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Toufah  By  cover art

Toufah

By: Toufah Jallow,Kim Pittaway - contributor
Narrated by: Toufah Jallow
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Publisher's Summary

*One of The Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2021 (Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly)*

"This powerful story shouldn’t be missed." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

An incandescent and inspiring memoir of resilience from a courageous young woman whose powerful advocacy brings to mind the presence, resolve, and moral authority of Amanda Gorman and Greta Thunberg

Before launching an unprecedented protest movement, Toufah Jallow was just a 19-year-old dreaming of a scholarship.

Encouraged by her mother to pursue her own ambitions, Toufah entered a presidential competition purportedly designed to identify the country's smart young women and support their educational and career goals. Toufah won.

Yahya Jammeh, the dictator who had ruled The Gambia all of Toufah's life, styled himself as a pious yet progressive protector of women. At first he behaved in a fatherly fashion toward Toufah, but then proposed marriage, and she turned him down. On a pretext, his female cousin then lured Toufah to the palace, where he drugged and raped her.

Toufah could not tell anyone. There was literally no word for rape in her native language. If she told her parents, they would take action, and incur Jammeh's wrath. Wearing a niqab to hide her identity, she gave Jammeh’s security operatives the slip and fled to Senegal. Her eventual route to safety in Canada is full of close calls and intrigue.

18 months after Jammeh was deposed, Toufah Jallow became the first woman in The Gambia to make a public accusation of rape against him, sparking marches of support and a social media outpouring of shared stories among West African women under #IAmToufah.

Each brave and bold decision she made set Toufah on the path to reclaim the personal growth and education that Jammeh had tried to steal from her, a future also of leadership and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence, especially in heavily patriarchal countries lacking resources and laws to protect women and even the language with which to speak openly about sexual threats and violence.

©2021 Toufah Jallow and Kim Pittaway (P)2021 Truth to Power

Critic Reviews

One of Bustle's Most Anticipated Books for October.

"Riveting . . . . harrowing and propulsive." --The New York Times Book Review

"With subject matter like this, you’d expect the book to be worthy, important, but hard-going. You’d be two-thirds right. The same qualities that prompted Toufah to break the barriers she did have allowed her to leaven the tale with humour, and a lot more of the good she encountered along the way than the bad that set her on her path." --The Toronto Star

“My (s)heroes do not wear capes. My (s)heroes call out injustices in the world with enough grace and forgiveness to heal anyone that hears their story. Toufah is that graceful shero the world desperately needs. Toufah is the graceful shero the world is better for.” --Celina Caesar-Chavannes, author of Can You Hear Me Now? 

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Powerful story. Applaud the author.

There are no books that provide a present day look at daily life in The Gambia. And even more surprising … no stories on Jammeh,, his rule and the election upset that enabled the world’s newest democracy.

Toufah’s story sheds light on all that snd more.

Not meaning to downplay the real purpose of the book … sharing Toufah’s horrific experience in hopes of empowering other African women.

Just shedding light that there’s so much more here. Give it a listen. Then tell others.

And keep a watchful eye on The Gambia. Great people. Great music and culture. Safe and friendly. Toufah is a case in point. Not easy to get to from the US, but we’ll worth the extra effort.

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A must read for all women

thanks for sharing your story and bringing violence against women out in The Gambia. It is our culture to hide things under the carpet and I am proud of you for speaking out #I am Toufah