I’m B(l)ack!

Hey guys!

It’s been a while since I last posted something, and unfortunately that’s going to happen a lot more. Since april I’m doing my internship at Radio 2, in Belgium. And I like it so much, I can do whatever I love to do, but it takes a lot of energy too. So because of this I don’t really have time to write some new stuff for the blog. BUT that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot of things to talk about, because I didn’t stop reading. Although it took me a while sometimes to get through a book.

So the book I’m going to talk about today, is a dutch one, with an English title. It’s called Black, and is written by a ‘famous’ dutch autor Dirk Bracke. Well that’s to say: he’s famous in my country, haha!


So the story is set in the capital of Belgium, Brussels. Where there are a lot of youth gangs. For years and years there are a lot of gangs in the capital, and the rivalry is great between them. So these gangs consist of black people ofcourse (that’s why the book is called Black), and Dirk Bracke decided to investigate all of these gangs and started writing about them, and what kind of awfull things they do to each oher. Although you really get thrown into the book, the story is very understandable. It’s actually a book for young teenagers, that’s given a lot in school for assignments. But now I read it at the age of twenty-one, and it shocked the living hell out of me. I never expected it to be this cruel, because I thought it was for younger kids.

The story is about Marie-Evelyn who gets in touch with her cousin, who’s in a gang. She doesn’t know this yet, but in a way she gets into this gang. All gangmembers get a special nickname, hers is Mavela from then on, and we never hear of Marie-Evelyn again, except when she’s with her parents, who hate the idea of their daughter getting into a gang. I can imagine how you can’t see why she got into this gang. But if you know the culture a bit in Brussels, you’d understand. Black people often think they don’t get the same chances a white people do. And that’s also true. There’s a lot of racism going on in this country (and  in the world in general). Althought there are a lot of problems, our society tries to integrate black people, still there are a lot of people who are strongly xenophobic and racist. Mavela’s father, for exemple, studied and got a degree, but works as a cabdriver now. Mavela is strongly opposed to this and out of rebelliousness, she joins the Black Panthers, one of the gangs. Because of this book I do get why they exist, they need a place they can run to, where they can be themselves, where no black person is left out. But I don’t get why there’s so much violence between them. That’s just unnecessary.

So by now, I think you get the point of my preach, haha! Besides that, the point of this book gets more and more clear when Mavela meets Marwan, a boy from another gang. They fall deeply in love, well as deep as you can get at the age of 15. Starting from then, the troubles await them, I think that’s clear!

Even though you don’t live in Belgium or Brussels, I think this is a great book to discover the reason why gangs exist in the world. To learn about racism and how defeated black people feel at times. But I have to warn you, it’s not all about learning things, it’s also a book that ways very heavily. It’s not only about getting along and learning about cultures, but it also treats subjects as rape, fights and drugs. So you’re warned.

I read this book because there’s also a film that’s been released a couple of years ago now. I wanted to read the book before I went to see the movie, but even though I read the book, I still didn’t watch te movie. I really don’t want to see the harsh scenes, because I’m very sensitive in captivating these images. Reading it in a book is one thing, but to actually see it with your own eyes, it’s very difficult for me.

Do you live in a non-english country? Which books aren’t translated, and you’d like to be translated in English. Or which one do you recommend to the world, even though they don’t speak the language?




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