Henriette Akofa relates her lifestory. This story starts in a small village in the West African country Togo. Here she is raised as the youngest of 6 children. Her father works as a police-inspector. This polygamous family is well-to-do. The family shuttles between the village in the countryside and the city Lomé.

When she is about 15 years old Henriette is brought to France to stay with a relative, named Simone. She lives in Paris with a bended head. The place she stays in is smaller than the house she was used to in Lomé. Another girl lives in the same appartment, she walks from one African embassy to another to sell clothes for Simone. After a short while Simone also has to do this work, her first place to visit is the Kenyan embassy in Paris. Simone lives her reign of terror, not just for the girls but also for her French husband. 

Henriette is given to another family with three children. Here she has to do all the work in the house.She manages to run away, but in the end a brother to her father brings her back to the family. People try to help Henriette but the lady of the house spins lies and stories to keep Henriette within the four walls. 

Finally one of the people in the appartment building manages to gain the trust of Henriette and helps her to escape. When she gets help she discovers that she is not the only girl who has experiences like hers. 

A tale of modern slavery. Parents send their children off to a European country in the hope of a better life. But often these children are worse of. The last family that kept her is brought before the court. By that time Henriette is about twenty years young. What a sadness in the anonimity of the big city, of this strange city, of the brutal city. This is modern slavery and it still goes on. 

It is clear Henriette had a better life in Lomé than in Paris. 

Henriette Akofa – Une esclave moderne – 2000

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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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