Musungu Jim and the Great Chief Tuloko by Patrick Neate revolves around a fictional country, Zambawi, ruled by President Adini, who declared himself as President, after his own successful coup launched with his Commander, Indigo Bulimi.
Now another revolution is brewing and at its helm is the rebel Black Boot Gang, headed by Adini’s own bodyguard, Isaiah. Caught between all of the politics of the country are a great many characters from Musa, the witch doctor to Adini’s own son, Enoch; to Rujeko Tula, daughter of the exiled Presiden Tula of Zambawi’s neigbouring country, Mozola; and the titular Mr. Jim Tulloh who comes to teach in a school in Zambawi.
Musungu Jim and the Great Chief Tuloko‘s strongest point is its tongue in cheek and straightforward humour that clinically satirises the wrongs of the imaginary country. All is met with a questioning and humourous eye: be it Adini’s success and his continued President ship or the entitlement of the white people residing in Zambawi or worse, the blatant and biased involvement of the British forces in the country’s politics.
The imagination put into creating Zambawi’s history, language, flag, its culture (such as the flatulence inducing drug, gar!) and folklore is commendable.