Essay on The Expression of Anti-Colonialism in Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono

Essay on The Expression of Anti-Colonialism in Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono

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“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Satire is a powerful technique generally utilized in order to convey an intense, hard-hitting thought in a mild manner. This technique is used in the novel Houseboy written by Ferdinand Oyono. Houseboy is an anti-colonial novel which with the help of satire reveals the flaws in the colonial period which includes the Christianity spread and “supposed” policy of assimilation. Oyono depicts the English hypocrisy of the African perception of colonialists.


Toundi, the character on whose life the novel is based on, was introduced to the French culture and immediately adapted it. Toundi is used to represent all the other natives who were in identity crises; he wanted to be like the French. This is proven by the beginning of the first exercise book on page9 “Now I keep a diary like he does. Keeping a diary is a white man’s custom and what pleasure there is in it I do not know. But I shall try it out.” This quotation represents the ___ of Toundi who wants to be French. This also represents the identity crises he is going through. Identity crises are when a person is uncertain or confused to whom s/he really is due to the change in their expected role or aim in the society. Another event is when Toundi elopes from home and goes to live with Father Gilbert. He is dedicated to father Gilbert regardless of the treatment he got from him. It is ironic that Toundi escapes his house due to the continuous beatings of his father however does not have any bitter reactions when he receives worse treatment from the church. Additionally when Toundi...


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... reality of the French but it was too late then. Toundi had realized that he will always be an inferior to the French regardless of how “close” he thought he were to them. Toundi had not received any kind of judicial help in his deference however was considered guilty through a white man’s words. This affirms the biased system cannot provide or help the locals.
In conclusion Oyono had criticized the colonial time to make the audience aware of the hypocritical method used to exploit the land. The Africans may have been claimed to be less civilized which is ironical to the idea of colonialism. Examples such as the priest or the immoral Madame are a part of the weak system which was enforced in Cameroon. The critics helped the audience to learn more about the problems and the ironical actions happening to Cameroon which could definitely not bring justice to the locals.

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