Unprecedented Love

‘You asked me to chronicle your grandmother’s life and describe the environment I grew up in.’ With these words, the Liberian-Dutch writer Vamba Sherif opens this tender account to his ten-year-old daughter.

Original title
Ongekende liefde
Vamba Sherif

He goes on to describe his happy childhood, growing up in Liberia, in an extensive, female-dominated family of prominent intellectuals and scientists. But when young Vamba breaks unwritten laws, nosing around family documents not intended for his eyes, the verdict is harsh: banishment. He moves to Kuwait, flees to Syria during the Gulf War and eventually ends up in the Netherlands. While the civil war in his native country hits his family hard – he will never see his mother again – Vamba has to fight to survive in Dutch society.

This beautifully written book is the final chapter in that battle: he hopes his daughter will become aware of her African roots, that her father’s life story will become part of her identity. And he gives her life lessons: ‘Be brave. Nothing can destroy your humanity. Only if you allow them will negative experiences get a hold of you.’

A wonderful book about how this Liberian-Dutch writer ended up in the Netherlands and met the future mother of his child.

Vamba Sherif
Vamba Sherif (b. 1973) was born in Liberia and grew up partly in Kuwait. He fled that country during the First Gulf War and came to the Netherlands in 1993.
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