ISBN 9789956558803
Pages 182
Dimensions 203 x 127 mm
Published 2009
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Imitation Whiteman

by Vivian Sihshu Yenika

This intriguing novel chronicles one migrant worker's experiences on a colonial plantation in West Africa. Martin Tebi cannot wait to board a truck to the south where he hopes to become a pioneer at a newly established oil palm plantation. Once he arrives, he realizes that becoming a 'Big man' in a new environment would not be as easy as he had thought. Set in the South West Region of Cameroon near the Bakassi region, this captivating story told in an authentic voice that fuses Pidgin and Standard English would keep readers spellbound as they follow Martin through his many struggles to become the first African manager. The experiences of Martin Tebi would resonate with economically displaced people in any part of the world.

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Imitation Whiteman is a frequently comic though far from cheerful story of the fitful and feckless pursuit of ‘big man’ status by Martin Tebi. Martin is a book-proud young man…. The author, Vivian Yenika, is a welcome voice, since we have little writing in English by Cameroonian women. She describes Martin’s advancement from field foreman to wound-dresser and sick-attendant in the company hospital, his unwed domestic complications with two sisters on whom he has fathered a child, his aspiration to master the ‘White man’ arts of grammar and ballroom dancing, indeed his yearnings to clear a little space, find some peace, and be somebody, like the rest of us. Her tale is effectively told in a pidginized English which often splinters normative syntax and disrupts traditional associations of meaning and value. The result is often a syncretic, hybridized writing characteristic of the so-called ‘new Englishes’ emerging from the residue of the Anglo-American colonial past.”

Robert Ness, Chair of Africana Studies, Dickinson College, USA

About the Author

Vivian Sihshu Yenika

Vivian Sihshu Yenika, an associate professor at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, has published extensively. Originally from Cameroon, she lives with her family in the United States. She enjoys reading and watching foreign movies.