Author: Ahmadou Kourouma
Allah Is Not Obliged
ALLAH IS NOT OBLIGED TO BE FAIR ABOUT ALL THE THINGS HE DOES HERE ON EARTH.These are the words of the boy soldier Birahima in the final masterpiece by one of Africa’s most celebrated writers, Ahmadou Kourouma. When ten-year-old Birahima’s mother dies, he leaves his native village in the Ivory Coast, accompanied by the sorcerer and cook Yacouba, to search for his aunt Mahan. Crossing the border into Liberia, they are seized by rebels and forced into military service. Birahima is given a Kalashnikov, minimal rations of food, a small supply of dope and a tiny wage. Fighting in a chaotic civil war alongside many other boys, Birahima sees death, torture, dismemberment and madness but somehow manages to retain his own sanity. Raw and unforgettable, despairing yet filled with laughter, Allah Is Not Obliged reveals the ways in which children’s innocence and youth are compromised by war.
Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote
Ahmadou Kourouma’s remarkable novel is narrated by Bingo, a West African sora – storyteller and king’s fool. Over the course of five nights, he tells the life story of Koyaga, President and Dictator of the Gulf Coast. Orphaned at the age of seven, Koyaga grows up to be a terrible hunter; he fights mystical beasts, and is a shape-shifter, capable of changing himself into beasts and birds. He fights in the French colonial armies, in Vietnam and Algeria, but on his return, he mounts a coup and becomes ruler and distator of the Gulf Coast. For thirty years, he runs a corrupt but ‘clean’ state, surviving repeated assassination attempts and gaining support and investment from abroad. But, when the ‘First World’ decide they no longer want to support dictatorships and call for democracy, he needs another ruse to maintain himself in power …