Kintu – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi | Book Review
Kintu starts on a gripping note – a man, Kamu Kintu, is torn from his bed early in the morning, led away by a group of men, and on false grounds, is stoned to death by an angry mob.
The succeeding turn of events is shocking. The men, one after the other, are killed under suspicious circumstances.
The narrative skips to two and a half centuries before, when Kintu Kidda is Ppookino of the Buddu Province in Buganda and married to Nnakato, a twin. All but one of his children is birthed by Babirye, Nnakato’s twin. He also adopts a boy, Kalemanzira, from an unfortunate foreigner.
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On a long journey to the capital to pledge his allegiance to the new Kabaka of the Kingdom, he kills his adopted son in momentary anger, and a curse is placed on him and his generations by the real father of the boy.
A complex but artfully-woven story, Kintu tells the story of how a curse lasts through generations of a clan, and how the descendants struggle to break free from the curse while navigating the expectations of the modern world.
The novel also explores Uganda as a rich cultural African society, before and after colonial influence, as well as how the spirituality of myths, legends, certain beliefs and practices manage to survive in a rapidly-changing world.