Friday, November 25, 2011
Kola Boof: I Screwed Osama bin Laden!
Kola Boof might not be as comely, adored or glorified as the young Nigerian literary sensation Chimamanda Adichie but the highly controversial Sudanese writer, poet and activist is a rebel with a course.
Or to use the words of one critic “the new black woman writer that many love to hate”.
Editors, critics, naysayers and admirers have used many adjectives in a bid to crack the Kola Boof enigma but none seem to get it right. Trying to explain her explosive personality within the confines of written words is like attempting to grasp the universe in a fist. From her controversial writings, political and religious views and carefree lifestyle, everything about this self declared “womanist” reads like a script straight from Hollywood.
Several publications claims that Kola Boof was so enigmatic that rumours started doing rounds that she was a hoax, which prompted her to grace several American television and radio talk shows to prove she is real.
Born Naima Bint Harith along the banks of the Blue Nile in Omdurman to an Egyptian Archeologist and an Oromo queen, Kola Boof witnessed the brutal murder of her parents at the tender age of seven. But instead of destroying her this horrendous childhood experience planted the seed of defiance and rebellion that gave birth to the controversial personality she is today.
“It started when my birth parents were murdered and I stayed outdoors all night with the bodies,” Kola explains to DN2 through an online interview from her home in the USA. “Years later in America, when I was around fourteen, my psychiatrist explained to me that staying with the bodies that night made me fearless. He said that it made me an emotional exhibitionist”.
She explains that her parents were killed for openly voicing their opposition to slavery and racial discriminations that are still rampant in some parts of Sudan. Although little Kola moved in with her Egyptian grandmother, the old lady decided the girl was too “dark-skinned” to be assimilated in a family that for so long has been fighting to get rid of “blood abeed” (black blood) in their heritage. For these reasons she was eventually placed for adoption where she was taken in by Marvin and Claudine Johnson, her foster parents who took her to America in 1979.
After her naturalization in 1993 the 40 something year-old mother of two returned to North Africa where she hopped across Libya, Egypt and Morrocco doing various jobs which included playing paid party girl in state functions and starring in low budget Arabic movies. During this time Kola was already putting her thoughts on paper having developed a passion for writing while growing up in America.
“As for developing a writing style I would say that I tried to copy the pacing of the old movies I loved as a kid. When I couldn’t speak English, I loved silent films circa 1914-1929, Abel Gance being my favourite director,” she explained during an interview with Kam Williams of aalbc.com, a website exclusively dedicated to African American Literature. “So, I fashioned a style out of that. The integrity and ethos of what I would write, however, came from the films of Ousmane Sembene and from reading Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath and Alice Walker”.
Kola Boof also explains that other “mothers” of black literature like Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange, Grace Jones, Diana Ross and Gloria Steinem have greatly shaped the path of her writing career. Hence it comes as no surprise that even though the fiery scribe has penned numerous books that have sold in more than 12 countries, her titles always stirs bittersweet emotional reactions from the reading public. In recognition of her achievements as an author amazon.com, a popular online book store, have a page exclusively dedicated to her.
According to wikipedia.com an online resource base, Kola’s vivid prose and poetry first rubbed authorities and mainstream society the wrong way in 1997 when she was expelled from Morocco for reciting verses from her anthology Nile River Woman, branded inflammatory and blasphemous.
Her autobiography Diary of a Lost Girl was delayed for several months after publishers turned down the manuscript because Kola couldn’t allow editors to sanitize it, all in a bid to bring out a “version of the book that is true to my character and vision as an artist”.
Years later, her acclaimed bestselling collection of short stories Long Train to the Redeeming Sin was forced out of print in 2003 after her publisher’s premises were firebombed by extremists in Morocco. Besides writing Kola Boof’s other talents cuts across the movie industry, cooking, public speaking, military espionage and politics.
The outspoken scribe says that her brand of feminism focuses less on ideologies and more on the daily struggles of black women whom she says are down-trodden, oppressed and silenced by racial supremacists and abandoned by the only partners who are supposed to stand up for them; black men.
“I embrace the ancient ritual of baring the breasts to show respect for the circle of life and to celebrate the eternal power of womankind and the African woman’s legacy. The true African creed, the true African religion,” Kola explained her animistic beliefs during the aalbc.com interview.
She regularly poses topless on the cover of her books and other forums which she justifies by arguing that culturally, African women bared breasts for thousands of years before colonization sexualized them. The culture of women walking around with bared breasts is still practiced in some rural African communities. Kola also takes world main religions head on, arguing that they are institutions devised by men to enslave and colonize women.
“We need to abolish the man-made religions…everything by men should be phased out. It’s time for us women to legislate the way in which we worship God and the way in which our children are taught about women,” she proposes.
To push home her controversial position on matters faith her new book, to be launched in New York in June this year, is entitled The Sexy Part of The Bible. Set in modern West Africa, Europe and the United States the novel features a diabolical young African hellcat called Eternity who miraculously survives several rebellions to unmask a powerful secret. Written with the signature Kola Boof musicality and erotic undertones, reviewers of this yet-to-be released book claims that its “guaranteed to stay on your mind long after you’ve put it down”.
“The Sexy Part of the Bible is a racist name that white explorers in the 1600s called West African women,” she explains. “The missionaries taught their sons to see the white woman as “the virtue” of the bible and to consider the black woman as “the sex” in the bible”.
This apparently skewed opinion on religious matters has landed this firebrand “womanist” in trouble more than once. Besides numerous death threats from extremists around the world, her website www.kolaboof.com writes that on April 9th, 2003 an investigative UN human rights report released in Switzerland identified her as one of the several Sudanese personalities tried in absentia by a court in Khartoum and sentenced to death (fatwa) by beheading. But Kola Boof is no stranger to life on the run. She claims to have been a high-ranking SPLM espionage officer travelling the world soliciting funds for the former rebel movement.
“In 2004, I went to Israel and gave a speech that resulted in guns and ammunition being given to the South Sudanese rebels,” she says. “I have never received full credit from the SPLA, because the men are very sexists and feel I am acting out of place….but for the funeral of our leader John Garang, they had me write the poem Chol Apieth to eulogize him, and that was their way of acknowledging my contributions”.
However, SPLM representatives in Nairobi claim that there are no records to prove that Kola Boof ever worked for the movement as she says.
“I have been in the movement since the beginning and I have never heard of such a name,” explains Jeff Okot, Coordinator of Information and Media Campaigns countdown to Southern Sudan independence. “ I have even tried to consult with our contacts both in Sudan and abroad but all of them says they have never come across or heard of a Naima bint Harith or Kola Boof”.
Mr. Okot goes on to say that many Africans living abroad have evoked the name of the SPLM in the past to gain asylum and other favours and “this could be one of the cases”.
But in her response to questions posed to her by DN2 via email Miss Boof reiterates that his work with the movement in Juba and Rumbek is well documented.
“I wrote a very detailed account of my work for the SPLA,” she insists. “I am very hurt by the men of SPLM and very hurt that they would trash all I have done for the cause of South Sudan, despite the fact that I am Northern Sudanese”.
The controversial author’s popularity is confirmed by the fact that some of her books like Diary of A Lost Girl and Long Train to the Redeeming Sin are very popular at the Amazon.com.
While being grateful for the people of Southern Sudan for overwhelmingly voting for secession, Kola says she is very disappointed with renegade General Arthor Deng Dut whose rebellion in the state of Jonglei since April last year have claimed thousands of lives.
“I am terribly disappointed in the actions of General Athor, who was at one time my commander,” she says. “This is not the time for men’s egos and tribalism but a time for unity and supreme intelligence”.
During her days as a party girl-cum-spy in North Africa the outspoken writer claims to have met and mingled with the high and mighty of the Maghreb which included Muammar Gadaffi, deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and former powerful Sudanese spiritual leader-turned opposition activist Hassan al-Turabi. Depending on the importance of the information she was seeking, Kola admits in her biography, sometimes she used her feminine assets to open up the hearts of men.
However, all the events and incidences in Kola Boof’s wild career seem to have been eclipsed by her alleged intimate escapades with the late Osama bin Laden, one of America’s most wanted terror suspects, in 1996. These allegations, though dismissed by many as a publicity stunt, not only landed the outspoken scribe in the American list of world’s most wanted terrorists but also made her the American media’s most preferred punching bag.
“I originally denied being involved with the Osama until when the London Guardian threatened to out me. I was terrified to be branded “Hitler’s Girlfriend”. But once the United States became aware of it and placed me on a suspected terrorist list I really didn’t have any choice but to admit to it and to tell my side of what happened”.
In the Diary of a Lost Girl Kola Boof claims that although they became lovers by chance bin Laden housed her in a mansion in Morocco against her will for six months where he regularly visited and took her for fishing and hunting excursions.
“He is a gifted poet, he was very soft spoken and sensitive but also very violent…he beat me, and he was tyrannical towards his men and embarrassed about sex…but addicted to it,” Kola Boof told an interviewer. “Because I’m black and wasn’t of his faith, he considered me a ‘non-woman’”.
Many of Americans including the so-called “terror experts” rubbished her damning revelations, dismissing her as an attention seeker. Brushing off these accusations by saying such kind of ignorance is the reason why America took so long to apprehend bin Laden, Kola Boof regrets the day this issue spilled out.
“I never wanted anyone to know about me and him. I wanted that to be a secret that I carried to my grave, and since I wasn’t the one who revealed it it’s definitely something that I wish was in the closet. It’s destroyed my career,” she admitted later.
This issue multiplied the number of death threats coming her way many folds with an attempt being made on her life in 2002. Although she lives somewhere in the United States, Kola no longer reveals her whereabouts or identity for security reasons.
“My sons and I move around a lot but we are happy and we have a good comfortable life,” she says. “Our home is like a fortress and we are all armed. Both my sons are younger than 12, but they are expert gunmen. I had to teach them this way”.
But despite being pushed into a perpetual life on the run this phenomenal woman remains defiant and un-cowed.
“You have done quite enough evil…and you can kill me, one skinny little woman, but you will never kill the truth. I will not shut up!” Kola Boof screams at her would be assassins.