Kintu, the debut novel by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, is one of these epic novels. The story is about a drama set in Uganda and shows the power of families legacies. It is based around five multi-generational stories that merge and mix together. The novel starts from far past to the present, and it goes back and forth.
The setting is modern Kampala, and the mood is dark: a man, accusing of stealing and then battered to death by a mob, is brought in for questioning by local authorities. This man is a direct descendant of Kintu Kidda, the novel’s hero, and his destiny is copped with a curse addressed to his ancestor.
The families story starts in 1750 with Kintu, and his path unleashes a plague on his family for generations to come. The characters deal with the shadows of Uganda’s history, like the Bush War or Idi Amin, but the focus is on their personal experiences.
The story’s accuracy and Makumbi’s narrative style are the main reason why this book is popularly being described as the great Ugandan novel you must read.