‘Scattered abroad’: The trials of African migrants in Helon Habila’s Travellers

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Jonas Egbudu Akung
Ojima Nathaniel Sunday


Literary writers at home and in the diaspora have been reacting to the rate at which Africans are leaving the continent for a living in Europe, America and Asian countries. Helon Habila is one of such literary writers who have responded to migration of Africans from their continent with the publication of Travellers, (2019). This article, therefore discusses the trials and ordeals of African migrants as portrayed in Habila’s Traveller. As the migrants try to make out a meaning from their broken lives and psyches, they become traumatized and disoriented as a result of the environment they find themselves. Using Psychoanalysis as its theoretical bases for analysis, the paper revealed that the dehumanization of migrants has left them confused and in a state of dementia; revealing that migration has brought them more trauma than the better life they envisaged. Each of the characters tell their narratives of vicissitudes they have been through. Through technique, Habila presents a detailed view of the trials and ordeals of the migrants. The article also revealed that the despondency, forlornness, despair and trauma are the fulcrum of Habila’s novelistic experience in this novel. The article concludes that, to curb this exodus, African countries must counter poverty with economic development, as none of the characters in Habila’s Travellers has neither economic nor mental reprieve; all of them live a desultory life.


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Akung, J. E., & Sunday, O. N. (2021). ‘Scattered abroad’: The trials of African migrants in Helon Habila’s Travellers. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.58256/njhs.v5i2.614

How to Cite

Akung, J. E., & Sunday, O. N. (2021). ‘Scattered abroad’: The trials of African migrants in Helon Habila’s Travellers. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.58256/njhs.v5i2.614


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