The protagonist of An Eternity in Tangiers is a teenager named Gawa, who leaves his native city, the imaginary West African capital of Gnasville, hoping to find a better life in Europe, where he hopes to escape the turmoil of his home country. Following a journey fraught with dangers and betrayals, Gawa is stranded in the Moroccan city of Tangiers, just in sight of his final goal, where he begins to tell his story, one now familiar to hundreds of thousands. Ivorian illustrator Faustin Titi and Cameroonian journalist Eyoum Nganguè tell this contemporary story from an African perspective, offering an intimate account of one of the great sociopolitical tragedies of our time.
Eyoum Nganguè is a Cameroonian journalist and anthropologist who now lives in exile in Paris. One of his country’s leading investigative journalists during the 1990s, Nganguè was jailed for exposing political corruption and was subsequently granted exile in France in 1998. He is one of the co-founders of the Journalistes Africains en Exile association. He currently works as the culture editor for the French magazine Pèlerin.
Faustin Titi is an Ivorian artist who graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts of Abengourou. He has contributed to several Ivorian magazines and newspapers. He was awarded the Africa e Mediterraneo Prize for his graphic project, ‘The Cop of Gnasville’, which dealt with the theme of corruption. He lives in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
André Naffis-Sahely’s first collection of poetry is The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin, 2017). His translations from French and Italian include works by Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, Alessandro Spina, Rashid Boudjedra and Tahar Ben Jelloun. His book Beyond The Barbed Wire: Selected Poems of Abdellatif Laâbi (Carcanet Press, 2016) received a ‘Writers in Translation’ award from English PEN.
An Eternity in Tangiers
Eyoum Nganguè, Faustin Titi (Ill.)
Translated from the French by André Naffis-Sahely
2017, Phoneme Media
“This book is an exemplary illustration of the complex reasons why young Africans leave their countries, the strong motivation they need to survive the threat of violence encountered on the path to the imaginary Eldorado, and the deep wounds that journey can cause, when failure is not the only result.” —Alpha Blondy
“For the first time the [Venice] Biennale also included comics. The North African artists Eyoum Nganguè and Faustin Titi created original drawings for a comic book about displacement, depicting a young African boy’s failed crossing from Tangiers to Europe in search of a brighter future.” —The New York Times
“Titi and Nganguè address with wit confrontational and provocative aspects of everyday life in Africa, often softening through the watery evanescence of ink wash the potential blow of their imagery in otherwise highly detailed drawings. An Eternity to Tangiers positions itself within the tradition of the band dessinée subverting it from within. It gives voice and dignity to an overlooked narrative, the tragic experience of displacement lived by African people who flee their home countries to escape economic, political, or social ordeals. Fanciful and realist at once, it tells the story of a young African boy, Gawa, who leaves home, the imaginary Gnasville, seeking a better future, a journey of hope and disillusionment marked by the failed crossing from Tangiers to Europe. Speaking of Africa from the African point of view, this work counterpoints the exoticized images and the stereotyping gaze of much of the band dessinée exemplified by Hergé’s Tintin in the Congo.” —”Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind. Art in the Present Tense,” Catalogue La Biennale di Venezia 52. International Art Exhibition, Marsilio 2007