I cannot remember that I have come across the name of the writer of this book. His name is on the cover of the book on my shelf. That is all. It is said he wrote more, for instance theater work and poetry. His name is ‘Biyi Bandele-Thomas (Nigeria, 1967).

The story is told by Kayo, who hails from the Nigerian railroad town Kafanchan (Kaduna State), where he lives with his mother and his brother Rayo. His father left the building when he was still young. He tells about his younger years and his later years. He quotes from written notes by his brother Rayo. Stories from university life and protests against the government. Stories about life at the secondary school and the houses at school, the daring latrine-incident, the revenge on a powerfull student.  Kayo tells about others who play an important role in his life, like his on and off girlfriend Tere, who earns some extra money due to her sugar daddies. We read about a fictional story about a presidential couple, who deny they are tirants, and think they do well and persecute a lawyer.

There are many stories in this story by Bandele-Thomas, with running attacks against the powers in his country, the politicians who want to be rich, the soldiers who want to use their force.

The story comes to a close when Kayo and his mother walk to the market in Kafanchan where Rayo is, naked and disturbed. They want to bring him home. On their way they meet the undertaker and they end up in the house of Mama Soso, seller of sponges and healer by profession. Kayo needs to be healed, but why? A surprising end to this well written book. A story about serious matters, but at times written with a light and humurous touch.

‘Biyi Bandele-Thomas – The sympathetic undertaker and other dreams – 1991

Published by


I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.


  1. Please explain the conclusion of the novel it is so confusing, how did Kayo suddenly become mad and how did he narrate the story was it out of his hallucinations while he was mad or after he was being cured?


  2. Please explain further the Ed part of the Sympathetic Undertaker and other dreams by Biyi Bandele Thomas, it is so confusing… How did Kayo suddenly become mad?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.