In JR Alila’s second novel, THE WISE ONE OF RAMOGILAND ( ), he adresses the role of spirituality in life and politics in a society under cultural and political transitions. In this work of fiction, Alila’s heroine is the nonagenarian, Nyangi the Wise One, whose political/spiritual consultancy has met the high and lowly in Kenyan politics. Alila speaks to Kenya’s politics of tribe and Eating Tribal Chiefs, Luo people’s politcal leadership, and the perils of political cohabitation in a young multi-ethnic and multiparty democracy.

Speaking through the experiences of Nyangi, the author reminds his readers that modern religious dispensations might have robbed sorcerers, soothsayers and wizards of a lot of clients of the ordinary kind, but not the important ones. Long ago, his heroine, the Wise One, discovered that the new post-colonial political and business class love to have a “sixth sense” watching over their backs. She is their “sixth sense,” and they are willing to crawl on their knees to approach her throne.

Now, in her sunset years, Nyangi the Wise One has been abused by the product of her labor—the corrupt politicians; she is abused by her longevity, which has witnessed Christianity establish roots in Ramogiland. She lives long enough to witness the death of some Luo cultural practices; she lives long enough to adjudicate whether or not the Luo should circumcise their males as matter of medical necessity. She is troubled by the unseemly moral conduct of her eldest son and heir-apparent (Thomas), whose ascendancy as a seer is long overdue.


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