Lionel Froad is a Guyanese who works as a draftsman on an archeological survey in the mythical Jokhara in the horn of Africa. There he hopes to rediscover the self he calls ‘Lobo’, his alter ego from ‘ancestral times’, a ‘pregnant load’ he has carried with him ‘waiting to be freed’, which he thinks slumbers ‘behind the cultivated mask’ of Lionel.
But Jokhara brings no magical re-immersion for ‘Lionel looking for Lobo’. There are his complex relationships with other members of the team, his filial (and oedipal) relationship with Hughie, his white boss, and with Catherine, a Welsh girl on the team to whom Lionel finds himself passionately attracted, despite the disapproving inner voice of Lobo and Hughie’s paternalistic interference.
And at the points where communication breaks down with local Jokharans, Lionel/Lobo is forced to recognize what a breach the there has been in his New World psyche as a result of slavery and centuries of separation.
With wit and above all with ruthless honesty in its exploration of the themes of identity and belonging, in Other Leopards, Denis Williams wrote one of the most important Caribbean novels of the past fifty years.
With an introduction by Victor Ramraj.
Denis Williams was a highly accomplished artist, who also taught and published in the fields of West Indian and African art and anthropology, and, from 1974, was Director of Art and Archaeology with Guyana’s Ministry of Education and Culture.