Books by Kola Boof
River Woman (Poems, Feb. 10, 2004) /
Long Train to the Redeeming
Sin-Stories About African Women
(April 6, 2004)
Flesh and the Devil: A Novel
(May 11, 2004) /
Diary of a Lost Girl
* * * *
Kola Boof Speaks Her Mind
with Nathan Lewis
Responses to Boof's Writings
I've gotten excellent reviews in America. I believe that
the "working-class" Black Americans appreciate my
work, and they recognize me as their own, but you're right about
the upper-middle class Black Americans and Black Academics,
particularly at Harvard. They've been extraordinarily
snobbish and unfriendly towards me. They don't like my
being topless on the back of my bookcovers—they see this as
backwards and savage rather than celebratory of traditional Nile
River culture, which is what it is. I've come to realize
that even the most educated Black Americans know very little
about authentic African people.
Who Is Kola
I'm a Black
women's writer really, to be blunt. I write poems and
short stories that focus on the lives of black women. My
last book, Long Train to the Redeeming Sin, just became a
bestseller at aalbc.com. I debuted at #2! And that
took months to achieve! I'm writing a novel right now and I'm
hoping to be signed with a new agent by Christmas, an American
agent, hopefully. My novel is about a sexy young Black
American woman who flies airplanes for a living. Critics
always describe my writing as being literary. I don't
write bubblegum pop-fiction books.
Kola on Sudan's Violence, Slavery, &
Yes, I am very
fearful. I am paranoid, too. I just rely on the American
law enforcement for protection. This is why I say—America is
my husband now. I have been disowned by the Arab Islamic people
of Sudan, the Northerners as we Sudanese call them…and I don't
forget, I am a Northerner, too, but I'm Black and see myself as
Someone has to
be brave enough to speak out against slavery in my country. It
shouldn't be tolerated. And someone has to speak to the
racial prejudice that Black Africans suffer in Sudan and Egypt.
The age-old colorism! It's so terribly bad over there. As
unpopular as my position is—I do feel that Arab people, as a
people, are very violent in our societies. If that's a
racist statement, then so be it.
They go on the
"Oprah Winfrey Show" and cry and whine about how
unfairly they're treated, but they remain one of the most
oppressive and hateful races on the face of the earth.
They hate black people, that's for damned sure. And Islam is not
an African religion. It's an Arab religion that was forced
on African people during the thousands of years that Arabs
Islam is a
terrible religion for women and children! I was born into
it, in Africa, so I have true knowledge of it. It's not
for a womanist. Women should rule at least half the
universe, you understand—and we should be praised for having
our monthly period. We should be celebrated for having
daughters. Our nappy-headed black mother, Mother Africa, the
Blue Black woman, the mother of all mankind—she should be
But no, these
Arabs and Islamics are insane. Look at Farrakhan—he does
business with Kadafi—a man who makes his nation's money off
the backs of Black African slaves. But, of course, they'll
someday come and kill Kola Boof just for dare saying it.
So I might as well scream the shit, right! Men are so
unfair. I could kick their ass for christmas.
No one loves and
admires Black American women more than I do. I love them,
unconditionally, because I love myself, and because they come
from me and my blood-berry. But I think that any black
woman who can't relate to Kola Boof's message is either stupid
or she isn't really black.
I'm not saying
that she has to agree with Kola Boof's lifestyle—and of
course, sister girl's own lifestyle is one informed by European
standards. But I am saying this. Any real Queen preserves the
history of her mother's and her grandmother's. She studies it,
she knows it by heart, and with her own person, she adds to it.
That's what makes a woman a woman no matter what race you are.
But in America
there's far too much disconnection from the authentic self.
These women try to embrace their Indian and White blood, and
yet, they're mostly African. Even these yellow ones are
Africans once you get out your ruler and start measuring
foreheads, hips, nappy hair and lips. Let it be known. I
came to the United States, adopted by a wonderful, loving Black
American couple, not for any other reason than "colorism."
My parents in
Sudan, as you know, were murdered for speaking up against
slavery and the brutish Islamic government of Sudan. After they
were murdered, my Egyptian grandmother, my own flesh and blood,
felt that I was too dark-skinned to be raised in my father's
So I was let for
adoption by my own flesh and blood, my grandmother, because I
was too "brown." My birth mother's African family
wasn't even looked for, because they were nomads. Now I
ask Black American women—what in the sky should I be writing
about? And because the majority of African people on planet
earth suffer from this disease known as "colorism" and
self-hatred, then what should we all, every one us, be concerned
Why on earth
would I want to celebrate black women wearing blond hair on
their heads? That's not freedom, that's poison! And it
reeks of desperation. Have you seen these Black
motherseeds walking around as if White women took a shit on
their heads!? Do we really have to look like white women to get
our own men to look at us? And since the answer seems to be yes,
then why are we producing such worthless children?
Michael Jackson! Is no one learning from that tragedy?
And what about these Black men who teach our children that any
kind of straight-haired woman is better than a Black one?
Shouldn't we put those blind, pathetic bastards where they go?
Shouldn't we raise our children to be honorable enough to give
birth to their own image? Is Kola Boof racist, you asked?
If I am a racist, then America is the perfect place for me. So
be it. I'm not going anywhere. America is my husband
Black Women & Writing
Well, I pray
that I can reach the women. In particular, the darker ones who
can still actually feel their connection to Africa. I
believe that the self-loathing of African people all over the
world is causing a kind of selective holocaust—our children
used to be slaves, but now they aren't even being born. I
am hoping to help Black women to see themselves from a more
devoutly African standpoint and to realize what it is we must
I would also
like to see women of all races start our own religion,
which is long overdue. I want Islam, especially, to be
abolished. When I say that—you have to understand that
religions are not God. Religions are man-made institutions. They
have nothing to do with God, the eternal. So I would like to see
Islam abolished, because I was born into Islam, and I know
firsthand that Islam is a vehicle used by billions of insecure
men to bring violence and hatred against women into the world.
Just think—they're the type of people who would kill me for
saying such a thing. That's the nature of the religion.
the Right God: Choosing Self" Rejected
wants it to be easier to market me to a general audience.
They would like it if it were easier for White people and middle
class Blacks to embrace me, but truly, I don't care about those
two groups. I don't see why we should get rid of the word
"nigger" as long as we're going to keep our blond hair
weaves, which I think is a far more dangerous statement than the
word "nigger"—that's what the essay is about, and of
course, my publisher is worried because I name several powerful
Black people who I feel really are "niggers." I cried
a lot and I fought very hard. That essay is my answer to
the Willie Lynch letter. I won't allow the book to be published
I'm all for it.
I lived with a white man for several years, myself, when I was
very young. Truly, I don't think that "interracial
love" is really at issue, because that is a natural love
that has always existed in the world. But I still maintain that
what we see in America is an epidemic of Black self-hatred
rather than love between two equals. The playing field is not
In my homeland
as well, the Black people believe in Arab superiority. They
believe that light-skinned people are more human, more loved by
God. You see the once mighty Nubian King trying to pass
for Arab or claiming to have a drop of Arab blood, disowning his
own Black relatives. This sickness is in Africans all over
the planet, the Europeans and the Arabs infected us with it, and
now we must cure ourselves so that God can love us with his eyes
opened wide instead of closed.
You know, it
took decades for people to recognize the special importance of
Zora Neale Hurston, because she seemed so simple and outrageous.
But she was really quite complicated and very natural. In my
case, they think I'm angry and opportunistic. That's not
true. I am loving to all mankind, very wise and I respect my
[G]rowing up in
Washington, D.C.—I always resented how the Black Christian
people thought that bare-chested African women were bare-chested
because they were "backwards and didn't know any better."
I always wanted
to scream out, "Our mothers were bare-chested,
because women were truly respected as spiritual beings—the
breast being a food source, a religious ornament and the very
symbol of the circle of life. We had done nothing
dirty—so there was no need to cover ourselves.!" If Jesus
Christ were alive, he would agree with me that it's an
abomination against God for any woman's breasts to be covered.
Not the European Jesus—the African Jesus.
used to know that before the Europeans took over our lives and
taught us that our mothers were nothing more than naked savages.
So now there is a bare-chested African woman, Kola Boof, who
writes literature. And we Black women are still the
goddess flower. It is from our passion that the world came
into being. We know God best, because we gave birth to him. We
were the first thing he ever made. The black woman is the
only woman that the forces of nature agree with.
Passion & Love
If my boyfriend
could say anything—he would probably brag and boast about how
submissive I am in the relationship. He always laughs when
people think that I'm this rough, tough super-feminist rebel,
because I cook his meals, make his lunch, give him mental and
physical stimulation, take care of the house that he owns, I do
his laundry—and he generally calls the shots and goes to work
for the government everyday.
But I also write
books about the things that go on in my head and I am a
political activist, a soldier in Dr. John Garang's Sudanese
People's Liberation Army. I am a two-fisted woman as the
American blues song goes. But my lover and I, we see ourselves
as a team, with him dominating our house and me—changing the
world while he's at work. That's really how it is, because
I wanted to be in love with a man and still affect the world.
emotionally, I'm a "womanist". I am a feminist.
I am a sexual athlete, which I used to be ashamed of, because
decent women aren't supposed to shape sex into art—but I think
artists make art out of everything, you know. This term
"sexual athlete" doesn't mean that I'm unfaithful,
because I have never been unfaithful to a lover, but it means
that I have expectations about sex that many men can't deal
It's hard work
satisfying Kola Boof. I said the word "womanist" in
honor of the great Alice Walker, one of my heroes, because she
gave us that word, to honor and accurately identify the
purposeful Black woman.
But in my birth
mother's Gisi-Waaq tribe, they have a word that means the same
exact thing—"Gadaa-Kwilxxu." So, you see, it's
ancient. This idea of women being highly valued, respected and
"listened to" within an African society. My love and
passion comes from that. . . . As well as from the fact that
Africa is a sensual place where sensuality has always been
encouraged and appreciated in a spiritual way. A woman is
meant to have sexual power within the society, otherwise, her
seed dies from the earth and there's nothing left of her body.
Topless on Book Cover
course, he hates it. We fight about it all the time. It's
hard on men, you know, because what I'm doing was acceptable in
ancient times, but it's seen as a sexual nature these days.
It's just something that I must do. I think that once I'm sixty
and gray and I'm still topless on my books, then people will
finally look at the pictures and finally have respect for the
authentic African woman.
The Source of
My love for God.
I'm not a Christian, but I often read the Bible, quite a bit, in
fact, because it brings me a lot of joy and wisdom. I feel
empowered by the parts that I read. I like long, long
baths. I drink wine more than I used to. I get peace from
good sex. I've had to start to working out in my
boyfriend's gym room, and that's wonderful.
A Few Admirers
I also know the
great, legendary legal Scholar and social writer Derrick
Bell—he's another one of my heroes, a Black male one. I
really respect his wisdom and his down to earth nature.
He's so wonderful for a tormented person like me to correspond
with and he's just the best. He's like a father and he has a
wonderful brilliant wife, Janet. Professor Jim Mtume from
England is a fan of mines and English Professor George Landow at
Brown University has been extraordinarily kind to me, he
acknowledges my work. I also have to mention an Arab woman
writer named Carol Chehade. She has an incredibly special
book out called "Big Little White Lies". I'm shocked
to have a close, close friend who is Arab and from Egypt no
less! But I love Carol Chehade. She's a White blond Arab
and she's my blood sister in my heart.
Please let me
mention another black male hero, Charles Uniteus who is known as
Mr. Uniteus. He's a Black American who is doing all he can to
end slavery in Sudan. I also love Troy Johnson at
aalbc.com He has the most incredible website for Black
literature (aalbc.com) and he supported me even when others more
powerful than him said that I shouldn't be heard from.
And don't dare
forget Jaime Foster Brown who publishes
"Sister-2-Sister" magazine, which has been really
supportive of my career and has given me lots of free press! I
love Jaime, she's my idea of an African queen. I love her so
"Kola Boof Surrenders" Nathan Lewis interviews Kola
* * *
Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to
cleaned toilets, I only saw it as work to
give me the means to achieve my goals. Of
course I hated it," the Sudanese supermodel
exclaimed. "Waking up at 4 a.m. when it's
freezing cold is not easy, followed by Uni,
coursework and my evening baby-sitting job,
but it made me disciplined and gave me a
huge sense of self-appreciation."
the seventh of nine children Alek, meaning
'black-spotted cow' (one of Sudan's most
treasured cows, which represents good luck),
never dreamt of becoming a model. Both in
her motherland, where she was considered to
be inferior due to her Dinka tribe (dubbed
as 'zurqa', meaning dirty black) and again
in Britain when she arrived in 1991, she
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
* * *
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
posted 2 October