THE LAND OF THE FATHERS

The Liberia-born (1973) writer Vamba Sherif lives in The Netherlands. He is a man with a knack for languages. This book was written in Eglish and translated into Dutch and published in Dutch. I do not know if this book has been published in English as well. 

In this book Sherif returns to his country of birth and its history spanning two sides of an ocean. He weaves with two strands. The local population and the ‘invaders’ from the other side of the ocean, who came back to Africa after a period of slavery. Two strands that have an uneasy relationship noting the history of Liberia as a haven for freed slaves and their descendants (from the United States of America) and as a place where the local populace saw those strangers (and still so familiar) coming. There were however descendants of slaves who tried to bridge the gap and settle with the local people.

The pattern of weaving starts in the the 19th century and ends in small steps and in large steps in the final periods of the 20th century. It is a story of love and uneasiness, a story of closeness and vast gaps, a story of east is east and west is west and shall the twain ever meet.

This book shows the complexities of a country with a ragged and torn history, a history of power and sharing of power (of the lack of sharing), it shows the ravages of war especially for the common man and woman.

Vamba Sherif has written a very nice book, his debut in the literary world. 

 Vamba Sherif – The Land of the Fathers – 1999 

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