Western Saharan author Sara Cheikh examines the political conflict that shaped her childhood in Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Insha-Allah. She details her experience returning home in 2020 and having to confront the realities of life at the refugee camp where her grandmother still lives. The book is set for publication in June 2023 by Feral House. 

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Insh-Allah is centered on Cheikh’s unplanned extended stay in the Western Sahara refugee camp where her family lives. On her first visit to see her family after 20 years, she is unexpectedly held back due to border closures and the increasing panic around COVID-19. The memoir details the ensuing adventures. It also “explores the history of the war that displaced her family as she negotiates the culture clash between the Saharawi society into which she was born and her Western upbringing.” The Saharawi refugees have lived in the Tindouf camps since the 1970s when they fled due to Morocco’s military presence in Western Sahara. 

Read the synopsis of the book posted by Handshake Books, who seems to have published a limited edition of the book last year. Cheikh said on Instagram that all the profit went to the Smara refugee camp hospital where she was born.

At the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, Sara flies from her home in Paris to visit her grandmother in Western Sahara. Fear grips the world and borders close around her. Stuck in the desert, Sara negotiates the culture clash between the Saharawi society she was born into and her Western upbringing, as she undergoes an odyssey where she faces starvation, arrest, and kidnapping while trying to cross the border into Algeria. Tense, poignant and funny, this heartfelt first-hand account explores the life and lessons of the desert, the plight of the Sahrawi people, their struggle, and their stoic patience. At the same time, it addresses family ties, questions the meaning of cultural heritage and frames the universal desire to belong.

Sara Cheikh was born in Algeria, in the Smara refugee camp.  She moved to Spain when she was six and grew up there. Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Insha-Allah is her first book. She currently lives in Barcelona where she works as a digital product designer.

Congrats to Cheikh! This looks like an important addition to the documenting of contemporary African life. We can’t wait.