Badriya Albadri

Foumbi is set in Congo under Belgian colonial rule between the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.  According to African legend, the white man is a “foumbi”, a spirit or ghost, fleeing from the grasp of Satan after stealing the ghost’s colour. He is an ugly creature who has been beautified to make him tolerable to look at. In the novel, playing out as if in a court of law, we see characters who are either implicated in or witness to events which took place in that period. They try to justify the atrocities they committed, and to reconcile these acts with their conscience; compared with others who are untainted by these crimes. The novel is unflinching in its portrayal of death and suffering caused by the extraction of rubber to African slaves, yet it is equally about the powerful human longing for freedom and dignity.  


Dar Al Saqi


2024 Longlist