When Akuma—a youthful African government secondary school teacher—leaves his hometown and goes to the capital city, hardly does he know that he will be paralyzed and will not be able to use his legs again. The Journey’s End is a character-driven narrative that explores the lives of two men who meet in Yaoundé, the capital city—Lucas Wango (an elderly pensioner who comes to collect his back pay of seven years’ pension money) and Akuma (a physically challenged man who helps him recover his pension arrears). Wango doesn’t know that Akuma, aka Général, is a mobster and the boss of a city gang that commands and controls a better part of the metropolis. Running parallel to this central plot are two subplots that eventually converge at the end of the novel—Lucas Wango’s meddling in and eventual frustration with national political life and Général’s relationship with Martina, a woman he falls in love with in the city. Set in the rural African landscape of Yambe and Menamo (Akuma’s home village which he left to come to the city) and the urban backdrop of the rapidly populated city of Yaoundé, The Journey’s End epitomizes the predicament of Africa’s expanding slum-cities, characterized by poverty, corruption, and survival-driven individuality. For whom does the journey end – remains an absorbing question that animates every single page in this extraordinary urban adventure.
Ba’bila Mutia is a Cameroonian author, poet, and playwright. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor, Canada. His short stories and poetry have been featured in anthologies and reviews worldwide. He is the author of Whose Land? (Longman children’s fiction); “Rain” (short story) in A Window on Africa; “The Miracle” (short story) in The Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories; “The Spirit Machine” (short story) in The Spirit Machine and Other New Short Stories from Cameroon and Coils of Mortal Flesh(poetry). In 1993, Mutia was a guest of the Berlin Academy of Arts for an international short story reading. In September 2011, Mutia’s play, The Road to Goma, was among six winners of the African Playwriting Project sponsored by the London National Theatre Studio where excerpts of his play were staged by professional actors. He has lived in Lagos and Benin City (Nigeria), Windsor and Halifax (Canada). He currently resides in Yaoundé, Cameroon where he is a lecturer in African literature and creative writing at the Ecole Normale Supérieure.