What you are and always will be

“for dust you are, and to dust you will return”(Mujila p.182). When you are in a certain group people will have a certain impression of you. When you are dust, you are not really important at all. You could fly away in the wind and no one would ever even notice. Fiston Mwanza Mujila is the author of the novel Tram 83 and has done a great job of showing that black culture is very similar to that of the dust you see everyday.

The novel takes place in Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of the story is told by the main characters, Requiem and Lucien. They always seem to find themselves at this place called Tram 83. Tram 83 was always filled with different kinds of busgirls and prostitutes. “First night at Tram 83; Night of debauchery, night of boozing, night of beggary, night of premature ejaculation, night of syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases, night of prostitution, night of getting by, night of dancing and dancing…”(Mujila p.6). Tram 83 is always filled with some very interesting things and people all of the time.


Knowing this about the book most of the characters were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and had black skin. They all live in a town where mining is the main job and most people live and die in a mine. With this in mind it brings us back to the thought of being as insignificant as dust in the wind. Just another person to come work in the mine and just another person to die just the same.

Black culture in the novel is directly related to the fact that blacks are very looked down upon, especially in Congo. People from America think that the Congo is a disease ridden land of death. Which in most cases is not true. Blackness is directly related to death and poverty.

Mujila does a great job of incorporating a lot of stereotypes into the novel to make this idea of black culture seem very real. Going back to the point of dust and blackness being that dust. Especially in the Congo where mining is the most popular job for the blacks as well. This is where they will live and die and nobody will really care either.


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