The Lost Boy

Aher Arop Bol is a boy of three or four when his uncle carries him from the bush into an Ethiopian refugee camp. It is the 1980s and they are fleeing the civil war in Sudan.

This remarkable account tracks Bol’s boyhood through one camp after another, through good times and bad, until he begins a vast journey through Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe which finally ends in South Africa some ten years later.

By the time Bol reaches Pretoria, he is in his early twenties, and for the first time finds himself without a purpose. Hoping to lift his spirits, he starts studying English at a school for refugees. He recounts his life experiences to a teacher, who suggests he writes it all down. The result is this book.


The Lost Boy was translated into German as Mond über der Savanne, into Spanish as El nun perdut, and into Italian Il Ragazzo Perduto.

The Magunga Bookstore
Aher Arop Bol (author)

Aher Arop Bol was born in a Dinka village in the Bahr el Ghazal region of the Sudan in 1983. He grew up in various refugee camps, after an attack during the Southern Sudanese Civil War separated him from his parents at the age of four. Displaced, Bol took refuge in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

With a love for words and learning, he initially learnt how to read and write from carving letters in dust. At the age of seventeen, Bol began writing his debut novel, The Lost Boy, an epic quest for survival, education, family and meaning which has, since its publication last year received international acclaim.

In The Lost Boy, Bol takes the reader with him as he, a child, flees war, and fights for survival with other ‘lost boys’ or jijamers – “those who break the bush”. The book later accounts how Bol’s odyssey culminates in him returning to his home village in 2003 and being unexpectedly reunited with his parents.

Bol is currently residing in South Africa and studying for his LLB degree at UNISA. He runs a spaza shop in Pretoria, the income from which goes towards his university fees and to the support of his two younger brothers in Uganda.

– Centre for Creative Arts