Elsewhere and Here: Revisiting the Colonial Encounter from the Perspective of the Global South in The Gurugu Pledge

by Roger Bromley

This article presents an analysis of the novel The Gurugu Pledge (2017) by the Equatorial Guinea writer Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, based upon theories developed around the coloniality of power by a range of Latin American thinkers. It is argued that the novel is a counter-narrative of displacement in Africa, primarily imagined from the perspective of refugees, and an illustration of the ways in which racialisation is one of the primary legacies of colonialism. The narrative which is the focus of this article is symbolised in one particular location. Mount Gourougou (Gurugu) in Morocco is 2 kilometres and 500 years from the Spanish autonomous enclave of Melilla, the EU’s southernmost border, although it is on the African continent. Mount Gourogou is the place where hundreds of West African migrants/refugees live in squalor while waiting for an opportunity to enter Europe by scaling the fence which borders Melilla. The fence epitomises the narrative divide between privilege and abjection, the West and its ‘others’.