As a very young girl she was raised by her grandmother who lived in a small village in the countryside of Guinea. Her mother mostly stayed with her father who worked as a government official in an area of the capital city Conackry. Her mother was the fourth wife of her husband, but she was a bit the odd woman out, coming from the rural areas.  

At an early age her grandmother took Diaryatou into the bush to be circumcised, as was the habit in this islamic family. When her grandmother dies, she is sent for a short while to a brother of her grandmother, but in the end she is invited by her father to stay with him.

When she has reached the age of ten years she is allowed to go to school, by 12 years she is already promised to an older man in marriage. When her father gets sacked from government service the family is heading for poverty.

Then, one  day, a well-dressed man turns up at the family-home. He lives in The Netherlands. He wants to marry Diaryatou, but as he already married four wives, he divorces one, in order to enter a next marriage.

She will travel to The Netherlands with false documents, her elder brother will go as well. Later on she finds out that her father is aiming for his eldest son, who will get the chance for a good education and a good life. Diaryatou is thrown in as a barganing chip. 

Arriving in The Netherlands she and a ‘relative’ of her husband make up stories to get political asylum. To the authorities she admits her real age (15 years). She runs away from the center for asylum seekers and stays with her husband in Rotterdam and in this way a long strech of humiliation and abuse is under way. Her husband works in a small apartment as a marabout. People from far and near come to his place for advice. 

Will she be able to handle her life or will she sink into the pit that her husband is digging for her? I will not reveal the present outcome of her abused life. And what did happen to her eldest brother? 

Diaryatou Bah – On m’a volé mon enfance – Paris 2006 

Published by


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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.