Summary and Analysis of Poor Christ of Bomba by Mongo Beti

by Kev

Brief summary of the novel

The poor Christ of Bomba is a story of a priest to Drumont with a mission to change and turn the natives is the forest region of came soon. The struggles of this man, his conceptions, his failure, and a possibility of his own conversion.

Father Drumont believed that the natives did not know God. He faithfully believed that without the Christian God, the people were doomed and bound for hell. Reverend father superior Drumont therefore made it his life’s mission, a decision that was set in motion twenty years before fifteen-year old Denis wrote about the events in his diary to bring God’s lost sheep into the fold.

The novel as a satire on the catholic mission of the white men in Africa. The novel exposed the moral, spiritual, religious as well as the economic hypocrisy of the white men, fore grounding that it is only a cunning way into the path of extraction of the black race:


The story is about a reverend father, who had at first had a genuine intention which is to transform the ancient nature of the Africa into the civilized ways and manners of the white Europeans. Then the father gets it all wrong. Since the new practices are new to the people, they would never deem it necessary to be part of it, this strange religion. In fact, the whole idea of father’s approach to Christianity is intriguing to the natives.

Also in the central point is the six, a place reserved and designed for the grooming of young girls until they are ripe for marriage. The writer condemns this practice because to him, it opens the door of promiscuity and all sort cent young men and women of Bomba. Their girls delight in opportunity open to them through sex. For them, it appears the only remedy to their plight sex, then becomes for them a means of escape. If there is any strong factor responsible for the sixta girls sexual degradation, it is their unjustifiable exposure to hard labour as if they were mere slaves, they are exposed to all kinds of forced duties. In this way, therefore, their uncalled for sexual acts is a sort of escape, from boredom, slavery and bondage.

Further more, from the father’s cook, Zacharia, it is a story of manual betrayal, less at touch of affection while for Ralph it is simply a story of “let the hawks guard the hens”. In other words Ralph is only vulnerable to a natural order. Indeed, it is not easy, being famished and in the midst of food and yet refuse to eat. Even father’s little boy and ….. Denis, is not less guilty as others. Although he does not nitrate sexual escapade with Catherine, his body wants and respond to it, and the even yearns for more with that whore of a girl who happens to be Zacharia’s girl friend.

The manners of father’s corrections are some misdirected. The way he beats the sixta girl and approach the sins commuted under him are rather too harsh.


The novel is set Tala community and it is a post colonist novel set after the coming of the white men.

Diction / Language

The language used in the novel is simple and direct. It is also easy to understand.

Mood / Tone / Atmosphere

The tone or the mood of the author in the novel is net too happy. He is in a sad mood trying to reveal the suggestion, the leally mera/decade and the perpetual handling of the white on the people of Tala


  • Power of conscience
  • Theme of colonialism
  • Theme of hypocrisy

Power of conscience: Man’s conscience is his most efficient torture. When we consider the psychological torture undergone by Denis after his sexual encounter with Catherine, we are convinced to accept this ascription as nothing but the truth. although deep down in his heart the boy yearns for more, he cannot forgive himself for having committed the heinous crime fornication even while he dwells, dense and wine with the righteous. Because of this single act, the boy carries with him where he goes the conscience of a fornicator, of a sinner. He is so guilty conscience that he finds it had to serve the mass at service, he also finds it difficult to mingle with other in the church. He feels some sense of alienation.

Theme of colonialism: the whites believe the blacks are sinners and so have to bend them to accept Christianity. It is not surprising that in the novel, the people natives from other towns except Bomba, already know this left wonder then what a man should be so angry with father (when the latter tries to tell him about Jesus Christ) that he rages. Even through the Africans believe in some of the principles of Christianity, they find it a point of contention to ambition completely their religion. It is then not surprising, therefore, when the novel. From Bomba to Sogolo, antagonize the bishop who appears to them more like a predations racist than a righteous down he presented himself.

Theme of Hypocrisy: In the novel, Betis seems to be preaching the gospel truth that no man born of a woman is in fallible. Everyone is a sinner. From the father’s look, Zacharia, to Raphael the guardian of the sixta, it is a story of marital betrayal, less of touch of affection which for Ralph, it is simply a story of “let the hawks guard the hens”. In other words, Ralph is only venerable to a natural order. Indeed, it is not an easy task being famished and in the midst of food yet refuse to eat.

Also the father is hypocritical in his dealings. For treating and being a kind of harsh on the girls.

Characters and Characterization

The story is told through the mouth of a young boy and most of the characters are exposed through their actions.


  • Reverend Fr Drumont
  • Zacharia
  • Janga boto
  • M Vidal

Fr Drumont: he is a white man, a priest in the Tala community Paganism to Christianity but unknown to him, he was doing it the wrong way. He did everything humanly possible to see that the people worshipped God. He also opened up a place by name Siea for the women where they would stay for 6 months before getting married.

When it seemed to him that the people do not want his god. He travelled out of the country and stayed for 2 years with hope that when he comes back they might have changed. But things did not happen like he expected. He thought of another possible means to see if the people would be conversed. Fr Drumont was a kind of person the treated the pagans very bad on one occasion, on a Friday during Lenten season, he destroyed the things of the people (pagans) drams, and other instruments because according to him, they were disturbers him.

Zacharia: he is for Drumont’s by. On several occasions, he explained to father what the people do not want.

That’s not the truth of the matter. The first of us who ran to religion to you religion, come to it as a sort of revelation. Pg 31.

Zacharia also utilized the opportunity of seeing after the six slept with the girls including coherence, who after raping him. He addressed her as my Catherine. He later handed over the sixa to Raphael.

Sanga Boto: Sanga Boto is also a man of God. He was seen as Fr Drumont’s rival. The people ran to him when they began to see Fr Drumont as materialistic and a very dangerous father because he collects money from them for confession and for the sacrament.

M Vidal: he is the colonial administrator for that pronounces (Tala) he met the father at one of the villages and had informed him of his plans to construct a road through the Tala country. The construction of such roads requires the use of good labour from the people. This made Fr Drumont very happy because by so doing the people would come back to church Catherine. She is one of the women in the sixa. She raped sectarian and also had an affair with him. Zacharia later loved her and felt something for her even after he handed over the sixa to Raphael. She was often referred to as my by Catherine by Zacharia

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