Mongo Beti Bibliography Page

Alexandre Biyidi-Awala, better known under his pseudonym Mongo Beti, was a novelist and political essayist from Cameroon. His novels, which focus on the difficulties of maintaining African culture in post-colonial countries, often attacked French colonial policies or depicted the struggles of finding a sense of self in post-colonial Africa (a topic that has since gained popularity in African novels). Since he was born in Cameroon in a time when it was still a French colony, Beti was exposed to anti-colonial ideas from a young age, and often argued with his family and his peers over things like religion and politics, paving the way for his writings later in life. As a young man he became actively involved in colonial-politics in Paris, and eventually moved back to Cameroon to become involved in the independence movement there. But after being arrested, he returned to France as an exile. Although all of his novels focus heavily on the struggles of African people in colonial and post-colonial countries, Beti actually spent much of his life in France, where he first studied to gain a literature degree and later taught literature himself. However, his homeland always stayed close to his heart, and he eventually returned to Cameroon where he spent the last years of his life

Mongo Beti

Childhood & Early Life:

  • Beti was born Alexandre Biyidi-Awala to parents Oscar Awala and Régin Alomo on June 30, 1932 in the small village of Akométan (55 km from the capital of Yaoundé) in Cameroon while it was still a colony of France.
  • His family owned a cocoa plantation in the southern part of the country where he worked in his time away from school.
  • When he was seven, Beti’s father drowned, leaving him to be raised by his mother, with whom he often argued over religion and colonialism.
  • He was exposed to anti-colonial ideas and ideologies from an early age through associations with independent leader Ruben Um Nyobe and his supporters.
  • He was sent to a missionary school in Mbalmayo for a time, but was eventually expelled for insubordination. At 13 he went to the capital to attend the ‘lycée Leclerc’.
  • In 1951 he attended school at Aix-en-Provence in France in order to study literature, but eventually moved on to study at the Sorbonne in Paris.