Ashburn, Virginia – The coverage of a book launch is never the exclusivity of one news organization, especially when it comes to an icon whose works have been widely recognized. However, The African Magazine was privileged to have acclaimed actress, director, and writer Anni Domingo to write an exclusive article about her just-released debut novel, Breaking the Maafa Chain, an epic journey of loss, survival, and hope. The novel, which has won the Myriad Editions First Novel competition and was featured in the New Daughters of Africa anthology edited by Margaret Busby, is based on the true story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, an abolitionist and Queen Victoria’s goddaughter.

Breaking the Maafa Chain, the African Holocaust, takes the reader back to December 1846, when two sisters, Fatmata and Salimatu, were captured and sold into slavery. But the two sisters eventually had two different journeys in life: Fatmata, whose name was changed to Faith, was taken to America where slavery was still the law of the land, while her sister Salimatu, who was renamed Sarah, ended up in England where slavery had been abolished, and became Queen Victoria’s goddaughter.

In the brilliant article written only for The African, which she titled “Time Travel in search of Sarah,” Anni Domingo—who is currently a lecturer in Drama and Directing at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham and Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in UK—writes: “Historical fiction made me a time traveller. Breaking the Maafa Chain, my debut novel, narrated by two characters one real and one fictional is set in West Africa and in Victorian England. From the beginning I wanted the reader to travel with me through the veil of time, into the imagined inner lives of real people and imaginary people, of real times and places. I knew that the novel would be set in the Victorian era but how do I bring Sarah, a real-life historical character and Faith, her fictional sister, into that fictional form?”

In her beautiful prose, the veteran actress weaves the cruelty of the slave trade, poignant facts of African history, and the thirst that guided her effort to gather the ingredients to write a captivating, real-life story: “Where possible I go visit the place, building, street. I walk around Hyde Park, I go to a village in Sierra Leone, and to the Gullah, North Carolina. I want to see what Sarah and Faith could have seen, smelt, touched. I gather so much information all crammed into my head is like an iceberg – most of it will remain unseen.”

About The African Magazine:

The African is the premier African magazine published in the United States, dating back to 1994. Founded by award-winning veteran-journalist Soumanou Salifou with a foot in Africa and the other in the United States, the pioneering magazine has both online and print versions. It brings to the reader original reporting about U.S.-Africa relations in the areas of politics and business, with an emphasis on the historical and cultural bonds between Africa and Black America. The ground-breaking magazine received a laudatory review in the Library Journal in 1999, and a heart-warming congratulatory letter from then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush in 2002. Salifou majored in African studies and American civilization from several African universities, and is an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

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