Traumata by Lang Fafa Dampha

A Fascinating insight into the African culture in Paris.

This interesting book follows the life of Sainy Kanteh, who the readers met in the author’s previous book ‘Peculiar.’ He is the protagonist in both stories, and through him, and his wife Fatou, we are able to gain very thought-provoking and enlightening insights into how life is in Europe, and Paris in particular for African immigrants.

Before going into more depth, I must stress that it is not necessary to have read ‘Peculiar’ to enjoy reading this book.  For those who have not, it tells of Sainy’s arrival in Paris as a young man from his native Gambia. Through his experiences and observations the readers discover his reactions to this new city he is to call his home, and gain insight into the African community there, their customs, and traditions which they continue away from their homeland. In this book he also meets and falls madly in love with Fatou, a divorcee with a young son.

Now this their story continues with Fatou adoring her man, doing everything she can to please him. They have a happy and fulfilled life, and in return he tries to provide for his family, and to do so he gains employment in a restaurant.

The strong bonds of the African community shines through in this book, where we learn about the traditions which are still carried out in Europe as they were in Africa, and their importance. However, it is also clear that life in France with its Child Benefit and other social help changes the thoughts of the African women. These changes in attitudes do affect both sexes, and can and do lead to unrest both in families and amongst the people, the cultures clash sometimes and we see the reasons clearly portrayed within these pages.

As in relationships throughout the world, temptations rise and people are human, and this is the case when Sainy falls for Stephanie a white woman who is deeply attracted to him. As the relationship develops, Sainy like many men before him change, and Fatou as his wife notices. However Fatou has also to deal with comments from the community, other women, and an accident suffered by her son which leads to trouble in the family.

As an English woman moving to France the changes in culture have been different and take adjustment, however I cannot pretend to understand how it must be for someone whose cultures differ so much in their homeland.

The author was himself born in the Gambia, and as a young man migrated to Paris, where he earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature, and a Ph.D. in English Studies (Society and Culture). He also taught Legal English (Law and Politics – UK/USA) and Economic English, for two years before returning to Africa and working as a Senior Research and Programme Officer at the African Union office (the African Academy of Languages) in Bamako, Mali, from November 2009 to July 2015, and as Acting Executive Secretary from August 2015 to December 2018, and from then to now as Executive Secretary of the same institution.

This book is openly and skilfully written, and gives the readers an unbiased opportunity to understand the life of Gambian immigrants in Paris and Europe. Highly recommended.

About the Author:

Born in the Gambia, Lang Fafa Dampha lived and worked in Paris from 1989 to 2009. He has obtained a B.A. in English Language, Literature and Civilisation at the University of Paris 7 Jussieu, and a Ph.D. in English Studies (Society and Culture) at the University of Paris IV Sorbonne. Lang Fafa taught Legal English (Law and Politics – UK/USA) at the University of Paris 2 – Panthéon Assas, and Economic English (introduction to banking and finance, and the history of economic thought) at the University of Paris 8, Saint Denis, for two and a half years. He returned to Africa in November 2009 and is now working in Bamako, Mali, as Executive Secretary of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), which is the African Union’s specialised institution mandated to develop and promote African languages so that they could be used in all spheres of life in Africa.

About the Book:

After falling madly in love during his first year in Paris, Sainy and Fatou’s marriage is initially successful, but as time goes on the man, and to a lesser extent, the woman both start behaving peculiarly from an African perspective, creating frictions to the point of almost irreparable damage. The story explores new things about African immigrants and shows how their home-grown values of culture, community and morality adapt in their new culture, for better or worse.

Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Traumata-Lang-Fafa-Dampha/dp/B08FNMPK9T/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&keywords=lang+fafa+dampha&qid=1600006427&s=books&sr=1-9

African Migrants (Novel) by Lang Fafa Dampha

An unparalleled insight into Africa and its people.

The author of this interesting and thought-provoking book, Lang Fafa Dampa was born in the Gambia in 1965. In Paris, he earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature, and a Ph.D. in English Studies (Society and Culture). Whilst there he also taught Legal English (Law and Politics – UK/USA) and Economic English, for two years.  In November 2009 he returned to Africa and he worked as a Senior Research and Programme Officer at the African Union office (the African Academy of Languages) in Bamako, Mali, from November 2009 to July 2015, and as Acting Executive Secretary from August 2015 to December 2018, and from then to now as Executive Secretary of the same institution.

In this book Lang Fafa Dampa, through his incredibly descriptive writing, relives the experiences of the main character/protagonist fleeing Africa, in search of a brighter future in Europe. He travelled through Dakar to Bamako, and then Niamey, crossing the cruel Sahara Desert into Libya, where he spent six months. Then along with thousands of others, he had to cross the Mediterranean, as a ‘boat migrant.’ Here he recounts shocking stories of the cruelty he observed being dealt out by the traffickers who treated the migrants terribly, with no regard for their lives, and no humanity. The horrific images of this voyage were etched into the author’s young mind, and will stay with him forever…

He managed to smuggle himself into France and lived in Metropolitan Paris, where he discovered a different world. Quickly he realised that both the African and white people lived in disdain of the ‘boat people,’ and he learned to stay very quiet about the fact that he had been one. However,  this disdain caused him great pain, because he realised that they had no comprehension of the cruelty and suffering these people had to endure and had no concept of the desperate driving force which compels the youth of Africa to risk everything, (including their lives,) to better themselves in Europe.

In this new world, he found himself becoming a quiet observer of human nature, and through listening to conversations and witnessing events, he discovered a lot about the attitudes of the African immigrants he lived with, both to their wives, families, friends, their adopted countries and Africa. Countless times he found himself witness to the Alien combative Attitude Africans have, and asked himself, “Where is African civilisation? Where are Africans wisdom and bravery? Where is the great pre-colonial African civilisation that historians talk about?”

Well, the protagonist believes the answers lie in finding a way to establish the African people’s self-respect and confidence in themselves. He reflects that Africans are destructively jealous, to their detriment, and a brighter future can be achieved by future generations regenerating Africa and changing the current combatant attitude. He suggests they look for examples to other countries who work together in competing to achieve goals, not by fighting but uniting cohesively.   

The passion the author feels for Africa and his people shine through in this book. He gives his readers, through the eyes of the protagonist, unparalleled insights into Africa, its people, and the struggles they face. Highly recommended!

About the Author:

Born in the Gambia, Lang Fafa Dampha lived and worked in Paris between 1989 and 2009. He has obtained a B.A. in English Language and Literature at the University of Paris 7 Jussieu, and a Ph.D. in English Studies (Society and Culture) at the University of Paris IV Sorbonne. Lang Fafa taught Legal English (Law and Politics – UK/USA) at the University of Paris 2 – Panthéon Assas, and Economic English (introduction to banking and finance, and the history of economic thought) at the University of Paris 8, Saint Denis, for two and a half years. He returned to Africa in November 2009 and is now working as Executive Secretary at the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), in Bamako, Mali, which is the African Union’s specialised institution mandated to develop and promote African languages so that they could be used in all spheres of life in Africa.

Website: https://acalan-au.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/African-Academy-of-Languages-Acalan-1976775255951086/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AcademyAcalan

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/acalan-au-441522180/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/africanacademyoflanguages/

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acalan/

About the Book:

A young Gambian immigrant gives an account of the hardship he encountered through the Sahara Desert, in Libya and the Mediterranean before smuggling himself from Italy to France. In Paris, while hiding his identity as a “boat-migrant”, he lived the contrasting philosophies of his fellows with regard to African reconstruction: hard Pan-Africanism versus staunch pro-Western. The story manifests the triviality and purposelessness of the attitude of most Africans with regards to African socio-economic rehabilitation. This story presents a world of tragedy, terror and futility, tempered by the voice of reason.

Available from:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/African-Migrants-Novel-Lang-Dampha/dp/1515333833/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/african-migrants-lang-fafa-dampha/1123179003?ean=9781515333838

Safari Ants, Baggy Pants & Elephants: A Kenyan Odyssey by Susie Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it a good idea to revisit your childhood? For Susie Kelly it definitely was as you will discover in this fantastic book. I first became a fan of Susie back in the UK when I read of her move to France, and her adventures and exploits since. In 2014 she released I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry, a poignant memoir, which included her wonderful childhood in Africa, and this is its long awaited sequel.

In this book we join Susie, and her husband Terry, as they take up an invitation from her old friend Vivien, owner of As You Like It Safaris, to go on a safari, and enjoy the experience through her beautifully descriptive writing and wonderful photographs.

And so, leaving her animals in France, under careful supervision, in August 2015, Susie and her husband Terry set off for an African safari. More than 40 years after leaving Africa, many things have changed, including Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya, which through her eyes as the plane landed now resembles a space station.

Immediately feeling like she has come home, Susie straight away treats the reader to the full African experience, as she  vividly describes the sights, sounds, and if possible the smells of this amazing continent.

After meeting other safari members, and a well-deserved sleep in the Nairobi Serena hotel, Susie, Terry and their group start their safari by making their way to the Amboseli National Park 140 miles south of Nairobi, and Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. I cannot begin to describe how much Susie’s writing and reminiscing brings this book to life. Not only is the reader treated to stunningly vivid descriptions of the animals and scenery, but also the native tribes and the people who are guiding them. At this point I have to say that Susie has taken some amazing photographs throughout the safari adventure and they complement this book beautifully.

The safari group stayed at some wonderful and famous places, from the Mount Kenya Safari Club, with its touch of celebrity lifestyle, to camping in tents for an ‘Out of Africa’ experience in the Masai Mara. However, these were no ordinary tents, in fact it is only their canvas walls which gives them their name. These were beautifully furnished, double lined, insect proof rooms, on raised platforms with double and four poster beds, and they were situated on the bank of the Olare Orok river, so Susie and Terry could sit on the veranda and watch the hippos in the water.

Being an animal fanatic I enjoyed learning so much about African wildlife from this book and also the incredible people who care for, and protect it

After a childhood spent on this vast continent, time spent in England, and 20 years in France, Susie has used her own unique style of writing to bring together her African safari, and past alive, and has generously shared it with her readers.

Whether you are looking for a book about Africa, love wildlife, or are addicted to memoirs, I guarantee that you will not be able to put this one down!

For those who would like to join Susie’s safari and watch Africa come alive, Susie has produced a special slide show album of her visit for her readers to enjoy http://tinkerbelle.jalbum.net/Safari%20Ants,%20Baggy%20Pants%20and%20Elephants/

 

About the Author: Born a Londoner, Susie Kelly spent most of the first 25 years of her life in Kenya. She now lives in south-west France with her husband and assorted animals. She believes that her explosive temper is a legacy from her Irish-American grandfather, but has no idea who to blame for her incompetence as a housewife. Still, she’s very kind to animals, small children and elderly people. Susie particularly enjoys exploring the road less travelled, discovering the lives and events of lesser-known places. Susie has a rapidly growing fan base. All 5 of her popular travel books have dominated Amazon’s UK paid French Travel Bestsellers, achieving the straight flush #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5. Her remarkable memoir I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry reached #35 in the US Top 100; in 2016 her story of running holiday gites in France Swallows & Robins: The Laughs & Tears Of A Holiday Home Owner reached #9 in the Australian Amazon Top 100 and was a non-fiction finalist in The People’s Book Prize. Prior to publishing with Blackbird, Susie was with Transworld who sold over 50,000 of her titles in the UK.

 

About the Book  The long-awaited sequel to Susie Kelly’s US Amazon Top 40 ranking memoir I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wish-Could-Say-Was-Sorry-ebook/dp/B00CS8YG34/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1496753364&sr=1-6 described by BookBub as “A Child Called It meets Out Of Africa in this stunning memoir of a woman’s 1950s childhood in Kenya. Filled with candid humor and insights, this authentic tale captures one woman’s incredible coming-of-age journey.”

More than 40 years after leaving Kenya, Susie unexpectedly finds herself returning for a safari organised by an old friend.

With her husband Terry, Susie sets off for a holiday touring the game reserves, but what she finds far exceeds her expectations. In this, her seventh, travelogue, she takes readers from five star hotels to luxury tents in the wilderness, and to poverty in Nairobi’s slums, describing a journey of joy, excitement, discovery, nostalgia, of new friendships and encounters of the very close kind with Kenya’s majestic wildlife. Forgotten memories come flooding back as she revisits the scenes of her childhood and adolescence, so movingly portrayed in her popular memoir I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry, many of them changed beyond recognition.

Written in her characteristic laid back style, this is a travel tale that will appeal to all those readers who have enjoyed Susie’s previous books, as well as anybody who has lived in or dreams of visiting Kenya, the magical land Susie still thinks of as ‘home’.

‘Vivid, moving, entertaining. Anybody thinking of taking a safari holiday in Kenya, or who would like to take an armchair safari to Kenya, should read this book.’

“Hemingway wrote:’I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.’ That is how I feel about Kenya. You feel at once insignificant and amazing, just for being here. This magnificent, beautiful country, birthplace of mankind, owner of my heart.” Susie Kelly, 2017

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Safari-Ants-Baggy-Pants-Elephants/dp/0995473579/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1496753364&sr=1-2

and kindle format https://www.amazon.co.uk/Safari-Ants-Baggy-Pants-Elephants-ebook/dp/B06XZPJP8Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1496753364&sr=1-2

 

Bibi & Babu in Africa (Volume 1) by Bonnie Toews & John Christiansen.

1940145465

When Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen decided to take their first holiday to Africa together in their 70’s, the experience was not only amazing, but life changing.

I read this book with my Grandsons and before they opened it, the first thing they wanted to know is “Who are Bibi and Babu? Of course I couldn’t tell them, however we soon discovered that they are the Swahili names for Grandma and Grandpa.

Sitting together, reading the story, it seemed as if we were sitting with Bibi and Babu, looking at their 2013 Africa holiday album, it was lovely to see so many natural photos.

The book starts with an introduction to Africa, and then Bibi and Babu set off for their adventure in Tanzania and Kenya. As we worked our way through the book, the children loved seeing and learning about other children who live a totally different life, on the other side of the world. They were especially fascinated finding out about the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre in Pasua, Tanzania and the work which goes on there.

Being children who are bought up with animals, seeing the amazing African animals in their natural setting was a part of the book they loved, and I was pleased that it gave me the opportunity to explain how important conservation is for their continued survival.

This is a lovely book for children. For me, the most important part of it was that there were no cartoon animals and imaginary places which don’t exist, this couple’s journey was real. By being presented as it is, it makes Africa, it’s peoples and wild life come to life in a believable way, and teaches children, whether they are read it, or read it themselves, the wonders of the real world.

Oh, and Babu won the respect of our two little boys, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why!

About the Author:      

A former editorial director of 30 trade magazines for the business division of Canada’s major newspaper chain, Bonnie Toews turned to writing fiction after she covered the greatest humanitarian relief effort in Rwanda 1994. Greater efforts have been achieved since, but then, up to one million Rwandans had just been slaughtered within 100 days with greater efficiency than the Nazis mastered during the World War II Holocaust. Her eyewitness view contributes to the plight of children in war as a recurring theme through her dramatic thrillers. She writes: “Children are the powerless victims of an adult world gone mad. There is no justification for the slaughter and maiming of children. They are not responsible for the deeds of their parents or governments. On my return flight to Canada, I decided fiction was the best way to show readers how to triumph over betrayal, to let them see the true power of forgiveness and our struggle to achieve it, for as long as victims and perpetrators seek retribution against each other, the world can never live in true peace.”

With hundreds of published articles and five business press awards in her portfolio, Bonnie continues to support better care and treatment of Canada’s veterans and is a member of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, Military Writers Society of America, Christian Writers’ Association and American Authors Association.

ABOUT THE BIBI & BABU TRAVEL SERIES

“Bibi” and “Babu” are Swahili names for Grandma and Grandpa, and when grandparents Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen go to Central Africa, their tour guides fondly call them, Bibi and Babu. These nicknames stick, and as they share their journeys in a series of armchair adventures to faraway lands, they introduce you to countries and people who live in different worlds from the one you know. Their memoirs, however, are not meant to be travel guides. They are meant for adults and children to read and discuss together. Bonnie and John believe: “Reading with your child or grandchild not only entertains them, it can strengthen the bonds between you. We also want to encourage everyone to live your dream. Age doesn’t have to sideline you from living to your fullest capacity.” While in Africa in 2013, John climbed up Mount Kilimanjaro when he was 77-years-old. At the time he was the second oldest man to reach the top of the second tallest mountain in the world.

Available from:

Amazon sites in:

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Bibi-Babu-Africa-Travel/dp/1940145465/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440419242&sr=8-1&keywords=bibi+and+babu+in+africa&pebp=1440419248653&perid=0MSNVDDYTR2CBGBP5406

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Bibi-Babu-Africa-Travel-Book-ebook/dp/B013JEZHWE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1440419242&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble in

Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bibi-babu-in-africa-bonnie-toews/1120962664?ean=9780692274606

and as a Nook book http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bibi-babu-in-africa-bonnie-toews/1120962664?ean=2940151000604

and Indigo https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/bibi-babu-in-africa/9781940145464-item.html