Biography of Kola Boof
On April 9th, 2003 an investigative Human Rights report was ratified on the floor of the UNITED NATIONS (*read report) confirming that a fatwa had been placed on the life of Osama Bin Laden's former mistress, Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist/poet Naima Bint Harith (KOLA BOOF). Thus began America's awareness of the Womanist-Activist writer CNNdubbed the most controversial woman in the world...KOLA BOOF. Acclaimed for writing such novels as "The Sexy Part of the Bible," "Flesh and the Devil" and "Long Train to the Redeeming Sin"....Kola Boof struck gold in 2006 when her autobiography"Diary of a Lost Girl" was chosen Best Book of the Year by Princeton critic Kam Williams.Kola Boof also won (from of all places Sweden) the Kavinna til Kavinna Prize in Literature for best non-fiction essay for her writing in Sweden's top feminist magazine, OTTAR.
Boof was famously attacked by journalist Peter Bergen in 2006, but comments he made about the veracity of her autobiography were quickly proven incorrect (SEE STORY). In America, Boof has been labeled a "Jew Lover" and targeted by her own BIRTHERS movement--people who deny she exists and so despise her political views that they finance "smear campaigns" and invent lies and rumors about the author.
U.S. Journalist Steve Milner told Pacifica Radio that he had been offered money to make up lies about Kola Boof. The author suffers continuous smear campaigns and is the subject of Internet troll websites that distort Ms. Boof's history and image.
SAYS KOLA BOOF:
When I first accepted that I was an artist of some kind, I promised myself that I would never hide my insecurities...that it would become a part of my work...and because I had spent most of my childhood and early teen years in psychiatric care, it was very important to me that my work possess a multi-dimensional otherworldliness, similar to what had fascinated me as a teen about silent films of the 1920's, about Sylvia Plath's poems, Curtis Mayfield records and Toni Morrison novels.
As I've stated in my autobiography...I believe that my work and that my art, at its core, is a constant struggle for "sincerity". In my mind, "sincerity" is what makes a hit record, a classic novel or a poem live forever, and as a writer and public figure, I endeavored to write about very painful realities--things that have been killing me inside all my life--but I wanted to imbue them with a beauty and with a separate voice. I wanted them to live on their own, independent of me, held up by their own truth. But, of course, as one of those children that the world does not revolve around, I also wanted them serve me. My agenda. At last, I want to be served!
In many ways, I've accomplished that. "Pure Nigger Evil" (not yet published in USA), "Long Train to the Redeeming Sin", "Nile River Woman", "Flesh and the Devil", "The Sexy Part of the Bible" and "Diary of a Lost Girl" and the upcoming "She Wiped It On the Wall" are more than just stories, fables and poems. They are political statements and brisk testimonies; wrenching prayers--and I thank you--those who have acknowledged my actual work and not been so cynical of a person from a different culture and a different mindset. It is a blessing to my life that I am able to be heard and to have this...coloring book.
Though I have no formal education whatsoever, my books are studied now in universities and famous people (sometimes literary people that I admired as a teen) contact me to say how moved they were by my writing or how impressed they are with my skill. Truly this is wonderful. But just as well...there is the ugly side.
The constant publicity of my past with Osama Bin Laden, publicity that was initiated by the British press, and my struggle to create a womanist identity rooted in my Nilotic heritage and black acculturation causes me to be routinely misunderstood and widely smeared and slandered by the American media. What has been a sincere attempt on my part to invent and control my own public image is continuously used against me--to make me appear a crazy and flamboyant figure. I agree with the Nigerian poet Tolulope Ogunlesi when he says that my career reminds him very much of the beginnings of Zora Neale Hurston's...and this is further exemplified by editors at the major American publishing houses demanding---"You're such a brilliant writer...why can't you be more like Z.Z. Packer? Why can't you be more like Zadie Smith?"
But I am Kola Boof. I began as a model and actress. I never went to college as those women did. I was very politically involved with the Sudanese People's Liberation Army and I spent more time on my back (lost to myself) sleeping with men to "to try and be found" than I ever spent in any writer's colonies or writer's workshops. I lived a highly remarkable child and teenhood, one so emphatically traumatic that most people would claim it's "unbelievable". And yet...it's the truth. It's my truth and it's what makes me special and sets me apart from all others.
I call myself "The living woman"...because that's my prayer for my art, my beliefs and my convictions...my love for my people. I want to have unlimited success. I want to be heard and I want to be large enough to instigate and bring about change...real CHANGE...in the lives of black women and girls. No more being called "strong black women", I want to advance my own mantra..."the living woman"...those of us whose loyalty is to our wombs and who endeavor to live our lives for our own paradise and not the ends of all who betrayed us.
I want to set the seeds for the restoration of Africa and to humanize and affirm blackness--by itself, not mixed--but BLACK as in all black put together. I want to see a revolution of authentic blackness born in those who are truly black in color, because for the people with black skin and African hair...the more things have changed, the more they've stayed the same.
My life is about the beautiful babies I had--my two sons. It's about creating art and social discourse that will leave for them the inheritance of a better world. And it's also about my White Arab Egyptian father's dream for the African people. That we would be liberated and loosed in our minds, in our spirits and in our fantasies--none of which can ever happen without respecting and honoring the root of our tree, the womb of our race--the authentic black woman. For as it is said by Africans..."a nation cannot rise above its woman"...then perhaps our kind has been lowered as we have lowered and not redeemed and acknowledged our own motherseed.
If we can appreciate and worhsip the authentic White woman…as this American society insists that we do…then why not appreciate and uphold the authentic Black woman, the African? Or as my Egyptian father called my Blue Black mother…"the goddess flower".
Surely that day is coming and I will be a part of bringing it.
Tima usrah ("through fire comes the family")