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Your Madness Not Mine

Stories of Cameroon


Publication Year: 1999

Women's writing in Cameroon has so far been dominated by Francophone writers. The short stories in this collection represent the yearnings and vision of an Anglophone woman, who writes both as a Cameroonian and as a woman whose life has been shaped by the minority status her people occupy within the nation-state.

The stories in Your Madness, Not Mine are about postcolonial Cameroon, but especially about Cameroonian women, who probe their day-to-day experiences of survival and empowerment as they deal with gender oppression: from patriarchal expectations to the malaise of maldevelopment, unemployment, and the attraction of the West for young Cameroonians.

Makuchi has given us powerful portraits of the people of postcolonial Africa in the so-called global village who too often go unseen and unheard. 

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

Mourning . . . in distant lands

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pp. ix-xii

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pp. xiii-xxiv

What does it mean to be a Cameroonian woman and to write in English? Makuchi is a Beba woman from Cameroon in Central Africa. She writes in English: not the King’s English, not Gandhi’s English nor Uncle Sam’s English. ...

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1. The Healer

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pp. 1-11

When my uncle and I arrived at the compound, we were stunned by the chaos that stared us in the face. The entire compound looked ravaged, as if a troop of elephants had just passed through for breakfast. ...

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2. Your Madness, Not Mine

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pp. 12-23

“Do you want to play seven stones with me?” Beatrice asked her friend and neighbour Jikwu. She was juggling the stones in her right hand as she spoke. She proceeded to throw one stone after the other up in the air. ...

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3. Market Scene

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pp. 24-37

Something happened this morning. Something terrible. Terrible, not because it is unusual, but terrible because it happened to my friend. It happened to the one person I have always considered my neighbour, my sister, my friend, ma complice, mon asso, ma kombi. ...

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4. The Forest Will Claim You Too

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pp. 38-57

It had taken the young man two weeks to make up his mind. It had taken him two weeks to join the outsiders. It had taken him two weeks to defy the village council. His mother had promptly cursed him, turned her back on him, and wrapped...

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5. Election Fever

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pp. 58-74

The elections are coming. There is excitement in the air. Let me try to describe what it feels like. You know what happens to children in the dry season when the first rains come? We always wait with a lot of expectation. ...

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6. American Lottery

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pp. 75-96

Paul’s friends convened at their usual meeting venue and together descended on his house. They invaded his tiny room, the room his aunt had given him to live in after he earned a maîtrise from the university and had not been able to find a “suitable” job. ...

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7. Accidents Are a Sideshow

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pp. 97-112

It is the deep of night. The world is asleep. The owls are awakening. A young woman is in bed, caught in the throes of a recurring nightmare: She is leaving her house, very early in the morning, once a week as she does these days, and heading directly for “the embassy.” ...

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8. Bayam-Sellam

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pp. 113-128

“Aagh, will you stop pulling my scalp like that . . . ?”
“But Mother, you should sit still. I can’t braid this hair if you keep jumping around like a rabid dog . . .” ...

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9. Slow Poison

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pp. 129-146

Manoji was lying on the bamboo bed his mother had placed in the parlour, positioned in a strategic corner where he could see the sunlight, if and when he was able to turn his head to face the nsaa. ...


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pp. 147-150

Monographs in International Studies

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pp. 151-157

Ohio University Center for International Studies

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E-ISBN-13: 9780896804357
Print-ISBN-13: 9780896802063

Publication Year: 1999

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Cameroon -- Social life and customs -- Fiction.
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