Traveller to the east by Thomas Molfo

source – library

Thomas Molfo was born in 1876 in Bestho now Lesotho in southern Africa ,he is considered the first African novelist ,He is best known for a later novel Chaka a story of a Lulu king .

The story centres on Fekisi a young man in the Basutoland ,,he works looking after the herds and is the chiefs son but he seeks something more .After witness some acts ariound the villages questions his postion and his village , so sets off to the east and what lies ahead,This journey she the young man witness murder and eventually convert to Christianity by the white men in the east  ,meanwhile there are sections on how the village copes when he leaves ,discussion of circumcision school where all the boys Fekisi age are taught how to be men in preparation of circumcision .

There was a feast of the boys being held .The son of the chief was coming out of circumcision school .This son was the first-born child of the chief ,the son of his first wife .He it was who would attain chieftainship and follow his father .It was feast if the heir .

Fekisi struggles with position and life .

This book is short at only 80 pages ,It encompasses a mythical feel but also a worrying christian angle ,I view from some research into the writer it was use to convert people  alongside Bunyan’s pilgrim Progress ,his wiring style is in the storytelling tradition and easy to read ,Just the second half of the book didnt grab me I may try his novel as his style and the translation where both great ,just disliked the christian propaganda at the end of the book .but the first part in the village and the journey was some of the best southern African writing I have read .there is a museum in Morjia In Lesotho and a web page on the region and its history here .the book was orginally published in episodes in a news paper It was translated by Harry Ashton .

March 2023


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