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Born under the shadow of French colonial rule in Upper Volta, West Africa, the author was taken from his tribe and virtually imprisoned by a Jesuit priest in a seminary. He lived there for 15 years, abused and intimidated into forgetting his tribal past and accepting the white man's god and religion. At 19, he ran away and walked hundreds of miles back to his own people, the Dagara, where he received a mixed welcome. He could not remember enough of his native language to speak to his own parents, and many feared he had been contaminated by the white world. His only hope for reconnecting with his people was to risk death by undergoing the traditional Dagara tribal initiation ritual. This month-long ordeal in the wilderness with the magical forces of the supernatural forms the core of the story.
Malidoma Some was born in Burkina Faso in 1956. At the age of four, he was forcefully taken from his family to be educated at a French Jesuit boarding school. At the age of twenty, he escaped from the school and was reunited with his family. He now lectures on his experiences.