Essay Review of Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed

In this novel, the vividly explains the journey of her own father in Africa in his search of his father after losing his mother who was his only emotional support. The author Nadifa explains that her father set out to northern Africa from the port city of Yemen during his childhood in the lookout for his unknown father. The author herself has undergone drift in her family life as her family was forced to move from Somalia to London due to the war affliction. This story is about the love and affection among father and sons and their depiction of duty towards each other. In the 1930s the author’s father driven by poverty and hunger and deserted by his father set out to search him on a journey towards Northern Africa.

In this story, the sufferings and struggling of the African people during the colonial rule of Europeans are explained. Mohamed’s father in search of his father set out to Djibouti, and war-affected Eritrea and then Sudan, Egypt, Palestine and then to Europe.Jama in his search for father cross through a 1000 mile journey with the help of camel, boat, foot, and train. The author here shows the pathological drive of her father to search for his father through all the difficulties and struggles faced in the war looming African countries. He encounters many crises and also takes the help of different clan connections and the grace of strangers through his endless journey. Jama’s travel can be related to the plight of today’s Somali immigrants who had faced violence, hunger, imprisonment, and diseases.

Jama in his travel meets up with Sudanese women and falls in love with her but yet found it difficult to end the travel. The author through her novel is cherishing and celebrating the spirit of fatherhood. She initiated to readers the undying spirit and survival skill of her father which led him to end up in London where he finds a secure future. The novel entails the love of a daughter to a father and search and obsession of her father for his father. The author raises the concern whether a man just have an obligation of donating a sperm or an active role to play in the upbringing of his child. The writer Nadifa has combined fact and fiction in her novel to make the story more appealing and touching to the readers.

There is also a presentation of elaborate historical details and Somalian language phrases to give a regional experience to the Somali readers. The author has told about the event and happening of the journey of Jama so vividly that readers have little to doubt about the African life style. She has delicately explained the relationship of her father with his kinsmen and family .In the story Jama finds job as a deck hand in a ship and as a waiter to sustain himself. The major theme in this novel is the suffering experienced by an orphan child in the midst of a war trodden African land. Jama in the end of the story finds out that his father has been killed and does everything in a merchant ship in order to survive and ultimately ends up in London.