One for You, One for Me by Kenyan author Gerald Kithinji is the tale of how ‘professors’ hatch and carry out ‘get-rich-quick schemes and ‘heal’ people based on mythologies, such as the belief that the body parts of a person with Albinism have magical powers.
Luka and Oliver, having both retired from the army and received their gratuity, are looking for something to invest in, and consult a number of ‘seers’ along the way:
“… in their part of the world, nobody undertook serious business without first consulting a seer or seers to establish whether or not it would be worth their while. Accordingly, they consulted a self-proclaimed ‘famous’ seer aptly called Professor Moto Moto. His declared business was to ‘change people’s lives’ by enabling them to conquer poverty with skillful utilization of his wise counsel.
He charged 300 000 Tanzanian shillings for the said wise counsel.”
Kithinji’s prose is easy to read and alive with dialogue. As someone relatively unfamiliar with the society and environment in which One for You, One for Me is set, I found it surprisingly accessible. Although the characters sometimes codeswitch to Swahili, Kithinji provides unobtrusive translations to English. Their adventures throughout Tanzania, Masailand, Dar es Salaam and Kenya reminded me at times of the writing of Paulo Coehlo, and is littered with great lines such as “To help them think carefully, they ordered another round of beer.”
Ahsante sana, Gerald for the great read!
(review of free book)