My Life Has A Price–Tina Okpara’s memoir of modern day slavery

From Kadija George

Read A Child’s Life for €375

Tina Okpara’s memoir, MY LIFE HAS A PRICE takes us on her 5-year journey to hell; from a loving yet poor childhood in Nigeria to the ordeal of modern day slavery in wealthy, suburban Paris. She was only 13 when celebrity footballer, Godwin Okpara and his wife Linda, lured her father into giving her up for a supposedly better life in Europe.

In 2001, Simon Omaku agreed to his eldest daughter being legally adopted so that she could live with her friend, a daughter of the Okpara’s, as her sister. In exchange, the Okpara’s gave him money to buy a motorcycle €375 (£297), unknowingly selling his daughter into a life of slavery.

Tina endured sexual, physical and mental abuse from her new adoptive parents until she turned 18; old enough and smart enough to escape and no longer be considered a child who would be returned to her adoptive family as a runaway. She grasped freedom when she saw her chance to take control of her own life.

This horrendous, yet true story of imprisonment, torture and abuse really goes beyond belief. It’s so shocking yet deeply moving at the same time, that you are compelled to read it, just to try and grasp some reasoning of how and why anyone would connive and plan to degrade and destroy a child for absolutely no reason.

Like the reed that braves strong winds, Tina’s story shows how a remarkable young woman had the strength of mind to hold on to the belief that she could one day expect better things from life.

Her memoir starts as a tragedy. At the end, we see in it the celebration of the life that can be hard for vulnerable women and children whose capture so often goes undetected as they remain ‘invisible’.

Tina says: “Emotionally, I am rebuilding myself slowly but not completely. Today, I am a person full of life, joy and love to share. I definitely want to have children in the near future but in good conditions to prevent them from an uncertain future and particularly prevent their having a childhood like mine.”

A true life story of hope, compassion and survival, published by Amalion, Senegal.

Tina Okpara will be in the UK to launch MY LIFE HAS A PRICE on Saturday 27 October, 2.15-3.15pm at the The African Book Fair, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA. T:0207 324 2570. http://www.slamcentral.org/abf/

For Press, Publicity and Bookings, contact (SABLE Creative Enterprise) Ziallo Gogui < info@sablelitmag.org > M:07857 936 552 or Fahmida Khan <info@sablelitmag.org> M:07575 018 151.

Share

, , , , , ,

9 Responses to My Life Has A Price–Tina Okpara’s memoir of modern day slavery

  1. TJH September 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Great to see Amalion publishers, an independent West African venture, both continuing their efforts and taking on this young lady’s story. I hope this book is widely read and reviewed. It’s one thing to talk about “human trafficking”; it’s another entirely to listen — to listen to the story of someone who has been a victim, but who refuses to let that define her.

    • Barya September 24, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      Yes, very well said, TJH.

  2. Emmanuel Monychol October 3, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    Too shocking to be true~~

    • TJH October 12, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      Oh, I’ve seen things both in the USA and the UAE that are likewise too shocking to be true, but still are. But you’re right that memiors have been sensationalized too often, and if it seems to support a good cause, people tend to go easy on the scruntity. And this backfires once found out. So some degree of skepticism is always handy. One problem here is context. The issues of labor exploitation, human trafficking, and even child prosititution are not specifically, uniquely, or even predominantly African. This book out of context might allow others, however, to easily dismiss the problems in their societies and just see this as someone else’s mess to deal with. There is a danger here both with complancency and how this for some people may seem to reinforce stereotypes. Why, for one, I was not a huge fan of Kony2012. It was highly celebrated for generating a lot of media attention. How nice. As if just by watching a YouTube video you were making a difference. Now tell me exactly what has changed on the ground. My heros are the people who actually do things.

      • Barya October 12, 2012 at 1:26 am #

        I agree. True heroes are men, women and children who get their hands dirty doing things. To generate debate is one thing. To do is another.

  3. Makur Panyon February 15, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    i am impressed by the preamble of this book. i need it from South Sudan. i will be ready to pay for if your able to post it up to my end.

    • Barya February 15, 2013 at 9:38 am #

      This is published by Amalion in Dakar so approach them directly: My Life Has a Price’ by Tina Okpara (Amalion Publishing: Dakar, October 2012, ISBN 978-2-35926-016-8, 192 pages, Price: £13.95)
      Amalion Publishing
      133 Cité Assemblée
      Ouakam
      BP 5637 Dakar-Fann,
      0004 Dakar,
      Sénégal
      Tel/Fax (221) 33860 19 04
      Email: orders@amalion.sn

  4. Barya September 29, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Thank you!
    I think each writer has such challenges but what happens is that each finds a style that works for the individual within the challenge. If you spend 10-15 mins figuring out what to write and then finally do write, with all clarity, i would say the goal is achieved. Few writers open their computers or books and start writing right away. Others may begin in the first five minutes but somewhere in the middle start to figure out what it is they’re writing, which is equivalent to your 10-15 mins. So the big picture is to ask yourself: Are you able to write eventually? And you’ll find that the process of centering and clearing your thoughts first is in fact an advantage. All the best.

  5. Goretti Kyomuhendo September 30, 2013 at 3:38 am #

    I just want to add my thoughts to this discussion: writing does not only mean putting pen to paper (or to computer). Writing is a process, so if you spend 10-15 minutes figuring out what to write (on paper or computer), then you are writing; in your head, which is perfectly fine. The time you spend on researching info for your story, reading other books for inspiration, thinking about writing, plotting, meditating, etc, should all be considered as ‘writing’. In the end, it all leads up to the actual writing.

Leave a Reply