In an article for Granta, Nadifa Mohamed, author of Black Mamba Boy, writes about her life in Britain after her family emigrated from Somalia when she was a young girl.
Mohamed reflects on her earliest memories of the country and pieces together the history of other Somalians that visited Britain before her, finding that “These ghostly, restless men left traces so slight that every generation that followed them felt as if they were the first”:
I set foot on British soil, or tarmac to be precise, on a frozen February day in 1986. Perched atop my sister’s hip at the top of the steps leading down from the Aeroflot plane, I took one sharp breath before a missed step left us both tumbling down to the icy surface. Bruised and offended I decided that this wasn’t the place for me. Months later, ensconced in a Victorian terrace in Tooting, my mind still perceived threats everywhere: in the creepy power lines that criss-crossed the street, in the curious gas-smell that emanated from the cold walls, but most of all in the cat that watched us interminably from the windowsill of the flat across the street.
- Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed
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