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Middle-class, mobile, queer and African : transnationalism in online writing from Nigeria and South Africa

Book Contribution - Chapter

In his PhD thesis, "African Literature in the Digital Age" (2012), the author has carried out a survey mapping the agenda of same-sex desire in African literature, arguing that some members of the older generation of African writers used fictional homosexual characters as part of a larger project of decolonizing the African body as well as that of the diasporic black body. Despite this agenda, their writing gave us a good insight into the figure of the African homosexual and how this figure relates to other black queer figures outside the continent. For some of Africa’s emerging literary voices, as this essay aims to show, queerness, class, and transnational spaces intersect, while their work suggests that the earlier Pan-African projects contributed to a silencing of queer desire which we witness in much of the last century. While literature in the print age has helped articulate the idea of nationhood and Pan-Africanism, online literature, the rise of the African middle classes, as well as the increase in transnational movements are now arguably the catalyst for the development of African queer identities. This essay studies how the literature that is being published online depicts the experience of queerness by characters who see Africa as their spiritual home. Queer desire is being articulated by a new generation of African writers, many of whom are members of the professional middle classes and are themselves transnational figures, often seen by many as cultural ambassadors. Their writing indicates that the figure of the queer African is central to our understanding of the implicit problems of transnationalism and Pan-Africanism.
Book: Literature and interculturality (1) : concepts, applications, interactions
Edition: 2
Series: Intercultural Research
Pages: 149 - 164
Publication year:2018