Children of Koloko
is Chin Ce’s first work of prose fiction. It takes the form of a folk adventure in which the young hero of the story, Yoyo, observes, comments, and partakes of the modern African drama of life in an urban but neglected community called Koloko. At Boko Yoyo had lived in a world of make-believe but shows a precocious awareness of communal caring and service seen through his travail with Blackhead, a member of the ant community. But soon he is to join his parents on a journey from Boko to Koloko their homeland. Here the story progresses to include other members of the young narrator’s age grade such as Buff and Dickie. In Koloko, Yoyo quickly adjusts and blends in an adventure of drinking, gossips, and merriment with his new friends. The first thing he notices about his hometown is that Koloko roads are dusty and full of many treacherous potholes; a wide gulley separates the town in two yet the public servants of this community each year regale themselves in annual launching festivals and entertainments of extreme extravagance. The young ones lacking a role model covet the fortunes of looters of public wealth and try out their own hands at stealing from the community at every opportunity. The attempt by Mr. Goodman to lead a revolutionary change is only laughable considering the inability to match rhetoric with useful action.
Gradually Yoyo is seen to transit to maturity. But the same story of broken expectations seems to trail his development. Thus Children of Koloko is not really a childhood story of innocence. Yoyo and his community of elder men and women represent a society in transition where leaders -and followers alike- suffer from want of vision necessary for meaningful transformation. Thus the society of Koloko stagnates through the years. Its people are rather content with their life ways and hardly question deeply into things. Although Yoyo and his friends do not provide ready solutions to what is clearly a failure of the nation-state but the young narrator’s ability to see through the whole chicanery and make a bold choice through college, is said to represent some hope for a hopeless generation. Very interesting stories in this readable collection include Coming to Koloko, The Talk of the Town, Old Wives' Quarrels, The Chicken Theft and A Joker from Jah-My to mention but a few.