The Motorcycle: Isabelle Baafi

Photo credit: Christopher Burns

The summer I turned nine, my father surprised us all by announcing that he would be taking motorcycle lessons the following week. At the time, my brother and I were slurping spaghetti from our dinner plates, and my mother was spooning sweetcorn from the pot in her hands. When no one spoke for several seconds, he added that it was something he had always wanted to do; in fact, it was a hobby that he’d dabbled into briefly in his younger years. But his words were perfunctory, hollow; his speech directed at no one in particular. He spoke as though it was a chore he had to get over with before easing back into a less strenuous matter.

“It won’t be long,” he mumbled, “just a couple of days.”

Eventually my mother returned the pot to the kitchen and sat down next to me, forking her spaghetti as though her voice were buried in it.

“You know I’m doing late shifts all next week?” she said finally, into her food.

“That should be fine. The lessons are in the morning.”

My father’s announcement was not a shock because it was sudden, but because it was totally at odds with his character. All my life, I had known him to be a man of sober intellect and thoughtfulness. He worked as a toxicologist at the same hospital as my mother, and brought the same scrutiny and precision to his daily life that I imagined he did to his work. He was the kind of man who would check the weather every time before he left the house, who weighed his eggs to calculate the perfect boiling time. He had an air of gravity and vague hauteur that followed him constantly like a scent, whether he was arranging his journals by the editor’s alma mater, or measuring his forehead each morning, convinced that his hairline had receded by a millimetre each week. He had volumes on quantum mechanics and microbiology, betraying his fixation on life’s minutiae. He taught himself Mandarin and Arabic, to add to his Russian, Dutch and Afrikaans. He typed MS-DOS faster than I could type my name. His knowledge was – at times – annoyingly encyclopaedic; ranging from physics to history to philosophy to music. He brooded for days over the briefest news segments, and called the local radio station whenever they misdated a sonata. Every few months, he hung articles on agrarian reform to the fridge, telling my brother and I to “mull it over” when we had a moment. And at any given moment he would launch into one sermon or another, lecturing us about the fads we followed, the films we quoted, or our ignorance of geopolitics. Even my mother was not immune: the day she bought an antique jewellery box with an ivory carving on the front, he rambled on about wildlife conservation for twenty minutes.

And so, to me at least, his announcement seemed like some sort of joke. I would’ve been no more surprised had he announced that he were going to be a rock star.

“Do you really think this is the right time for this?” my mother asked.

He exhaled heavily. “Yes.”

“Look, I know you were hoping for that research grant, but—”

“This has nothing to do with that.”

“Oh, it doesn’t?”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“So this just came out of the blue?”

“No. I told you, I did it years ago.”

“And with everything we’re dealing with right now, you think risking your neck is the way to go?”

“I’m not risking my neck. It’s just a bit of fun. Harmless,” he shrugged.

“Hardly harmless.”

“Well, I’m not going to just jump on a bike and ride into traffic.”

“The way you’re reasoning right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.”

Whenever I heard them talk I would imagine a string tied from his chest to hers. Depending on the sharpness or the warmth in their voices, that string would shorten – becoming taut and tenuous, stretching almost to breaking point – or it would lengthen generously; so slack it skimmed the floor like a skipping rope. I had seen it skim the floor once, but not between my own parents. The year before, I was playing at a friend’s house. We spent the afternoon dancing to the Spice Girls, mouthing the parts of our favourite members and arranging moves for each verse. After a while her mother joined in, and when my friend’s father came home and saw his wife wiggle, twist and do the silly pose at the end, he said hubba hubba and leaned in to kiss her. My friend made loud retching noises and complained about how gross and embarrassing they were. I didn’t know how to tell her how lucky she was.

“For goodness’ sake, it’s just a hobby,” my father said.

“Baking is hobby. Or Carpentry. Darts. Golf. Why don’t you—”

“So now you want me to golf?

“I would rather you golf than get yourself killed.”

“Wow…”

“Look, my only issue was that you spent more on golf clubs than we do on utilities.”

“You mean I spent more time there than I did here.”

“I don’t care where or how you spend your time. Just be responsible and don’t drag us into your… excursions.”

“No one is dragging you into anything.”

“So these lessons are free?”

“These lessons are none of your concern.”

“They are if they affect us.”

“It’s just three days. Maybe even two, if I do well.”

“I don’t get it. You have a million hobbies. Computers, Mandarin, chess… Isn’t that enough?”

In our family, such clashes were a habitational hazard. My parents moved through the house in canon, in a sort of elaborate dance that feigned ignorance of the other’s presence; avoiding each other as though simply not speaking would reveal a wound they were not yet ready to treat. Often, my mother left for work before my father had woken up, and in return my father came home late at night. Over the years, my father had turned the living room into his own sort of den, and my mother had mastered the art of evading it. In the evenings he would smoke on the balcony, which ran parallel to my parents’ bedroom, but was accessible from the living room. The bedroom and balcony were separated by a double glazed window that spanned the entire width the room, such that if the curtains were drawn, the interior and exterior were visible but inaccessible to one another. The result was that even when they couldn’t see inside or out, they could always sense the other person, and all the things that went unsaid. The day would stretch on aimlessly, and only when the last documentary had ended or the last cigarette had been extinguished; only when she was asleep or pretended to be; only then would he go in and lay down next to her.

When I was very young, on nights when I had nightmares or couldn’t get to sleep, I would go into their room and sleep between them, staring up at the white ceiling with its checked pattern like a picnic blanket, and I would imagine us picnicking together; laughing, smiling, until I fell asleep. Years later, when we discovered that the ceiling had asbestos, I thought back to those nights, and wondered briefly if that was why the air had seemed so heavy and dry as I lay between them; that maybe it was those millions of tiny fibres, sharp, deadly, undetected, that had slowly killed what they had, and made it hard for them to breathe so close to one another. For a while, I entertained such illusions. But that was a brief and childish moment.

Due to their general circumvention and occasional conflicts, my home was a commune of interwoven tribes: my mother, both dutiful and sour, a martyr that enamoured and unsettled me; my brother, whose sole preoccupation at twelve years old was becoming a football star; my father, avoiding dispute by collecting indisputable truths; and me: a raw nerve, hiding in books and under facts that answered none of my many questions.

After dinner I sat next to my father, directing my gaze at the TV rather than him.

“Why do you want to ride a motorbike?” I asked.

“Oh, I just… well, it looks like fun, doesn’t it?” he grinned.

“Yeah, but… isn’t it dangerous?”

“Only if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

When I didn’t respond he looked at me.

“Listen, my girl, I’m not going to get hurt, all right? I promise.”

“OK.”

“I just…” he shrugged tensely. “I don’t know, I just need a change, that’s all. Something different.”

I tried to understand. Different, like switching from cow milk to soy because it made your tummy hurt. Or getting rid of your mattress protector, because you no longer wet the bed. It was understandable. But he had said nothing when my mother asked him if his life were enough, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

The year before, he had spent an afternoon teaching my brother and I to play chess. Whereas my brother lost interest quite quickly, finding more pleasure on a football field than a twelve by twelve inch board, I took to it readily, and over the next few weeks I would practice on the computer after school, in preparation of our games together. At first, he let me win. But after a while, probably sensing my indignation, he stopped. The first time I actually won, I saw the astonishment and hint of pride spread across his face. And for the longest time that was what I thought love looked like.

After his announcement, when my mother had asked if computers and chess – our chess – were enough, he had said nothing, but I had looked at him then. His face was shaded and hard, his eyes forming the No that his mouth would not. It was clear to me; just as I had learned to read the chess moves in his brow before he made them; just as I could see it in his jaw when he wanted to be alone; just as I had recalled his look of love and searched for it every day, never mistaking it for interest or enthusiasm, the poor imitations that surfaced regularly. In that moment it was clear that, even though to me he was greater than any thought I could comprehend or contain, like a universe expanding beyond reach, to him our world was limited, and he had weighed it and measured it, and considered it so small that even a gentle No would break it to pieces.

II

On the day of his first lesson my father rose early, getting ready as my mother slept and my brother played video games in our room. When I heard him move around the kitchen I slipped away and joined him.

“Can I come?” I asked, as he sipped his coffee.

“Mm, I don’t think so,” he said, turning away to pour the rest in the sink.

I had assumed he would say yes. And so when he didn’t, I knew that the lessons meant more to him than I’d thought.

A few hours later, I noticed my brother putting on his shin guards and reaching for his cricket bat. Although football was his favourite sport, he also had a penchant for basketball, running, rugby and cricket. Today was cricket’s turn, which meant he would play with his friend Sunny at the park near his house. Sunny was a gangly, smiley Indian boy with silky black hair that was always perfectly gathered at the apex of his head and fastened under a pristine white rumāl. The basis of his friendship with my brother rested on two things: the sweets in his parent’s corner shop, which we were always allowed to sample, and cricket. I knew that the park where they would be playing was next to my school, and, based on something I’d heard the night before, that my father’s instructors would be using my school as their training ground. And so after much cajoling, I convinced my brother to let me tag along, and together we walked the half a mile to the park.

When we arrived, the park was warm and surprisingly quiet. It was flat, wide and starkly rectangular, bordered by chestnut trees on every side and dissected by a path than ran through the middle, separating one side of featureless grass from a sprawling playground opposite. A few toddlers scurried back and forth across the playground, their parents watching calmly from the edges, and several dog walkers strolled around the edge of the park.

As the boys set up the wickets for their game, I remembered the last time I had been there. I was six years old, and my mother and brother had brought me there to teach me to ride a bike. That day, we had stayed for hours, my mum holding the seat and handlebars, me pedalling furiously. But for some reason I would crash to the ground every time, as soon as she let go. At one point a man offered to help us. He appeared as if from nowhere, with skin the colour of dates, tiny dreadlocks, and a ready smile that emerged from his short, thick beard. He seemed to need no invitation, and as far as I could tell, there was no real need for his help. But my mother welcomed it, nonetheless. In fact, I noticed how she smiled when he readjusted the seat, and offered to hold the other side of the bike. It was the same smile that my school friends wore whenever one of the boys tried to kiss them. The three of them did their best, but I continued to tumble time after time, and eventually the man had to leave, and my mother decided that we should give up too, and try again another time. But as we reached the road in front of our flat I asked for one last try. And to everyone’s amazement, I rode as though I had been doing it for years. My mother looked on, stunned, halfway between impatience and delight, and when I stopped, my brother cheered that I’d done a “ninety-degree turn”.

We never figured out why I couldn’t do it at the park. I had been eager, for sure. But maybe I had been trying too hard, and could only do it when it ceased to matter so much. Or maybe I had been shy in the presence of a strange man, or unable to get the look he gave my mother out of my mind. Maybe part of me didn’t want to find stability in a stranger’s arms. Maybe I had felt that it would’ve been a betrayal to my dad somehow, and I was afraid of what it would mean. Or maybe the path was just too bumpy.

After a while, I wandered out of the park and down an alleyway that led to my school’s rear entrance. The school was eerily quiet; a sharp contrast to the normal bustle during the week. Even the classrooms looked different from the outside: the tissue paper fish on the windows looked dull and devoid of all their magic, and the same rooms in which I’d mastered my times tables and sung about Henry VIII were now cloaked in shadow, waiting to be brought back to life by the presence of children. But a loud buzz from the front of the main building told me that the grounds were not entirely empty.

I made my way around and saw traffic cones scattered across the playground, arranged in two lines to create a winding track. A handful of bikers buzzed back and forth, and soon enough one of them rounded a bend that brought him past me. His arms were held high with his elbows sticking out, giving him a stiff and awkward grip on the handlebars, and his back was arched, creating a slight paunch in the torso of his leather jacket. As I watched, I realised that I recognised his long limbs and downturned eyes, just visible from behind the visor of his helmet. It was my dad.

What did he like about it? He looked odd, but I tried to be open-minded. Maybe it was like the time I went on a rollercoaster at Disneyland. A strange, thrusting feeling in your gut, that for a moment made you feel like you could bubble over outside your own body and fly. Was that “the something different” he wanted? Was riding a bike like flying free for him? Or did he feel like I had, the day I’d learned to ride my bike? It wasn’t just the accomplishment that had made me beam. It was knowing that I had reached a new phase; as though the bike marked the transition between “small” and “big”, “before” and “after”, “babyish” and “grown”. Was that the joy I saw across his face? Were his lessons the juncture between a road he was out-pedalling and one that lay ahead?

For a while, when I was little, my father would take me to school on his bicycle. At the time I was too big for a child seat, so he would place me on the top tube between the handlebars and the seat, and we would ride like that, me side-saddle, legs raised slightly so that my socks didn’t catch in the wheel, hands holding on for dear life, head tucked into his chest. Suddenly, the absence of that act – as I’d outgrown his bicycle, too – was palpable. It was as though I could see him blazing down a path I couldn’t follow; one too broad and bright for any of us.

My father continued to weave through the traffic cones, rounding a corner and starting another lap. The nearest cones to me were about twenty feet away, and when it appeared no one was looking I approached and slid them furtively towards me, so that rather than curve the path continued in a straight line, diverting from the rest of the course. When my father approached, he didn’t notice me or the break in the path. He followed the diversion I had set up for several seconds, before swerving towards the edge of the playground, pausing carefully, and bearing back to re-join the course.

After a few more twists and turns, he veered to a stop at the other end of the course before getting off and talking excitedly to a small group of people. One of the men was slender and tall, with creamy skin, chestnut hair and a wind-beaten leather jacket. As I approached, I realised that I had seen him before. His son, Liam, was in my class. He was a loud, boisterous boy; the kind who would do cartwheels through our dance arrangements and sing too loudly in music class. The kind who smashed through papier-mâché masks and painted over faces on the Year 4 mural. The kind of boy who ruined things without even realising it.

Next to Liam’s father was a woman holding a clipboard and a stopwatch. I also recognised her, as she had come to pick up Liam a few times. The rest of the group I didn’t know, but I was struck by the fact that my father seemed to stick out, somehow. The closer I got, the more obvious the reason became: he was at least ten years older than everyone else. And as they talked I noticed him copying their mannerisms: leaning on one leg with the other pointed outwards, slinging his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans, saying things like “whatever” and “jacked”, laughing uproariously, and of course, smoking.

“You did well, even with that hiccup at the fifth corner,” I heard Liam’s dad say.

“I don’t know what happened,” my father laughed, sucking on his cigarette. “It’s like they just got up and moved.”

“Well, you’ll nail it tomorrow, I’m sure.”

“I can’t wait.”

I suddenly felt the urge to shout. I wanted to yell that he wasn’t fooling anyone. That his Volvo was older than Liam’s dad’s girlfriend. That he had looked ridiculous on the motorbike.

After another minute or so my father noticed me.

“Oh, hey you,” he smiled nervously, “what’re you doing here?”

I didn’t respond. I couldn’t get the image of him on the motorcycle out of my head.

At the end of the lesson we collected my brother from the park, and then the three of us drove home. I did my best to quell the uneasiness in my stomach, telling myself that perhaps the situation were not so bad. He had seemed happy with the others, like an altered version of his old self. And so maybe the lessons would be the resurrection of something that had slowly and imperceptibly died. Maybe now that he had done it, things would go back to the way they were.

III

Three weeks later, my mother gave us money to buy a present for my father, whose birthday was in two days. As usual, we had no idea what to get him. Over the years, we had bought him cufflinks, ties, socks and mugs in the dozens. Eventually, given his latest proclivity, we decided on a pair of leather gloves. On the morning of his birthday, we spent an hour wrapping them; between my brother flinging them back and forth, dancing around the room like Michael Jackson, and me fussing over the wrapping, which was never tidy enough, it was amazing that it didn’t take longer.

When my father came home that evening, my brother and I were waiting on the living room sofa, holding his present with one hand each. But before we could even open our mouths, he announced – between a sidestep and a ringmaster’s wave – that his license had finally arrived, and he had wasted no time in buying a motorcycle.

“Cool!” my brother exclaimed, before asking to go on it.

“Why not,” my dad replied.

“No way,” my mother said, simultaneously.

My mother was by the door. Her usual spot.

“How much did it cost?” she asked, tone crisp, eyes pointed.

“Don’t worry about that,” he said, sliding off his jacket.

“I can’t believe you actually bought a motorbike. What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking that I took the course and I passed. I’m not going to just sit here and let it go to waste.”

“Why do you always do things like this at the wrong time?”

“Why is it that all the things I want are wrong?”

“They’re not, but we have priorities.”

“And somehow, my goals are always in the way.”

“D’you think you’re the only one who’s made sacrifices?”

“You haven’t made the sacrifices I have.”

I bristled at that. Through chess, my father had taught me the importance of sacrifice. Victory comes at a cost, he would say, whenever I took one of his pawns, or even a bishop he had forsaken. But now, he spoke as though sacrifice were the hallmark of defeat.

“Then you’re only seeing what you want to,” my mother said.

“Why do you judge everything I do?”

“I don’t. You’re just so stuck in the past you can’t face reality.”

“What reality?”

“The one that comes every month, including today.”

“Well happy birthday to me…” he chuckled, before doing an awkward half-bow.

“And you rode home on that thing in this state?”

“Relax, woman, I rode it to Sihle’s house and left it there. Then we had a few drinks and he dropped me off.”

“You need to return it.”

He scoffed. “What would I have then?”

The moments crept by, unashamed of the hurt they left behind.

“Whatever this thing is that you’re going through, you need to get over it and quick.”

We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go…

I resisted the urge to say “through it!” But somehow, he must have known what I he was thinking, because he turned to me.

“And how about you, missy? D’you want to go for a ride on Daddy’s motorbike?”

“She’s too sensible to go on that thing.”

In truth, I was curious and wouldn’t have been scared to go on it. But I was as surprised as my mother. True, it made sense that he would ride a motorcycle after learning how. But three weeks had gone by with no mention of it. I had thought the matter dead, the road closed; never to be peered down or thought about again.

Not long after that, we were sent to our room. And yet, despite the distance, the voices were noticeably louder, the slamming of doors pierced the air, and the clinking of a pint glass, though delicate and light, spoke volumes. Without being told we began to get ready for bed, because it was already getting late and because the day seemed to have little promise left. It was on nights like this that we learned to be quiet and inconspicuous. We folded our clothes, put away our games, changed into our pyjamas and brushed our teeth. We had learned long ago to prepare ourselves for bed, and we did it with matter-of-fact precision, with no noise nor distraction nor self-pitying fuss, because that’s what instinct had taught us to do. We knew that we should disregard their disregard, be attentive unto ourselves, and make up for their roughness with behaviour so smooth it was seamless; so unnoticeable it could go unnoticed.

As daylight surrendered, my brother would share his Pokémon cards and entertain me with his Jim Carrey impression. On the top bunk I would lie in bed until the voices down the narrow hall rescinded into silence; a void that was adamant and consuming. I would stretch my leg and reach toward the ceiling with my toes, and occasionally wait for someone to come and knock and enter and explain. Explain what, I didn’t know. But no one ever came.

IV

The following afternoon, whilst my mother was at work and my brother played outside, my dad asked me again to go on his motorcycle. I wasn’t supposed to, I knew that. And I agreed with my mother, in that he was clearly acting strange and slowing drawing away from us, one manoeuvre at a time. But part of me wished that she hadn’t been so hard on him. Part of me hoped that if he just got whatever it was out of his system, things could go back to the way they were. He could ride me to school again, play games with me again, teach me all the things I longed to know. And part of me hoped that if I rode with him, it would let him know that we weren’t all against him. So I agreed.

The seat was so wide my pelvis ached, and the helmet so padded inside that it was oppressively snug, even on me. When my father started the engine, I felt embarrassed by its loud, insistent stutter. We had often seen but even more frequently heard other local youths on mopeds, revving for Britain and doing wheelies up and down the road that wrapped around our estate. Suddenly, we had become those same thrill-seekers, oblivious or at least indifferent to our asinine behaviour.

As we rode through the streets near our house, and zoomed around corners and roundabouts, I finally understood what all the fuss was about. The helmet was so heavy I could hardly move my face. The visor was tinted and scratched in several places, creating a brownish, vintage view. And the engine and the wind boomed in my eardrums, such that when my father called over his shoulder, I had no idea what he said to me. But something about it was undeniably electric. It was more than feeling weightless or free, more than flashing past houses and roads and traffic-jammed cars, always outpacing the old, overtaking the new, and advancing ever-onward. It was the feeling that this moment was the only one that mattered, and that anything was possible. This moment. And he had chosen to spend it with me.

After a while we turned off the major road and stopped in a small parking space next to a row of shops, in an area I’d never been to before. As he pulled the helmet off my head and helped me down I began to tell him how amazing it was. That I understood why he liked it so much and that I couldn’t wait to do it again. But although he smiled and squeezed my hand I could tell that his attention was elsewhere.

We walked a few doors down, to a restaurant with the words “Sizani’s Bar & Grill” across the front. The interior was a dimly lit, with semi-circular booths covered in mahogany leather, and an array of spears and animal hides on the walls above them. Near the entrance, a cast-iron statue of a woman seemed to usher us in. Her body was captured in some sort of dance move, with her legs wrapped around each other, her torso arched and taut across the abdomen, her chest and hips barely covered by beads, her arms flung in the air, gesturing towards the bar.

I wanted to ask why we were there, but before I could a woman greeted us loudly from behind the bar. Or rather, she greeted my father. She called him by name – not the name by which I knew him, the name his wife or colleagues used; she called him by his African name, the name I’d never heard anyone use, the name I saw on his post every day but could not understand and could never pronounce and was frankly a little embarrassed by. She sang it as though it were a song of praise.

As we approached, I couldn’t help but notice that she looked just like the statue. She had large, wide-set eyes, full lips drawn back into a broad smile, and arms that were somehow never still. When she leaned over the bar to embrace my father, the scent of musk and sandalwood warmed my nose.

“You wicked man, you don’t visit me,” she said, her eyes laughing but her voice chastising and deep.

“Ah, I’m sorry, udade,” he sighed contentedly, taking a seat and gesturing for me to do the same. “You know how time flies.”

The two of them continued to chat, mostly in their language, occasionally in spats of broken English, whenever they wanted to laugh. At one point, he introduced me. After fawning over me for several seconds she asked if I had been to South Africa. When I told her that I hadn’t she recommenced to chastise my father for not “taking me home.” According to her, it was the only way I would “know where I really came from.”

Through their smatterings of conversation I learned that they had grown up together. I heard about the township they had played in as children. The protests they had walked through, side by side. The prison cell they’d been forced into one night. Their joy when Mandela was elected. The scholarships and business grants they had followed around the world: opportunities they had lunged at full-force, and fallen through, and discovered to be ultimately hollow.

At first, I told myself that I didn’t like Sizani, because of the knowing way she laughed and the teasing tone with which she said my father’s name. But when he confessed that neither Russia, nor Ireland, nor Boston, nor London, nor any of the other places he had lived in, would ever be home like his homeland, I forgot all about the woman. I was too surprised. My father had done something that no one in our family – at least not to my knowledge – had ever done. He had expressed how he really felt.

Eventually, we went home. The route was the same, but this time I couldn’t enjoy the journey. I was too busy thinking about the look on my father’s face when he said “home”. In our home, I’d never seen him look like that.

When we arrived, it was late. My brother was in bed, but as I entered he propped himself up on one elbow.

“How was it?” he asked excitedly.

All my enthusiasm from before seemed to have drained away. I was no longer stuck in a moment of clarity. The moment had passed, and it was now gone forever.

“It was OK,” I said. “Kinda loud.”

From the living room two doors down, the sound of strained voices began to rise. How could you take her on that thing? Get off my case, I know what I’m doing. That hasn’t been true in years. Do you know the things I’ve done for this family? What do you mean? The only person you care about is yourself.

I shouldn’t have gone, I thought, as I lay in bed, willing sleep to draw me in. For some reason, my mind turned to the nature shows that my father and I often watched on Sunday nights. Week after week, I would marvel at the creatures and the mountains and the grassy plains, my father reciting the Zulu names of each animal, telling me about the time an older creature wandered too far and entered his neighbourhood. We would watch each predator leap at the prey in sight, and for a few moments the outcome seemed inevitable, but it never really was. One could never be sure if the lioness would catch her meal, or be out-dodged and outrun by the prey determined to live. Whenever the antelope or zebra got away, I would try to be happy for him – but I would often be annoyed at the lioness, who had been too slow, too blind to spot the signs, too naïve to consider the animal’s capacity to escape. The predator had been stupid, I would tell myself. She had so focused on her hunger for him that she had underestimated his hunger for freedom.

A few minutes later, I heard the front door slam. After that, nothing, except the sound of my brother’s steady breathing. In the silence, I wondered if my father was going back to the restaurant. Or if he would simply ride and ride, and decide to never come back.

 


Isabelle Baafi (@IsabelleBaafi ) is a British writer and filmmaker, of Jamaican and South African descent. Her work has been featured in Litro and Riggwelter Press. Common themes in her work include politics, faith, migration, multiculturalism and womanhood. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature and Film from the University of Kent, and is currently working on her first novel

Related country: South Africa

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