1. DAMNED IMMIGRANTS – The incredible story of Top Fafa or Fafa Top




The incredible story of Top Fafa (or Fafa Top) starts on a fairly mild winter afternoon when he was found guilty of not knowing his own name.

What’s your name? –
Fafa Top –
How do you spell it? –
Top Fafa –
Hold on, is it … Fafa Top or Top Fafa? –
It’s the same –
Which is the name and which is the surname? –
It’s the same – (huge smile)

Shit! and so it began.

A few days later a Health Service doctor called to inform us that one person from the group who had recently joined the centre, had had his blood test done; they weren’t able however to find the results because his name and surname on the permit to stay and on health card appeared in the wrong order, and so that resulted in two different tax codes and the Health Service system couldn’t find the blood test records for Top Fafa or Fafa Top.

The first phone call to the doctor gave a premonition of the nightmare:

Good morning –
Good morning –
I’m calling from Lucca National Health Service with regard to Fafa Top or Top Fafa –
I’m sorry, who? –
Fafa Top or Top Fafa –
Which is it? Fafa Top or Top Fafa?-
I’m not really sure, could you tell me the right name? –
Excuse me? It’s you who called me in regard to this guy –
Well, I know, but this man has just had a blood test last week, but it seems like he hasn’t really done it –
Sorry, I’m slightly confused –
I can imagine –

After few days I met the doctor to try to understand this odd situation. Meanwhile Fafa Top (or Top Fafa) was unaware that, because his name and surname were iterchangeable, several doctors, staff and simply patients in the waiting room in every hospitals of the whole province were having a hard time.

It seems like everything was put on hold in order to solve the Fafa Top or Top Fafa identity dilemma

Hello, are you the guy who is trying to solve if the real name is Fafa Top or Top Fafa? –
– Yes, it’s me –
– Say Hi to that poor guy –
– Sure –

Random doctors and nurses have stopped me to ask how he was doing, that guy who nobody knew anything about, apart from the name and the surname which blocked their system.
Furthermore there was another problem, initially underestimated, but which became crucial: Top Fafa (or Fafa Top) has a stutter.
The explanation of his name required 30 to 45 minutes, and if you didn’t catch a word, you needed 35 to 55 minutes, and more than one hour for the third attempt to understand him. He was really tired at end .

Top Fafa or Fafa Top is a nice guy, probably from Benin or Togo, he might well be a law graduate or a builder, I’m not sure. Everyone falls asleep before the end of every answer.

However we’ve never found out if his real name is Top Fafa or Fafa Top. Probably someone in the Health Service system chose for a quick “virtual baptism” on a computer keyboard, giving him a new name.

Some guys told me he got a permanent permit to stay for humanitarian reason, or perhaps his request has been rejected. I’m not sure, no-one has ever waited for the end of his replies.


Stefano Elmi (words)

Simone Togneri (comic strip)


scrittimaiali (C)


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