n Journal of Somali Studies : Research on Somalia and the Greater Horn of African Countries - Suturing Somali wounds

Volume 3, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN : 2056-5674
  • E-ISSN: 2056-5682


I first heard of Abdi Latif Ega's debut novel from Mahmood Mamdani, when, at the conclusion of an event where I was the discussant of Professor Mamdani's new book , he asked me out of the blue: "Have you read Gubaan?" Unsure of what he was saying, I replied, What? "Gubaan," he said, with a stress on the consonant "b" followed by a long "a" vowel. Sensing my perplexity, he wrote it down on a piece of paper: Guban. Oh, I said. What is it about? "It's a novel by Abdi Latif Ega. Have you read it?" He repeated the question. No, I said, to which Mamdani simply retorted: "Shame on you." From the tone of his retort, I knew he had given me an assignment, a challenge. "I'll read it," I said, without even asking who Ega was or what the novel was about.

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