One of Them: An Eton College Memoir by Musa Okwonga - review by Bijan Omrani

Bijan Omrani

Pop Stars of Westminster

One of Them: An Eton College Memoir


Unbound 216pp £8.99

I’m not sure if Cyril Connolly was the first person, with his Theory of Permanent Adolescence, to argue that the English ruling classes suffered from a mass case of arrested development, their attitudes and mind-set formed and frozen by the great public schools they attended. At any rate, this idea is reprised and brought up to date by another Old Etonian writer in this memoir of his time at the school.

Musa Okwonga’s background is somewhat different from that of Connolly. Okwonga’s family came to England in the 1970s as refugees from Uganda. His father returned to fight in the civil war there, and was killed when Okwonga was only four. While at primary school, he saw a television documentary marking Eton’s 550th anniversary and a few weeks later visited Eton on a school trip. Transfixed by its grandeur, he became resolutely determined to win a place there, and was successful.

I should here declare an interest. I was a classmate of the author at that primary school. I was also transfixed by the same documentary and was similarly determined to get a place there. In this, I failed. However, by the strange operation of chance, I later ended up for

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