The first time I saw Yasmine was in a garden at a house in Tanzania. The house was owned by a Dutch tv-icon. At his house he received Dutch writers. One of those writers was Yasmine (1967) from Somalia, who left her country after her father had been killed.

Idil is the protagonist of this book. A young girl gets the opportunity to get an education, but her quiet life is rudely shocked on the day she is circumcised.

The relations in the household are complicated. She has a good relationship with Mimay who lives with the family. Father is often absent, but he wants everything to obey his every word. One day a man comes to live in the shed on the compound. He gives Qoranic lessons to Idil. But this religious teacher also wants sexual favours from Idil. later on, another man comes to take his place and in the end she is forced to marry this man. Just before the marriage will take place, the family moves to the big town, due to the work of father.

One of the new neighbours is a man from Belgium. The first contacts with this man suddenly appear in the story. In the end Idil marries the man who lived at their compound, but she keeps in touch with the Belgian neighbour. Idil’s husband notices this relationship and one day he kills the Belgian man. This cannot prevent Idil from being pregnant from this man.  And in this way this books moves towards a tragic end.

I thought it to be remarkable the sudden appearance of nuns at the end of the book. The Somalian family has an aversion towards the kaffirs, those who do not follow Allah. These nuns show love, compassion and care, but even they in the end are not able to avert the power and might of the husband and the father. 

Yasmine Allas – Idil, een meisje – 2001


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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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