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
* * * *
Chronology of the Life of Author Kola Boof
by Hans Vollokerk. Verified by Kola Boof
note that in the interest of police-advised safety measures . .
. some of the information contained in this chronology, such as
the use of certain people's real names, is edited. Notice the
true birth name of Kola Boof and the real names of her birth
parents are listed here for the very first time ever (at the
permission of Ms. Boof)...but in other instances, false names
are given to protect the identity of Uncles, Aunts or former
boyfriends who don't want their names given.
Probably born on March 3 (exact date unknown)...definitely born
as Naima Bint Harith, on the Nile River in a little house in
Omdurman, Sudan to Arab-Egyptian Muslim Archeologist Harith Bin
Farouk (he later chose Kolbookek to signify ancient Egyptian
Coptic ties) and a blue black Gisi-Waaq Oromo nomad Somali
mother, Jiddi (who was purchased by Harith Bin Farouk at 14 for
marriage. He was probably in his thirties). Naima was the 7th
child born to Harith and Jiddi...the first girl and the only
child not stillborn. Naima is given the customary "female
genital circumcision" at some point between birth and the
next 3 years.
Lived with parents in Omdurman not far from the Cobra Movie
house and the infamous prisoner for political prisoners...
Traveled with Pappuh Mahdi on excavations to Meroe, Napata, the
area now called Lake Nuba...which Harith Bin Farouk fought
mightily against the plans for...and also traveled to excavations
in Kenya and Yemen with Pappuh Mahdi. Boof called her father, as
many Nubian children in Arab communities would call their
father...Mahdi Pappuh or Pappuh Mahdi. Strange, however, as Boof
is not Nubian.
Naima went with her Pappuh Mahdi to the home of Dr. John Garang,
who was then a member of the ruling government. She played at
his house on the floor while her father and Garang discussed
"unusual atrocities" unfolding in the country. Boof
remembers Garang as a "very sweet, gentle big man. He
pinched my cheeks and said that I was pretty". One day,
while on the way to an escavation with father--Naima and her
father saw a slave raid in a Southern Nuer village. Western
tribal people were rounding up the villagers and Naima's father
discovered that Arab political groups were financing such raids.
As well, Naima noticed her father continually agitated by the
planning of Lake Nuba (probably the richest archeological site
in Sudan...a valley comprised of the ancient Nubian pyramids
containing the history of Nilotic Blacks...Harith was against
Egypt putting a lake and creating a damn, which effectively
covered and destroyed the pyramids).
The growing intimidation against citizens, Arab and African
Black alike, by the government's coming regime--Bashir and his
ilk--also worried Naima's father. Naima witnessed her Arab
Muslim uncle complain bitterly after a Muslim woman was rolled
up in a carpet and set on fire for not baring any sons, only
Nubians, Dinka and Nuer tell Naima's father stories about
racially motivated violent attacks on Southern Africans by Arab
police, soldiers and other officials. The stories seem unlikely
at first...but begin to be undeniable. Naima's father then
speaks out against these injustices to his fellow Arab Muslims .
. . sometimes on the street in public in Omdurman.
Harith Bin Farouk was warned several times, in front of Naima,
that "the evil eye" might be turned on him. One
night....murahleen arrived and executed Harith Bin Farouk and
his wife Jiddi in the back yard of their home. In the next 3
days, Naima was sent to her grandmother and uncles in Egypt by
her Aunt Kar..her mother's best friend. At the funeral for
Harith and Jiddi...Naima met her two younger brothers (the sons
of her father by an Ethiopian mistress that Naima and her mother
had known nothing about). The sons shunned Naima, jealous that
she had the luxury of the father's constant attention. Once in
Egypt, Naima's grandmother, Najet, decided that the girl was too
"darkskinned" to live a healthy assimilated life in
the father's Egyptian family. They had worked for a long time to
rid the family of "blood abeed". Naima was one day
called into the house from playing...placed in the arms of a
White British man...and taken away to London.
Naima was placed with an Ethiopian family in London.
Unfortunately, the White man did not understand African
cultures. He told the family about the girl's misfortunes.
Instead of feeling sorry for the child--they worried that Naima
might be a "witch" (jinn, etc.). First of all, the
child's mother had bore 6 stillborn boy-children in a row. Naima
came out and survived. Next, the child's own parents were killed
in a very unusual and mysterious circumstance. The Ethiopian
family then added to that...their annoyance at the girl's high
intelligence (they felt she had grown-up eyes) and her
"non-feminine" habit of talking all the time, asking
questions and asserting her opinion. They made arrangements to
get rid of the child. Naima was then placed, after about 10
months with the Ethiopians...with an African-American military
family in Washington, D.C. She left for America in November of
In the presence of Black American adoptive mother, Naima
realizes that she has been genitally circumcised. The American
woman, in horror, points this out to the child. Before then,
Naima had not noticed it.
Naima reads her first novel, Jaqueline Sussann's "Valley of
the Dolls". The novel is such an escapist page turner that
Naima reads it four times (Kola Boof continues to credit this
pop-escapism novel as the book that got her "addicted"
to reading). Finally one day, she is in a book store and comes
across a book that has a little black girl on the cover who, to
Naima, looks Sudani. She buys the book...it's "The Bluest
Eye" by Toni Morrison. To Naima, who is having terrible
troubles adjusting to an American culture that hates African
people (their looks, their hair, etc.)...she feels that
"Bluest Eye" is the first time since she's been in
America that someone has told her the truth. She seeks out any
and everything written by Toni Morrison...which leads her to
Alice Walker and Gayl Jones. She is also moved by Richard
Wright's "Black Boy" and reads that book 3 times. Then
she discovers African cinema at the art houses and becomes a
huge fan of Senegal's Ousmane Sembene (the man to whom Long
Train to the Redeeming Sin is dedicated to).
Reads Jean Toomer's CANE. Can't get through "Gone With the
Wind". Falls in love with the 1930 film "Freaks".
Begins actively tracking down old movies from the 1930s...which
leads to a passion for silent films. Notably 1920's
films..."Flesh and the Devil" with Greta Garbo is a
favorite along with a silent film called "Last Train to the
Redeeming Sin" (the title of which Kola uses for a poem).
Kola becomes inspired by the 1920's French silent filmmaker Abel
Gance. Becomes a big fan of Louise Brooks, Clara Bow and Betty
Boop. Reads Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man".
At 17 Naima loses her virginity to her first love--a Black
American Howard University student named "Truce" (he
is 21 but has been buttering up Naima since she was 14). Naima
feels that she is in love with Truce and believes everything he
says. Unfortunately, he gets another teen pregnant and dumps
Naima wins Miss Fire and Safety Pageant in Fairfax, Virginia.
However, when the pageant officials discover she is only 17 (she
had to be 18)...the crown is taken away. Naima becomes the
mistress of one of the Judges...a 43 year old White businessman.
He rents her an apartment and gets her a car, which she begins
Naima continues as a mistress. Writes a novel called "Come
and Get These Memories" (escapist trash-unsubmitted/lost).
Submitts poetry to magazines--gets rejected. Loses all
confidence as a writer and dreams of acting. Wants to be the new
"Bette Davis" and has a guilty pleasure for "Joan
Crawford". Admires Meryl Streep greatly. Has secret
romantic crush on rapper Tupak Shakur, which goes on for years.
Is in love with Black teen actor Lorenz Tate (another fantasy
Continues as mistress. Naima has an abortion (fearing her child
with a White man won't have "African hair"--which
Naima calls "the proof"). Writes a good novel,
"The Beauty That Hides Their Faces" (unsubmitted/now
lost). Writes a sci-fi movie script, "Nucleus" (unsubmitted/now
Continues as mistress.
Writes first versions of the stories that will later become
"The Lioness" and "Black America Diva Girl".
Writes a lot of poems (unsubmitted).
Continues as mistress.
Naima is deeply affected by Alice Walker's "In Search of
Our Mother's Gardens" and declares herself a "womanist".
Fails attempt to write a novel version of the short story
"Black America Diva Girl".
White lover dumps both Naima and his White wife to marry his
fantasy woman--a Naomi Campbell lookalike (he has always had
fetish for Naomi Campbell). Naima is now in big trouble.
Establishes platonic friendship with another White man--a
homosexual Jewish friend of her lover's who is a filmmaker. He
admires Naima's "tragic qualities" and thinks that she
can be a model and actress if she comes with him to Tel Aviv.
She declines the invitation at that time and goes instead to
Long Island New York to stay with a girlfriend. While in Long
Island, she meets a Black American ("Simon Brown")
studying marine biology. They begin dating and soon Naima moves
into his apartment.
Naima follows "Simon Brown" to Martha's Vineyard.
Woods Hole. Naima suffers with infibulations problems, requiring
hospitalization, as sexual intercourse is painful for her with
Simon . She writes a novel, "Touch Me In the Morning"
Begins writing her now best friend, radio talk show host and
columnist Alicia Banks. Gets dumped by "Simon Brown",
because of his troubles penetrating her, which has caused him to
cheat consistently throughout the relationship.
Naima contacts the homosexual Jewish filmmaker friend to borrow
money. He has a better idea--she should come to Tel Aviv with
him. She goes. Unfortunately, once there, he falls on hard times
he hadn't expected, including gaybashing towards himself and
racist reactions to Naima. Naima runs away and gets to Egypt.
Then to Sudan. Then to Kenya. Then back to Egypt. Then to Libya
and finally settles in Morocco. She has been appearing in low
budget Arabic B-movies, usually dancing nude in the films with
only two or three lines...she has also been a party girl at
Arabic government functions. These parties have allowed her to
mingle with most of the men who run North Africa--including
Mubarak, Khadafi, Bashir and especially, Hassan Turabi. She is
writing poems about the war in Sudan at this time and about the
"racial colorism" that has marked her life as a Black
woman who looks black in Arab countries--she feels her blackness
prevents her from rising above "party girl".
In Morocco, Naima is arrested for prostitution after knocking on
the hotel room door of a visiting French film producer. Naima
wants him to grant her an audition for his next French
film--which would be a huge step up from the Arabic B-pictures
she has appeared in. The Producer is not in the room.
Unfortunately, the hotel workers think that Naima must be a
prostitute. They tell Police, in front of her, that all young
and pretty Black women in Morocco are "prostitutes--because
no decent man would have them for wives". The Police arrest
Naima, putting her on record as a prostitute, but letting her go
the same afternoon.
Begins reading her poetry in tents and women's meetings around
Morrocco. Becomes very impassioned about the rights of
homosexual Morroccan women who are being violently abused. Is
writing short stories "Own Me Night", "Nile River
Bride" and "Arrogance". These are first versions
that will not be published.
Lonely for "real authentic love"....Naima writes
"Black Beauty's Totem"...her most favorite of all the
poems she's ever written. She envisions a beautiful African king
who will rise out of her misery and steal her away to a heaven
(in death) where they will love one another and be joined
together forever...as a God and Goddess. She envisions the
European, Arabic and Muslim cultures as the "locusts"
depicted in the poem. Her "purple folds" represents
Africa and the continuous re-birth of African people.
At a restaurant she meets Osama Bin Laden. He decides that he
wants to have her as one of his "pets". He has his men
bring her over to his table at the restaurant--he does not care
that Naima is with a date already. He can make her life hell in
Marrakech if she does not comply. He goes to visit her at her
hotel. He takes her against her will. He continues to visit her.
He goes back and forth to Sudan but he moves Naima to a suite at
the La Maison Arabe and comes whenever he likes for four months.
Naima is not allowed to go anywhere but to shop. Sometimes, he
beats her, because she is not easily penetrated by him and
doesn't want to have sex because of pain. When the police arrive
they only tell him to beat her "more quietly". After
four months of sexual experience with Bin Laden....Naima doesn't
see him for two months straight. He informs her by phone that
their fling is over. She is to move out of the suite--he wants
to install another girl.
Finally free, Naima sells some of the gifts he gave her and uses
the money to go to London. Before leaving for London, She meets
Ethiopian businessman Russom Damba. He becomes like a wise
grandfather to her. Naima tries to interest him in raising money
to finance her screenplay, but he cannot attain that kind of
money. Instead, he thinks that her writing is her real
"talent". He tries to encourage her to think about
writing a book.
Kola meets the love of her life on a weekend in London...a Black
man and immigrant to America who is already in America's Navy.
Naima become pregnant by him, but doesn't tell him. He leaves
her after a six month affair and returns to America . . .
thinking that they are broken up.
Before leaving Morocco for Spain, Naima gives poetry recitals
and angers Moroccan religious officials with a public speech in
which she denounces bigotry and oppression against homosexuals,
specifically lesbians in Morocco. She is ordered by Police to
leave the country. Her passport will not be honored any longer.
Russom Damba sets up a tiny printing press in Rabat, Morocco. He
publishes the book "Every Little Bit Hurts" (crediting
Naima as "KOLA BOOF"--the new name she wants). The
book is in Arabic initially and is quietly sold amongst Muslim
women and feminists in Morocco, Sudan, Egypt and Libya.
Eventually, word spreads to the Imams and other Islamic
officials. There is an outcry. A French woman who is interested
in the book gets permission from Russom to produce 150 copies of
a French version of the book which then establishes Kola Boof in
Russom prints the book in English and establishes a cult
following for Kola Boof in London.
Kola Boof gives birth to a son and goes to California to
introduce the Black immigrant father to the baby. He wants Kola
and the baby to stay in his house for a longer visit. He and
Kola renew their romance and he asks her to move in with the
baby permanently. Kola remains with him in California but
returns a few times throughout 1997 to North Africa and London.
She also gets to finally meet (in person) her best friend, talk
show host and columnist Alicia Banks.
Kola is back in Spain trying to secure financing for a remake of
"RAIN" to star herself as Niggy Farrow (her
re-envisioned Sadie Thompson), receives the phone call from
Osama Bin Laden, inwhich he complains bitterly about her
portrayal of Islam, Arabs and her flagrant betrayal of Sudan in
the poetry collection "Every Little Bit Hurts". Tells
Boof by telephone: "If I had the time to waste, I would
come and slit your throat myself."
As the year ends, her book of short stories..The Goddess
Flowers...is released in Morrocco, Sudan, Egypt, France, England
and South Africa. Russom Damba is further convinced that Kola
Boof has a special gift for writing...not acting. He tries to
get money to launch the book in America, but initially fails.
Kola Boof gives birth to a second son by her true love...the
Belizian-American. He has now started his own business and Kola
is to asked to return to California--permanently.
Kola very happily joins her Black immigrant lover and their two
sons in his house in California. Kola writes a script called
"Stoned Love" about a woman in Sudan stoned to death
by Muslims for having a love affair with the ghost of a dead man
who lives inside a tree. Her baby boys, however, now stop her
from jumping up and running to seek film financing. The people
around her insist that "writing" is her true
Kola Boof attempts to sell a novel "Love Is the Drug"
to Viking Publishing in New York. They tell her that she
definitely has talent, but reject the manuscript citing Boof as
a very "unconventional and bizzare writer". They call
her work "disturbing".
Boof, who loves cooking, then tries to convince both the E
Channel and The Food Network that she should have her own
cooking show. Both networks reject the idea. BET refuses to even
meet with her, but do watch a video that she submitts.
Kola Boof's short story collection, The Goddess Flower, is
published in the United States by Russom Damba's North African
Book Exchange--but he retitles the book "Long Train to the
Redeeming Sin: Stories About African Women". He feels that
the American Blacks will love Kola and begins enundating them
with letters and free preview copies. Kola's feelings are hurt
when Eso Won Books in Los Angeles reacts with laughter--taunting
and making fun of her nude image on the back of the book and
calling the title of the book "bizzare". Similar
snotty attitudes from the people at HueMan Experience in Denver
greet her...as well as rebukeful letters from several key
academics at Harvard University. However...Troy Johnson at the
African American Literary Book Club agrees to promote Kola's
book...because he feels that the public should be given the
chance to decide (for themselves) if they like Kola Boof or not.
Yi Nee Ling is hired by Russom Damba to create a publicity
campaign. Ling immediately insists that the internet is the
fastest, cheapest way to market Kola Boof. When the details of
Kola's life are told to Yi Nee Ling...the woman finds Kola's
life so overwhelming and larger than life...that she decides the
only way to market Boof is as "a mysterious figure".
"The African Garbo", as Ling told the N.Y. Times.
Kola debuts first...at www.aalbc.com....and on University
campuses. 5,000 free copies of her book are shipped to colleges,
newspapers and the Black media. There is hardly a response from
the media or the college academics.
BUT the Black book buying public chuckles at Kola's
boldness...they like her nerve and start to buy the book and say
nice things about her.
Students at UCLA and Harvard University begin a word of mouth
campaign for Kola Boof....and it seems that the author, not
necessarily her books, are now the main focus of whatever public
attention she receives. Whenever Boof tries to discuss her
books...the questions always stray from her writing...the people
want to know about KOLA. They sense a greater purpose than
merely the books, because ofcourse, the public is smart...and
Black people can sense she's trouble...but she's the kind of
trouble they can appreciate and respect.
Kola Boof becomes an internet phenomenon. Her books sell
briskly, but not very strong at first. She completes her
memoirs, "Diary of a Lost Girl". The book is
scheduled, initially, to be launched in the summer of 2002..then
it's pushed back to September of 2002...and finally pushed to
January of 2003. Then...it's cancelled altogether, as death
threats, growing publicity and the success of "Long
Train" take center stage.
Death threats plague the author starting in February of 2002 and
culminate in a shootout in August of 2002...followed by a
scathing article on Sept. 15th in London's largest daily Arabic
newspaper, Al-Sharq Al-aswat, inwhich Sudanese diplomat Gamal
Ibrahaim denounces Kola Boof. This, ofcourse, is unheard of--a
"female" having an entire article devoted to her in an
Arab Muslim newspaper. Not only that. But a female who lives in
America. That in itself was a very ominous sign.
Then on October 26h of 2002...Boof is informed by SPLA people in
London that the NIF is issuing "fatwa" on her. Boof
laughs it off--citing the fact that they are not qualified to
issue a fatwa. She says that a fatwa is a legal decision that
only a cleric can assign. But then Kola Boof speaks with Gamal
Ibrahaim and NIF leader Hussan Turabi (whom Kola knew briefly,
and intimately, in Sudan and Kenya). Both men tell Kola that a
"fatwa" has been issued on her life...they vow to see
it carried out and promise that she will die.
White Women With Voices, a group in California, begins to picket
against Kola Boof's work and causes a huge 6 month long
controversy in "Sister-2-Sister" magazine after UCLA
students (black girls) go crazy over the book that starts in
January of 2002.
"Long Train to the Redeeming Sin" then hits #2 at
aalbc.com in March of 2002. By December of 2002...the book is
declared the #1 bestseller for the entire YEAR at the African
American Literary Book Club. It has also seen big gains at
Amazon.com and has been a top seller at key bookstores like
SisterSpace in Washington, D.C.
A December feature article on Kola Boof in the New York Times is
the cause of the greatly increased sales. Unfortunately, the
article is also a vicious attack on Boof's credibility as
according to the Times Staff...Gerald Boyd of the New York Times
has expressed his feeling that Boof is unfairly prejudiced
against Arabs and Muslims and needed to be
"confronted". Boof acknowledges that she herself has
never spoken to Gerald Boyd, but has only been told of his
disparaging comments from Times staff.
Before that, Boof's appearances on major radio programs in
Washington, D.C. (both Joe Madison and Nkenge Toure) and in Los
Angeles (Carl Nelson at singer Stevie Wonder's KJLH) and in
Atlanta (Wannique Shabazz) and on USA Radio News Network
(Charlie Butts)...these appearances helped to give Kola Boof
name recognition nationwide.
A taped television appearance on The Fox Channel, however, is
shelved for mysterious reasons. Kola Boof gives them a one hour
interview in Los Angeles, but the New York bosses at the network
pull the plug. Rumor has it that the interview is being saved
until "the war with Iraq" gets going. Another rumor is
that Boof's winning defense of Amiri Baraka's poetry and the
anti-slavery group CSI had something to do with it. Another
rumor is that Kola Boof is just too wild for the
ultra-conservative bent of The Fox Channel.
Russom Damba (now 78) has decided to let Kola Boof go from her
contract at North African Book Exchange (the imprint that he
started, originally, just to publish her books). Damba cites the
August 2002 vandalizing of his printing press in Morocco and the
death threats that he and his family have been receiving as the
reasons that he dropped Kola Boof....in a larger reality....he
is releasing her to make it possible for much bigger, American
publishing companies to sign her and distribute her work to a
larger audience. He continues to be a close friend of hers and
he continues to provide her with PR services (such as this
chronology report). Unfortunately, however, Kola Boof's book
"Long Train to the Redeeming Sin" went out of print
while garnering the largest orders in its print run. The book
ended the year 2002 as the African American Literary Book Club's
#1 Bestseller for the...Entire Year!
Kola Boof continues to live in California with her two boys and
continues to utilize special security measures (such as not
mentioning that she has kids or giving their ages as
incorrect--or refusing to give the names of her African American
adoptive parents, or appearing on radio with the host announcing
her as being in "New York", when in reality, she may
be in the Studio right there Dallas) ...this is because she
lives under a myriad of death threats from many different
political and religious groups.
As a person from a terrorist Arabic nation....Kola Boof says
that she does not trust the American people or their methods of
revealing information. She says that by trying to protect the
lives of her children and herself...it only makes her appear to
be mysterious to Americans...who have never had to live under
recent photo of author Kola Boof (Credit: Arnofo)
* * *
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
update 17 May 2010