The Milayi Curse (a novel)


In The Milayi Curse, Joseph R. Alila (the Author of “Sunset on Polygamy”) tells a story about a centuries-old conflict between two ancestral cousins, the Jamokos and Milayis, both members of the Jokamilai—a fictional Luo (Kenyan) clan. The conflict is of a spiritual as well as social nature, with one early Christian Priest (Father James O’Kilghor) struggling to make sense of an alien culture and reconcile the Jokamilai. It is a tale about spirituality, honor, betrayal, pride, poverty, wealth and uneasy kinship in fast-changing times, with Christianity and formal education breaking class barriers, bursting myths, and “turning things upside down.”   
Charles Milayi, a poor orphan, graduates out of middle school with excellent grades. Just when his widowed mother (Consolata Milayi) has lost hope of her gifted son ever stepping into a high school, he becomes a beneficiary of “a secret enemy hand of providence” only known to Father James. Father James protects the identity of Milayi’s benefactor because a Jamoko publicly sponsoring a Milayi child could unsettle many souls on either side of the unhealthy blood divide in Jokamilai, more so because the benefactor’s son (Thomas Jamoko) cannot graduate out of middle school.  
Charles Milayi excels in his studies, joins college, and becomes a lawyer, a businessperson, and a cabinet minister. Having broken through the economic class barrier, Charles marries none other than the Prime Minister’s daughter. However, back home, Hon. Milayi’s people remain bitterly divided along bloodlines, thanks to the century-old curse with origins in old wars, pillage of war spoils, and ancestral wealth. The so-called “Milayi curse” feeds a social schism and spiritual war blamed on the unsettled spirit of a fallen war hero named Milayi Raburu.  
The endless cold war among ancestral cousins has made Father James O’Kilghor’s ministry to the Jokamilai a trying experience, even for a man known for his controversial “Africanized-evangelizing strategies” that allow active traditional priests and witch doctors to receive baptism.

 
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