The Poor Christ of Bomba
Mongo Beti (translated by Gerald Moore)
A novel of considerable power and complexity from the pen of one of Cameroon’s greatest modern writers, Mongo Beti (1932–2001), The Poor Christ of Bomba is a biting critique of colonial life and the destructive influence of French Catholic missionary activities in Cameroon.

Written as the journal of a young priest’s assistant, the satirical novel tells the story of a missionary in the 1930s. In Bomba, the girls who are being prepared for Christian marriage live together in the women’s camp. It is not clear whether the girls have to stay in the women’s camp for such long periods for the good of their souls or for the good of the mission-building program. Only gradually does it become apparent that the local churchmen have also been using the local girls for their own purpose. The priest realizes the futility and pointlessness of attempting to convert Africans who, as he concludes, already worshipped God in their own way.

The Moore translation is a must read for all who wish to come to terms with colonialism and the peculiar role of the Church in the projection of White power.
Reviews
“This is an excellent and a very timely initiative. I dearly missed this book for a course I was teaching last year. Great to know it is available again.” — Abroise Kom, College of the Holy Cross

“I’m very pleased you picked this book up. I find it very teachable as it raises lots of issues of interest in my African and postcolonial literature classes.” — Simon Lewis, College of Charleston

“This is a high-quality reprint of the Moore translation; I will certainly use it when I teach my Africa class again.” — Bryan Genaway, Presbyterian College