Posted by: Dr. Y. | July 30, 2010

Ferdinand L. Oyono: The Old man and the Medal

Ferdinand Leopold Oyono

Ferdinand Leopold Oyono

Yes… I am actually talking about Ferdinand Leopold Oyono, the Cameroonian writer mostly known for his novels ‘Une Vie de Boy‘ (Houseboy), ‘Le Vieux Nègre et la Medaille‘ (The Old Man and the Medal), and Chemin d’Europe (Road to Europe). I must admit that I have only read the first two. I have decided to focus only on Oyono literary achievement, even though his literary career was quite short, and he also served as ambassador and minister under different presidents of Cameroon for over 40 years.

Une Vie de Boy (Houseboy)

Une Vie de Boy (Houseboy)

In his novels, Oyono uses satire to denounce the colonial system, the abuse Africans suffer in the hands of the European. Oyono writesUne vie de boy (Houseboy) as a diary, and casts a critical view on the relations between Africans and Europeans during the colonial era. The main actor is a young boy, who leaves his family where he was mistreated, and ends up with the French missionaries, and later on works as a houseboy for the ‘Commandant’; where he quickly becomes the center of querels between the Commandant and his wife, and is frequently beaten because of what he knows.  In his second novel, Le vieux nègre et la medaille (The Old Man and the medal),  Oyono evoked the deep sense of disillusionment felt by those Africans who were committed to the west, yet rejected by their colonial masters. Meka, the main protagonist, receives a medal for his services to the French colonial administration, for donating land to the French missionary church and above all for sending his two sons to the second world war where they are killed.

The Old Man and the Medal

The Old Man and the Medal

It is interesting that despite his short literary career, Oyono has managed to write two of the most important African novels depicting the relationship between the European colonizer, and the African colonized, a relationship made up of disillusionment, abuse, modernism, education, and cohabitation of two worlds where one is imposed on the other. The British newspaper The Guardian wrote a really good article saluting this great Cameroonian and African writer.


  1. It’s a wondaful book

  2. where could buy the old man and medal of ferdinand oyono in London?

    • Several libraries such as Waterstones, or Foyles have it. Or you could try buying it online; has it or try or even Ebay.

  3. i realy love d book’D OLD MAN AND D MEDAL

  4. Oyono is one of my mentor, which i appreciate so much, here in nigeria we respect your works in literary aspect,,,,,,,,,,,sir kudos

  5. A great book for those that must understand their past.

  6. realy your novel is very interested one so, i need your novel intitled the old man and the medal starting from chapter one up to the end please send to me by emeail

  7. It is a very nice book…

  8. A thrilling and wonderful to read

  9. I love this novel

  10. A very interesting book..really appreciate ur works

  11. Hi caps pals

  12. […] forward by Jacques Foccart, of the Cameroon government, represented in Paris by the ambassador Ferdinand Oyono.  This essay perhaps sprang from frustration and rage at the collapse of the UPC rebellion and the […]

  13. I have read the book and its just more than wao! Oyono i pray to be more better than you are in Jesus name . Thanks…

  14. pls can u send me the narrative structure in the old man and the medal

  15. Dis novel is d colour of life.dere is an extent u can go for pple,cos if u go beyond ur limit,u wont be surprise of wat u wil gain at the end.God bles oyono for dis wondaful novel

  16. best book ever……!!!:)

  17. Sir u are reali endowned wit intellegence hop 2 be more better dan u somday nd u are ma role model

  18. Greatbookandveryinterestingiloveit

  19. Its a wanderful work.A big kudos to oyono,though racism stil exist when we the africans are with ”them”.

  20. Wow this is a wonderful work, in fact i enjoy it when lecturers lecture on it in class-UB.I think you are an exceptional writer and please come up with more for our consumption. I pray for more Grace to your elbow.

  21. I wish to annouce to you that i will be more than you in a while. Thanks for thinking it possible because it has already happen.

  22. here we are today, free 4rm d suppression of the white,
    yes we are equal either white or black.thanks for reviewing this,we appreciate it.

  23. this is fact an african man must understand.that no matter the level of love we have for the whites we should nt forget our root.big thanks to oyono for this novel.

  24. Thank you guys, I think with the little have just read here you guys have just solve 80% of my problem…. Am xoxoxoxo greatful you guys are the best ….. More grease to your elbow

  25. I like reading an article that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  26. So encouraging and intresting.

    • Thank you Ramon, for visiting the blog.

  27. Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be ԝritten any bettеr!
    Going through this aticlе reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept pгeachіng aboutt this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  28. Fаntastic website. Plenty of helpful information here.
    I am sending it to severаl buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you in your effort!

  29. Wе absоutely love yoսr blog and fіnd most off yоur post’s to be ϳust what I’m looking for.
    Does one offer guest wwriteгs to write content in yoսr case?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a pοst or elaborating on a few of thе subjects ƴou write relatrеd to here.
    Again,awesome weblog!

    • Absolutely, just write, and send it to me, then may be we could add it up as a guest feature.

  30. Lovely Book, Interesting

  31. Wao! wao! wat a great nvelist. infact ur works are a perfect works in commonwealth studies. u raly touched d nost essential parts. d works r extrimly beautiful, esp dat of HOUSE BOY and THE OLD MAN AND THE MEDAL. courage sir, a student as a literary critic like me realy find d books nurishable to almost every aspect. i plan to becom like u and i will by God’s Grace.

    • Thank you for visiting the blog Raoul, and yes you are absolutely right about Ferdinand Oyono’s great contributions to African literature.

  32. Please may I obtain its literal Analysis?

  33. Thank You Ferdinand For Giving Us An Insite Into The World Of Racism, This Will Go A long Way In Our Life

  34. Am so happy to read this novel bcz can explain the life of to day.

    • Thanks… it is a good book!

  35. can I get this novel through my email?.real like to read it.

  36. The book is very interesting,it full of witty and also gives flash back of the past

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