jeudi 12 août 2010


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

When one examines the book industry in Cameroon one notices that there appear to be more curriculum-related books in circulation than those on subjects that one may call ‘abstract’. The book, The Twisted Nature of Man by Fodje John Taiti, is an eloquent example of a writer who has decided not to follow the crowd but to chart his own way as it were. It is not about everyday routine subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, history or economics. No, it is about the philosophy of life.

Although the book was published eleven years ago, today it is still as relevant as it was in 1999. It still challenges and prods the reader in the same way. The author summarizes the work as follows: “It is an effort to put into words some of the very essential things I have come to have faith in. I have therefore written this book with the trust that many people who read it would appreciate and appraise not only the nature of other people but theirs as well. When we see other people with the ‘eyes’ that we see ourselves the world would surely become a happier home for all of us.” Fodje dedicates the book to a Rev. Pastor Fondo who according to the author first told him “that there was a twist in human nature”. Last but surely not the least in his dedication are those whom he terms “far and near, past, present and future who love me despite the twist in my nature.”

Concerning the twist, Fodje writes: “There is a twist in human nature which is difficult to explain. No matter how sincere, no matter how straight, the human being has exhibited a twist in his nature at one time or another that does not tally with the overall image he normally presents.” According to the author, this twist in man’s nature makes it hard for man to listen to the other person. Yet, this inability or unwillingness to lend an ear inhibits the learning of new things and the acquisition of new experiences. Fodje argues that between right and wrong, man is not obliged to choose wrong. Consequently, man must not cover up personal weaknesses such as lateness for events with the false claim that lateness is an African thing. On the matter of politics, he contends that it is wrong to claim that free and fair elections are impossible in our community and our context. Fodje frowns at the fact that in a country like Cameroon, so much undue emphasis is placed on the origin of appointees when appointments are being made: “A village which produces a minister has no more right to the services of the ministry he heads than the rest of the country. The author clears any doubts that might limit the readership of the book to just Christians: “Although it uses examples from the Bible, the book cuts across denominational and religious barriers. It is therefore a book for all people and for all seasons.”

The Twisted Nature of Man is a 100-page portable pocket size book, written in plain English and therefore easy to read and understand. Even so, it is not simplistic as it is still rich in metaphors and humour. Although the book contains eighteen chapters, they are so artfully arranged that the reader can pick and choose which chapters to read first, and therefore not be tied down to linearity. Chapters are fairly short which means that once begun, a chapter is soon finished. Some of the chapters include ‘Situation ethics’; ‘God, Man and the Concept of Good and Bad’; ‘Happiness and Sorrow’; ‘The role of Traditional Doctors’; ‘Dishonesty’; ‘The Price of Popularity’; ‘The Dirt Around Us’; and the tantalizing question phrase, ‘Building Bridges or Creating Gulfs?’.

Fodje John Taiti who is a retired secondary school teacher served as principal of GBHS Bamenda and GBHS Ndop. He is currently Social Democratic Front (SDF) Alternate parliamentarian for the Bamenda/Bali constituency.

Copyright 2010

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