IKENGA QUEST: One Man’s Quest for His African Heritage by Gerald Oluchi Ibe

Igbo ArchivesBook reviewsRecommended BooksIKENGA QUEST: One Man’s Quest for His African Heritage by Gerald Oluchi Ibe

Title: IKENGA QUEST: One Man’s Quest for His African Heritage
Author: Gerald Oluchi Ibe
Publisher: Independently published
Publication Date: July 2, 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 513
ISBN-10: 1983399302
ISBN-13: 978-1983399305
Language: English


“IKENGA QUEST” by Gerald Oluchi Ibe is a compelling narrative that intertwines personal struggle, ancient African heritage, and historical events. The story follows Umemnaeku, a sick teenage boy in Peckham, who embarks on a quest to discover his African roots and reclaim a stolen cultural artifact. This journey, which spans four thousand years, delves into the complex relationships between Igbo-African civilization and British colonial powers.

Content Summary

Plot and Themes The novel begins with Umemnaeku’s mysterious illness, which has plagued him since childhood. His mother’s desperate consultation with a voodoo priestess reveals that the source of his ailment is tied to his ancestral home in Africa. This revelation propels Umemnaeku on a journey back to his roots, unveiling an ancient civilization and his inherited role as the guardian of the Ikenga. The narrative explores themes of heritage, identity, and the impact of colonialism, weaving in historical events such as the Atlantic slave trade, the Haitian Revolution, and the Igbo-Biafra war.

Character Development Umemnaeku’s character evolves significantly throughout the novel. His journey of self-discovery and the responsibilities he inherits highlight his growth from a sickly boy to a determined guardian of his culture. Additionally, the book portrays the love-hate relationship between the Igbo and the British, providing a nuanced view of their historical interactions.

Historical and Cultural Context Ibe meticulously incorporates historical events and cultural rituals into the story. Consequently, readers gain a rich understanding of Igbo traditions and the broader historical context. The novel spans several significant periods, including American independence, the Haitian Revolution, and World War II, connecting them to the protagonist’s personal quest.

Key Features

  • Epic Narrative: The book offers an expansive and engaging storyline that spans thousands of years.
  • Rich Cultural Insights: Readers gain deep insights into Igbo culture and the historical events that shaped it.
  • Complex Characters: The characters are well-developed, with their personal struggles and growth intricately tied to broader historical themes.


This book is ideal for readers interested in historical fiction, African culture, and epic narratives that blend personal and historical journeys. It appeals to those who appreciate stories that explore deep cultural roots and the impact of colonial history.


  • Engaging Storyline: The plot is captivating, with a blend of personal and historical elements that keep readers hooked.
  • Historical Depth: The novel provides a rich historical context, enhancing readers’ understanding of Igbo culture and history.
  • Character Growth: The protagonist’s development is well-crafted, making his journey relatable and inspiring.


  • Length: At 513 pages, the book might be daunting for some readers.
  • Complexity: The interweaving of multiple historical events and personal stories may require careful reading to fully grasp all the connections.


“IKENGA QUEST” by Gerald Oluchi Ibe is a masterful blend of history, culture, and personal discovery. It offers a profound look at African heritage and the lingering effects of colonialism through the eyes of a young protagonist on a transformative journey. This novel is a valuable read for anyone interested in the rich tapestry of African history and the enduring quest for identity and heritage.

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