Cyprian Ekwensi: Burning Grass


The latest addition to my website is Cyprian Ekwensi‘s Burning Grass, a well-written and lively novel about a Fulani family in Nigeria. The patriarch, Mai, is afflicted with the wandering sickness, which means that, without warning or being able to stop himself, he suddenly disappears, wandering about, often chasing a bird. During his wanderings, he has various adventures, including coming across a village, deserted (because of sleeping sickness) except for one somewhat insane man; finding his oldest son, Jalla, who now has a thousand head of cattle and has done very well for himself, except that his younger brother Hodio, has stolen his wife (though he does not seem too concerned about this), and meeting a lion. Meanwhile, his youngest and favourite son, Rikku, learns to grow up as he deals with tax collectors, a cattle stampede and being kidnapped by a woman who claims to love him. Added to this is a conflict between Mai and a man who thinks he would be a better as a chief than Mai, and Shehu, known as The Killer, from whom Mai and his sons rescue a slave. It all makes for a colourful tale and a very enjoyable read.

5 thoughts on “Cyprian Ekwensi: Burning Grass”

  1. I enjoy reading this novel over and over again. The book tells us how Fulani tribe has been rearing their cattle long time ago before money bags took over the business from the poor folks. And before religion and politics were infused into the occupation turning a peaceful vocation to a dreadful and warring sects with a motive to kill and to occupy territories for themselves.


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