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One day, resting at home during a day off, Njéeme Pay, a renowned Senegalese journalist, hears on the radio about the wreck of the Joola, the ship plying the maritime line between Dakar and Ziguinchor. Bàmmeelu Kocc Barma is a retrospective on the event, a memorial to the victims of this national tragedy, a cautionary tale and a wake-up call to prevent similar disasters from ever happening again in the future.


Njéeme blends into her narrative personal memories of her friend the famed and widely celebrated writer Kinne Gaajo, whose works are the objects of much adulation in Africa and across the world, and who perished in the shipwreck. More than close friends, the two were almost soul-sisters, siblings born of the same parents. Hence the constant exhortations to the reader to consider Bàmmelu Kocc Barma as more than just a fictional account of her late friend’s life story, but also a work resuscitating Kinne Gaajo as a living history. 


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