Ten-year-old Flambeau waits for his young mother to arrive from the Congo, along the same dangerous route that the human traffickers smuggled him. Homesick and pining for love, he sees a glimpse of life in Knight, a fellow Congolese.
Knight, a sapeur - dressed to the nines and dressed to kill - is a gangster who lives for two purposes: to be noticed, and to dance away the immigrants' troubles on a Friday night at Le Pitch, Broadwater Farm. And, who knows, he might just be able to use his contacts to find Flambeau's mother, Bijou.
Knight has a girlfriend, Eleanor: a pale Scottish beauty whose love for him is total, but who can never be accepted into the world of Le Pitch. She becomes Flambeau's confidante, and he her mentor in the art of the Rhumba - the dance that will help her steal her lover's heart.
But Knight's past is so troubled, and his present so dangerous, that to challenge the traffickers to find Bijou might be more than his life is worth - something a ten-year-old child cannot be expected to understand.