Sum Marky: Vila Flogá [Villa Flogá]

marky

The latest addition to my website is Sum Marky‘s Vila Flogá [Villa Flogá], the first, and probably last, novel from São Tomé e Príncipe on my site. As far as I can tell there is no novel from São Tomé e Príncipe that has been published in English or, indeed, any other language but Portuguese. Indeed, there are very few published prose writers from this country. Marky remains one of the few novelists, with his books all out of print. This book was both quite fun and had a serious point, not least because it mentions (albeit in passing) the Batepá massacre and the events leading up to it, particularly the fact that the white government used forced labour to get workers for the white-owned plantations. The story is about a black cook, Sum Olímpio, who works for two white men, Sum Ferón and Sum Raul, confirmed bachelors both, interested in wine, women and song. Sum Olímpio lives in a shack, which he calls Vila Flogá. However, the government’s slum clearance project means that Vila Flogá is going to be bulldozed. Sum Olímpio needs 300 escudos to buy another piece of land, money he does not have. Borrowing (from his employers) and theft (also from his employers) form part of his plan to get the money. Sum Olímpio is something of a figure of fun but Marky (who was white) did show the problems the creoles faced when dealing with the whites.

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