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How African Migrants Risk Everything in their Futile Search for a Better Life in Europe
From Frying Pan to Fire brings to bear a subject that has become the scourge of our time., well deserved attention and a sense of urgency
Segun Adeniyi’s latest book is no shrinking violet. It announces itself from the first glance, leaving the browser in no doubt as to what it is about.
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With an ever increasing number of young Africans diving into the unknown each year, in search of a better life abroad, Segun Adeniyi’s From Frying Pan to Fire could not have come at a better time.
Through their often heart rendering tales of woe, Adeniyi weaves a powerful and compelling narrative , made all the more intense by the poignant, personal account of one of these dream seekers, the author’s own younger brother.
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The cover is headed by a quotation from Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Ado, in which the hope of the irregular migrant is bluntly referred to as ‘forlorn’. This idea – of futility – is not, thereafter, left to the imagination.
It is re-enforced by the pictures on the cover – of a skull half-buried in the sand; of several black men sitting helplessly on a capsized boat; of two young women, one in a black hood with head bowed in anguish, while the other stands with raised chin, as if in defiance, but for the tears we can clearly see streaking down her face.
And in her vacant stare into the distance is a sadness that speaks volumes. ‘How African Migrants risk everything in their futile search for a better life in Europe.’ Even if this were not the explicit sub-text to the book’s title, it would still be very clear – just from the cover design – what this book is about.
And if by any chance it is not, then any confusions still lingering in the mind of a curious browser as to the purpose of this book, must surely be laid to rest by the book’s very title. ‘From Frying Pan To Fire’.
This is, of course, a popular proverb which, in spite of its apparent origins in ancient Greek literature, has been so thoroughly domesticated by the Nigerian tongue that I can confidently claim it as a Naija proverb.
For it is one we use regularly to warn those thoughtlessly trying to escape a current predicament of the danger of running thereby into the clutches of a much greater one. And this is precisely what the book sets out to do, to show how the ‘frying pan’ the illegal migrant so bravely hurls himself or herself out of is often child’s play compared to the ‘fire’ they face on that arduous path to what they imagine must be a better life simply because it is to be had in a foreign country.
Book Review By Dikeogu Chukwumerije
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