Never Ask Me About My Family
'Never Ask Me About My Family' is the story of a mother and daughter trying to find stability amidst the maelstrom of their times. The story begins in the 1970s in post-colonial West Africa. Salimatou, a poverty-stricken woman, lives in social milieux dominated by traditional attitudes and values. Against a background of escalating familial conflict, hardship and despair, she embarks on an affair with Sekouba, a young and handsome government official. It is an affair that finally forces her to take control of her life. Pitting her wits against relatives and Sekouba's powerful family, who ostracise her, condemn her liberal ways, Salimatou's strong instinct for survival leads her to become, in turn, the lover of a wealthy man, and then a successful business woman.In a struggle to make sense of her existence - Aida, the illegitimate child of Salimatou and Sekouba - creates a separate universe with her spirit companions. But when reality comes knocking, her childhood fantasies start to give way. Her relations with her now money-driven mother, polygamous father and numerous relatives leave her emotionally famished. Aida longs to escape and discover a new way of life. The chance comes when, finally risen to power and influence, Salimatou announces her intention to send her to London. Her sojourn there will lift the veil of ignorance from Aida's mind and, in time, challenge her view of the world.As with Salimatou, Aida must eventually find the strenghts and maturity that will enable her to overcome the troubles that threaten to engulf her. She will be faced with similar problems to those that earlier beset her mother.But life still has much in store for Aida, and when tragedy strikes, she knows that as a survivor, she must be the one to decide her own destiny.
Fatoumata Koulibaly is a Guinean author and activist.