A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

French / Mali

Le roi Njoya. Un génial inventeur
(King Njoya. A wondrous inventor)

Dzotap, Alain Serge (text)
Masioni, Pat (illus.)
Bamako, Mali: Cauris Livres, 2015. – 32 p.
(Series: Collection Lucy)
ISBN 978-99952-60-13-2

Njoya <King, 1876-1933> – Bamun <Kingdom> – Biography – Non-fiction

In this biography, Cameroon-born author Alain Serge Dzotap and Pat Masioni, an illustrator born in the former Zaire, introduce the inventive ruler who reigned in the northwest of Cameroon for almost four decades. Njoya is presented as having brought about a cultural renaissance in handcrafts, art and architecture, and as showing respect for all religions that were practiced in his country. Njoya’s greatest dream was realised when he developed a script for his native language of Bamun. His shrewd tactics in relation to the German colonial powers whose military superiority he recognised made him very suspicious to the ensuing French colonial government. He was deposed, his writings forbidden, his schools were closed. In 1931 he was taken prisoner, and he died two years later while in exile in Yaoundé. However, there are dark chapters even in the story of this role model, and it is unfortunate that this otherwise commendable book omits mention of Njoya’s disloyalty to King Rudolph Manga Bell’s colonial resistance movement. (Age: 9+)