What is the summary for A Good Man in Africa?

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Writer William Boyd’s novel A Good Man in Africa is a story that concerns the activities of the protagonist/main character, Morgan Leafy. Leafy is the First Secretary of the British High Commission. His obligations are in Nkongsamba in West Africa. He’s a man who lets the conventional, party-political, and community traditions of the region mold the way he behaves personally and professionally. He permits his personal affairs to intrude in his employment responsibilities while he’s working in his profession. His flawed decisions are the dynamic push of this novel, in concert with other situations, which are really beyond his personal control.

University professor, politician, and business owner Mr. Sam Adekunle is running for office in Kinjanja, West Africa. Morgan Leafy is being blackmailed by Sam Adekunle because Leafy had an affair with Sam's wife Celia Adekunle. Sam Adekunle wants to make Leafy bribe Dr. Alex Murray. Dr. Murray is the Chairperson of the university committee that considers the feasibility of university building projects.

Sam Adekunle has an interest in a building project at the university. The university desires to construct some new buildings. The parcel of property they want to construct the buildings on belong to Adekunle. His desire is to sell this land to the university. The university is unaware that Adekunle owns the parcel of property. This land is under another commercial moniker.

Sam Adekunle needs Dr. Murray to file a positive report so he can sell the land and get the proceeds. Accordingly, Sam Adekunle is pressuring Morgan to be part of his bribery strategy. He is intimating that he will reveal Leafy's affair with his wife Celia to Leafy’s bosses.

Mr. Arthur Fanshawe is the boss of Morgan Leafy. Fanshawe wants to make friends with Sam Adekunle so Great Britain will have influence in the country should Sam Adekunle win an election he desires to run in. Arthur Fanshawe hatches a plan that Morgan Leafy and he will pursue to obtain Sam Adekunle’s favor. In essence, this story involves Great Britain courting Sam Adekunle to gain favor with him as Kinjanja has significant oil reserves and Great Britain wants access to this reserve. Sam Adekunle cozies up to Dr. Alex Murray to gain favor with him so he can sell the land. Morgan Leafy is caught in the middle as he feels he must bend to his superior’s will and also that of Sam Adekunle—the blackmailer.

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