Guinea / 2008
Tierno Monénembo was born in 1948 in Porédaka, Guinea. However, the Touré dictatorship forced him to escape to Senegal. He eventually moved to Côte d'Ivoire, then on to France—where he studied biochemistry. The King of Kahel is a near-satirical tale about France's colonizing mission to Guinea. Set in 1879, the story focuses on Olivier de Sanderval's attempt to explore and establish his own kingdom in the highlands of Guinea. During his blunder-fueled quest to rule over and "enlighten" the Fula people, he makes countless foolish errors. The ridiculous belief that Africans were inferior animals drives his ridiculous, greed-fueled civilizing mission.
The King of Kahel stands out due to Monénembo's subtle use of satire. Unbeknownst to him, Sanderval becomes the butt of the novel's joke; serving as a vehicle through which Monénembo harshly criticizes colonialism.