Photographer and director born in Cameroon, Osvalde Lewat enters literature with this first novel of remarkable vivacity, an x-ray of Cameroonian society seen from the side of the elite and the upper middle class. And this through the crossed destinies of Katmé, restrained wife of a politician devoured by ambition, and Samy, the almost brother of the heroine, an artist committed against the power in place and homosexual.

How will this woman manage to free herself from the marital yoke, at a time when Samy sees himself denounced and thrown in prison for his sexual orientation, then delivered to the violence of the Aquatics, these inhabitants of a deprived neighborhood that he photographed?

It all starts with a preposterous funeral scene, that of Katmé’s mother. Twenty years later, his grave hinders a highway project. Never mind, her son-in-law takes the opportunity to create a public event in her favour… The author proceeds in this way, through revealing situations described with humor and acuity. A social fresco, with convincing characters and dialogues, this novel illuminates, through the questions of a Katmé who refuses little by little to live “at the expense of herself”, these African societies where marriage “is support” and where freedom, whatever it is, is still very very expensive.


“For the first time since his arrest, Katmé consoled herself to know Samy in prison. He wouldn’t see his works devastated, the exhibition halls ransacked. »

“Les Aquatiques”, by Osvalde Lewat (Les Escales, 304 p., €20).