Ulrich CABREL left Cameroon at only 15 years old to live a better life. He arrived in
Brittany where he was hosted by Etienne LONGUEVILLE in October 2017. A bond was
created between the two men and brought them to the point of wanting to write
together the history of Ulrich's journey. The story was published by Philippe Rey editions
on February 6, 2020 and takes the name of "Boza !".
For Grunge News this novel represents freedom. The freedom to fight for your desires,
for your life !
Grunge News then wanted to interview the authors of this book, Ulrich CABREL and
Can you introduce yourself for our readers ?
Ulrich : My name is Ulrich, a student in 12th grade, in Saint-Brieuc. I am 19 years old, I am
passionate about music, theater and cinema.
Etienne : I’m Etienne, 32, volunteer in an association that helps and supports young
refugees in Brittany. I hosted Ulrich at home for a year and we wrote "Boza!" together.
At the start, how did you imagine your journey ?
Ulrich : Hard, but not at this level. You can't imagine it before you live it.
At the Nigerian border when you see the police, you say to yourself, "I'm screwed " Your
life then rests in the hands of your smuggler ; in such a journey. How do we know who to trust ?
Ulrich : It's complicated. I do not know what to say. Confidence is very instinctive. It can
happen to be wrong.
When you arrived at the Zinder ghetto you were under the leadership of the "boss", head
of the ghetto and violent man. How did you see your future at that time ?
Ulrich : I thought it was all going to just end there. After what I went through, I realized
that anything is possible. Life is just a fine thread.
If you had to say something to everyone who helped you on your journey, what would
you say to them ?
Ulrich : Thank you very much. I would like to meet them again, in more cheerful
If on the other hand, you had to say something to all those who held you back ?
Ulrich : I thank them too, because by wanting to slow me down, they allowed me to
understand things about life. It’s after meeting bad people that you realize how lucky
you are to have people who love us with you.
How would you quickly describe your journey in three words ?
Ulrich : Courageous. / Patient. / Determined.
If you had to define your life in France compared to what you imagined before arriving ?
Ulrich : Reality is better than all fiction.
What do you think of the reception system for migrants in the West ?
Ulrich : I don't know. I lived only one life, mine. I'm talking about what I went through
without making it general. I was lucky. Everyone's routes are different, I don't want to
answer a general situation.
The slam that you presented on the show "We are not lying", makes many tributes, why
was it important for you to write these lines ?
Ulrich : Through this slam, I revealed events that marked me, people who gave me light,
who reached out to me and who left so early, dead before the end of the history. All these people who helped me, served as examples, I wanted to pay tribute to
When do you think you have completed your journey ?
Ulrich : The journey has not yet been completed.
How do other people see you and your story today ?
Ulrich : The way others look at me has changed, the media has had a big impact. I know
it's fleeting and effervescent.
Ulrich CABREL managed to arrive in France and have a life that many migrants want,
why do you think some do not ?
Ulrich : Everyone has their own life. Some have had a more glorious life than mine, others
are less fortunate. We cannot generalize.
Etienne : How to make reception work better ?
You have to have the courage to organize it. Schooling is a decisive moment. Meetings
with young French people in football clubs, popular education movements or theater
workshops promote integration. Immigrants find work with artisans.
How was your meeting ?
Ulrich : I met Etienne via the Cajma22 association which promoted hospitality in
Etienne : I had welcomed another youngster before. It went well, he was able to assert
his rights and continue his integration in France. When the president of the association
asked me to welcome a new youngster, Ulrich, I said ok. I met him at an association
event on a Saturday afternoon, and a week later, he was at my house.
Why did you want to tell this story in a book ?
Ulrich : Writing freed me. It was a way to get this suffering out of the way that weighed
on me. I also wanted to make young dreamers aware of the realities of the road.
Etienne : This story had to be told. In Europe, we do not take the measure of the drama
which unfolds on our doors.
How did you go about writing this book?
Ulrich : I started by telling. Then we had the idea to write. It was not sad! It was very
"capricarolexe" (extreme joy).
Etienne : I documented myself and we talked a lot. The writing process was also the
pretext for getting to know each other better. Ulrich is very funny; with his humor, he
humanizes the theaters of desolation that he had to cross. I laughed a lot while writing
What is your point of view on current immigration?
Ulrich : We could do a lot of nice things if we got out of an oppressive system. We have
to free people, energies, there are too many talents. There are a lot of bridges to build
between Africa and Europe, you have to have confidence in the youth.
Etienne : We live in a changing world, linked by social networks. Everything can be seen,
starting with inequalities. The younger generations don't accept it, they're right. The key
is to allow everyone to live well in their country, and to be able to move freely.
-Grunge News thanks you for your collaboration-