Houseboy is a novel written by Ferdinand Oyono, which was published in 1956. The novel is set in Cameroon and explores themes of colonialism, identity, and tradition. The protagonist, Toundi, is a young man who becomes a houseboy for a French colonial administrator. Through his experiences working for the French, and later living among his own people, Toundi gains a deeper understanding of the complicated relationship between Cameroon and France.
At the beginning of the novel, Toundi is excited to work for the French and hopes to learn more about their culture. However, as he witnesses the brutal treatment of the Cameroonian workers by the French, he begins to question the morality of the colonial system. When Toundi is accused of stealing by the French, he is subjected to torture and humiliation, which further erodes his confidence in the French authorities. Eventually, Toundi escapes from the French and lives among the Cameroonian people, where he experiences a newfound sense of belonging.
Houseboy is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that challenges readers to consider the legacy of colonialism in Africa. Through the eyes of Toundi, readers gain insight into the complex social structures and cultural practices of Cameroon, as well as the trauma and oppression inflicted by the French colonial government. The novel offers a compelling critique of colonialism and a call for greater cultural awareness and respect between different nations and peoples.