Review of 'Devil on the Cross'

Devil on the Cross by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Jacinta War??nga has just lost her job for rejecting her boses sexual approaches. She attempts suicide on the streets of Nairobi but is saved then by chance takes a matat? (bus) on a strange journey to the region of her birth: Ilmorog. In the Matat? Matata Matamu Model T Ford, registration number MMM 333, driver Robin Mwa?ra she meets some interesting individuals: Gatu?ria a lecturer at of African Studies at the University of Nairobi, Wangar? who joins the bus with no money (the others offering to pay), M?turi a worker, and the oddest of all: M?kiraa? who is a businessman on his way to a “Competition to Select Seven Experts in Modern Theft and Robbery” in Ilmorog. As it turns out, many on the bus have received pamphlets for this competition and are on the way to attend. Not to participate but to see what it is all about. They spend the journey discussing the problems of Kenya and the decline due to western influence.

The competition itself turns out to be a cellebration of this western influence and how best to rob the Kenyan people: Either by local people or by foreigners. It is a surreal experience with the disgust of the author at anything related to business blatantly obvious. This is an interesting mix of poetry, folk legend, and political expression that I found a bit difficult to read but nonetheless rewarding. The ending is a bit disappointing but quite shocking.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Genre: African