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Half-castes and a colonial past

Congo Blues

Jonathan Robijn

Morgan is a jazz pianist from Brussels, with Congolese roots. He has banished the images of his childhood in the tropics from his memories… Until an out-of-the-blue encounter changes his life, that is. On returning from a gig one morning, he finds a young white woman slumped against the garden wall. He offers her shelter to prevent her from freezing to death. However, it soon becomes clear that her mysterious and unpredictable behaviour is awakening chilling memories within him. What started as an apparently coincidental encounter ends in a quest of extraordinary proportions.

Crippled melancholy, colonial wounds. Powerful voice.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

God created black and white, the devil created half-castes: those are the words with which Belgian Prime Minister Joseph Pholien would later describe the relationship between white men and black women in the Belgian Congo. It was during his time with Doctors Without Borders that Robijn first heard about an institution in the south of Rwanda where, 50 years before, children with a Belgian father and a Congolese mother had spent their childhoods. In the months leading up to the independence of the Congo, these mixed-race children were evacuated to Belgium by plane. Most of them never saw their biological parents, brothers and sisters ever again. Just like Morgan.

Robijn is a masterful conjurer of tone and mood ****1/2
De Morgen
A wonderful, subtle book
Süddeutsche Zeitung