi, his relatives' village, and makes friends with his cousins. Suspicious of the witch doctor, the children come to know the difference between malicious trickery and supernatural power. Slowly they gather evidence proving his treachery. The sacred gorge is merely a cave where to their dismay, the N Ganga M'Pori, wise leader of the tribe, has been imprisoned. On one of his many expeditions, Bemba is rescued from the hidden corridors of a cave by Michel, a French archaeologist whom he also mistrusts. Convincingly, Michel impresses Bemba with his own respect for the ancient writings of the tribe and finally Bemba relents and leads him to the cave walls. He is not sorry- for through his friendship with the white man, Bemba loses his fear of the foreigner. Translated from the French by Marie Ponsot, this is an unusual story of optimism and faith as the tribesman slowly breaks with self destructive customs and befriends the outside world.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1962
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World