ISBN 9781942876670
Pages 98
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2020
Publisher Spears Media Press, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Beads of Memory

by Martin Jumbam

In the wake of General Franco’s demise, a Cameroonian student, Leinteng Basha, arrives in Madrid. He soon befriends two other African students, Bassey Okoro from Nigeria, and a drifter from Equatorial Guinea, Jesus Ndongo. Together, they navigate as best as they can through the challenges of loneliness, homesickness and especially the indifference, if not outright hostility of their host country. Leinteng keeps a diary in which he details in simple, straightforward but captivating prose, the travails and joys of his days in the Spanish capital. Through the diarist’s sharp eye for detail, the reader is irresistibly drawn into the labyrinth of life as lived by an African student in post-Franco Spain.

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“The memoir of an African student in Madrid in the 1970s, Beads of Memory is a fascinating socio-political treatise on family, tradition, colonialism and the disillusion with post-colonial Africa. Replete with colorful characters and memorable events that stretch from the snow-capped Sierra mountains of Madrid to the twisting Hills of Nkar, Cameroon, Beads of Memory resonates with the reader and tugs at the strings of nostalgia as it hearkens back to much simpler but intriguing times."

Dibussi Tande, Cameroonian Blogger, author of Scribbles from the Den: Essays on Politics and Collective Memory in Cameroon

"Beads of Memory captures the social and financial woes of African students and school dropouts in Europe. Whirled in the neurosis of nostalgia or victimized by their dictatorial leaders back at home, they scamper for solace in the excessive consumption of alcohol and/or narcotics. Martin Jumbam weaves his story in an enticingly captivating manner as he yokes together biographical elements and verisimilitude, powerfully evocative imagery which give both the casual reader and researcher quality material for mental gymnastics. The story has the magic of denying the reader separation from it until they get to the final word."

Douglas Achingale, Writer, Critic & Social Worker

“Jumbam’s Beads of Memory adds fresh breadth to postcolonial literature through its oneiric poesis of Madrid, exploring that city’s shadowed spaces and the half-lives of its immigrant (pseudo)students. Its rhapsodic rhythm and incisive expression arrest the reader-listener from the very first lines and sustains their interest to the very last, leaving them at the mercy of the narrator’s galloping but alluring consciousness that is exteriorised in this memoir.”

Gil Ndi-Shang, PhD,author of Letter from America: Memoir of an Adopted Child

About the Author

Martin Jumbam

Martin Jumbam worked for over 20 years for an American oil company, Pecten Cameroon, in the port city of Douala, Cameroon, before serving for four years as the general manager of La Maison Catholique de la Communication Sociale (MACACOS), the Catholic Media House of the Archdiocese of Douala. He is the author of My Conversion Journey with Christian Cardinal Tumi (Langaa Publishing, 2014), Beads of Memory (Spears Books, 2020), and co-author of My Night in Captivity (Spears Books, 2021). He lives in Douala and works as a freelance translator, conference interpreter and journalist.