Published in 2011 by Nmi Education, Not Without My Wife is a novel set in Anglophone Cameroon. Going back to the colonial era, the novel depicts life in the plantations, and exposes the inhumane treatment that the plantation workers suffered.
The colonialists with the collaboration of the village chief, recruited workers from Nyen in the North West region of Cameroon, transported them to the plantations under undignified circumstances, housed them in crammed and insalubrious dwellings, and worked the hell out of them.
Manobigod is the principal protagonist in the novel. Sent to the plantations, he learns new habits that he finds repugnant, such as defecating into a bucket which stores the faeces of others as well. This is so unlike life in his village, where there were no toilets and everybody eased him or herself either in a hole dug in the ground somewhere or into the mouths of pigs ready to gulp them up.
After six years’ of hard labour in the plantations, Manobigod gets the opportunity to return to his home land. He escapes and, in the company of traders, walks on foot with his load on his head for over eight days finally arriving in his village. At home, he is reunited with his wife, whom he left behind while pregnant, with his daughter, who was born in his absence; and with some members of his extended family. He is also apprised of births and deaths that took place in his absence.
But rather than having freedom on returning home, Manobigod attracts to himself calamity of another form: he has to quietly relocate to another town in order to avert the wrath of the chief and the white man, with no certainty of ever returning to his village.
This novel also shows how the collaborators of the white man-boss – time keepers and foremen – exploited the labourers for their personal gain, how and why tribal meetings and consultation with native doctors, flourished in such a setting. Many social and human ills are manifested on the camp.