Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote
Ahmadou Kourouma’s remarkable novel is narrated by Bingo, a West African sora – storyteller and king’s fool. Over the course of five nights he tells the life story of Koyaga, President and Dictator of the Gulf Coast. Orphaned at the age of seven, Koyaga grows up to be a terrible hunter; he fights mythical beasts, and is a shape-shifter, capable of changing himself into beasts and birds. He fights in the French colonial armies, in Vietnam and Algeria, but on his return he mounts a coup and becomes ruler and dictator of the Gulf Coast. For thirty years he runs a corrupt but ‘clean’ state, surviving repeated assassination attempts and gaining support and investment from abroad. But when the ‘First World’ decides it no longer want to support dictatorships and call for democracy, he needs another ruse to maintain himself in power…
Part magic, part history, part savage satire, Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote is nothing less than a history of post-colonial Africa itself.
Author: Ahmadou Kourouma