Posted in Books

The African Child by Camara Laye

My father’s copy

The African child is an autobiographical story by the Guinean author Camara Laye. It details his life as a child in the Malinke tribe, his transition to manhood and furthering his education. The African Child portrays the African culture in its true form, without trying to exalt or diminish it. It is a book most Africans can relate with, like the sacred position of the black snake in his family is like the python which is found today in some parts of Igboland. He wrote the African Child while unhappy and lonely in a strange and new culture which he found in France. Getting the book to read was no small feat. I “borrowed” it from my father’s library and returned it but he found out I took it. My father loves his books, especially the classics. The book was originally written in French in 1954 but was translated by the English poet James Kirkup and published by Fontana books.

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