dark_administrator: (Default)
dark_administrator ([personal profile] dark_administrator) wrote in [community profile] dark_agenda2011-06-15 07:23 pm

Promotion Fest: Africa

Last year, [personal profile] wistfuljane presented pie charts showing the breakdown by region of nominated fandoms qualifying for Chromatic Yuletide 2010. Africa, along with Latin America and First Nations, were at the bottom of the list. We hope that we can do better this year by encouraging Kaleidoscope participants to brainstorm and discuss fandoms that originate in Africa.

Like every world region, Africa is not a monolith: it’s the second-largest and second-most populous continent in the world, with 54 nations populated by hundreds of ethnicities speaking over a thousand languages. In light of this incredible diversity, we encourage participants to think carefully about cultural context and issues of representation when creating fanworks for these sources.

Starting Points


Here are some African sources that we think would be great fandom nominations for Kaleidoscope:

Also check out the African source fandoms mentioned in the comments to Chromatic fandom collecting!

Suggestions from commenters:

Share your squee for these fandoms or give other African fandom suggestions in the comments below!

This entry is posted at Dreamwidth and LiveJournal and you may comment at either journaling platform.
gloss: (aplusokay!)

[personal profile] gloss 2011-06-16 03:04 am (UTC)(link)
I love, love, LOVE this promotional video for the Uganda Skateboard Union and think it's rich with fannish inspiration. Skating! Superheroes! Friendship! What more do we need?

PS I think Okorafor's site is nnedi.com, not dot.org?
Edited 2011-06-16 03:08 (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-16 04:39 am (UTC)(link)
Oops, thanks for catching the mistake! I've fixed the links.

Also, that video is awesome!
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)

[personal profile] sanguinity 2011-06-16 03:29 am (UTC)(link)
Nnedi Okorafor, Ginen multiverse:

  • Zarah the Windseeker (novel, set in Ginen, an alternate universe with African correspondences)
  • "From the Lost Diary of Treefrog7" (short story, set in Ginen)
  • The Shadowspeaker (novel, set largely in Niger, a hundred-odd years into our future)
  • Akata Witch (novel, set in Nigeria, more-or-less contemporary to now)
  • ...and I see that according to the author's website, Who Fears Death (although I hadn't been able to recognize a clear link indicating so in the text when I was reading it).

If you need help with research, Nnedi Okorafor's website has a page about Ginen, with helpful info about the geography, flora, and fauna.

And I now superbelatedly see that Nnedi Okorafor was listed in the main post. So let me retroactively make this a squee comment!

There could never ever be too much fic about the wonders and dangers of the Forbidden Greeny Jungle!

Jaa! And her swordwork! And her two husbands! And what she sacrificed to come to power, and then to hold it!

(Onion, the talking camel!)

And if the above is not enough, Akata Witch could be (very loosely) described as a Nigerian Hogwarts-like story, focusing on magic-using Leopard People and the schools and society they have interwoven just below the surface of the world's non-magic-using societies. Shiny! So much shiny!
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-16 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, thanks very much for the link to the Clarkesworld story! I hadn't seen it before.

And yes, there can never be enough Nnedi Okorafor squee! I just started Zahrah the Windseeker a few days ago, and it's so incredibly awesome that I don't know why I waited so long to read it!
sara: Once you visit...you won't want to leave the City of Books (books)

[personal profile] sara 2011-06-16 03:57 am (UTC)(link)
I have recently very much enjoyed South African novelist Lauren Beukes' science fiction/magic realism novel Zoo City.

Beukes is, I think, Afrikaaner; the heroine of this novel is black; I am not sure how this fits into the chromatic fandoms scheme of things, but I liked the story and Zinzi, the heroine, is quite fabulous. Fucked up and smart enough to know how fucked up she is, and stubborn enough to be trying to go straight but not quite stubborn enough to get there...and then there's a take on animal familiars which turns a lot of that concept on its head. Anyhow, it's a good story, and I'm still stunned to have found African genre fiction on the shelf at my local Borders.

(I am so far less impressed by Beukes' debut novel Moxyland, which I read the first third of and then abandoned on my nightstand. I may yet come back to it, but...enh, she's sort of trying to do Cory Doctorow in Johannesburg, and I'm not real enthused.)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-16 04:40 am (UTC)(link)
For the Kaleidoscope exchange, Zoo City would not qualify, but it's definitely a fandom worth keeping in mind for later in the year when we run our Chromatic Yuletide challenge!
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2011-06-16 04:47 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, sorry -- I have been skimming-rather-than-deeply-engaged-with the parameters of this one, given various other attention-demanding constraints, and am at that, "Story! Story in Africa!" stage. *g*
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-16 04:59 am (UTC)(link)
No worries! I think the book is still worth mentioning because it still is a book featuring black characters by a South African writer, but I thought I'd leave a reminder comment just in case anyone had their hearts set on nominating it for the upcoming exchange. I bought the book a while ago and have been meaning to read it for a while now, and your comment makes me want to start it right away! :)
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2011-06-16 05:23 am (UTC)(link)
I think it's probably the best spec-fic novel I've read this year. And it really made me want more good international genre fiction in my life.
jadelennox: Ghost from the book Epic: black girl in shades, gun, awesome. (chlit: ghost)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2011-06-16 04:19 am (UTC)(link)
Recommendation with disclaimer: Nancy Farmer is a white American who lived in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, partially with the Peace Corps. She met her husband there, and I can't tell what his nationality or background are. But with that disclaimer in mind, her children's novels set in Africa, especially The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm are well received, and as far as I can tell, by Zimbabwean critics as well as USian.

If you want to stick to African creators, though, she does not qualify. And when I last read those books I had ... different eyes. So I would not have noticed certain vectors of problem.

ETA: Sigh. Just read her page on her website about writing about Africa, and. Well. Even so, it took me about ten years before I was able to write about Africa, because it's a complicated culture. *headdesk*
Edited (she's a better novelist than webcopy writer.) 2011-06-16 04:22 (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-16 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
For Kaleidoscope itself, we will only be allowing chromatic creators, but her works would qualify for our other challenges, such as Chromatic Yuletide.

But I'm glad you brought up Nancy Farmer anyway because I think it opens up discussion of the issues that can result when chromatic people and cultures are represented by outsiders, especially when that outsider POV is privileged. The sentence you quoted is very saddening--before seeing it, I would have argued that The Ear, the Eye and the Arm was a fairly good example of an outsider taking pains to write specifically about Zimbabwe and Zimbaweans rather than about a nebulous "Africa".

Also, in the light of the Amina Arraf hoax, I think a related issue is how we as consumers are given greater access and may even pay more attention to such privileged outsider accounts. The Ear, the Eye and the Arm was certainly one of my childhood favorites, but I also wonder how much I missed out by not reading a children's novel by a Zimbabwean writer instead.
eccentricyoruba: (kagura)

[personal profile] eccentricyoruba 2011-06-16 11:45 am (UTC)(link)
I was really disappointed when I learnt that The Ear, the Eye and the Arm was written by a white American, it was also one of my childhood favourites.
livrelibre: DW barcode (Default)

[personal profile] livrelibre 2011-06-16 06:06 am (UTC)(link)
There's Pumzi (Kenyan sci fi short film). The trailer is on YouTube and it's available from, uh, other sources.

And I keep meaning to read it, but I think Ben Okri's The Famished Road would fit ETA: for speculative/literary fiction.
Edited 2011-06-16 06:42 (UTC)
glass_icarus: (avatar: appa hiding)

[personal profile] glass_icarus 2011-06-16 02:53 pm (UTC)(link)
AH! PUMZI!!! Thanks for the reminder, I knew I was forgetting SOMETHING when we were putting together the list of examples. /o\

& also, thanks for the rec! :)
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[personal profile] prodigy 2011-06-16 06:09 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for linking to "How To Write About Africa," I always grin when I see it linked and reread it. A bitter, cynical sort of grin. But a grin. It's a great piece.

I wish there were more like it for other areas that get persistently othered -- How to Write About East Asia, make sure they sit on the floor and meditate with their legs crossed or else work themselves to death in a chromium skyscraper, lo, honor, family, la, elaborate sexual perversions, the cherry blossoms, the namedropped pictograms, the elegance, the huge manatee! -- but I think Westerners' attempts at Africa are some of the vilest and most heinous, which deters a lot of wiser Westerners from writing about anywhere they primarily associate mentally with wildlife tours and Amnesty International, in fear of fucking it up. I'm not white, but I know I have the same fear of my own American privilege when it comes to writing about these sources, as well as a general ignorance thereof. So thanks for compiling, and I hope it contributes to more people stretching their boundaries and doing something that takes a little more thinking in the spirit of [community profile] dark_agenda!
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-16 04:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I know there have been a few "How to Write About..." posts for various countries that were inspired by the Granta article, but as you point out, the Western stereotypes about Africa are especially pernicious. I also hope that the resource links we've provided will help people find a way to engage thoughtfully with these fandoms!
allchildren: kay eiffel's face meets the typewriter (Default)

[personal profile] allchildren 2011-06-16 06:23 am (UTC)(link)
Pumzi is a Kenyan scifi film I haven't yet managed to see, but it's on this compilation with some other African shorts that might be great too: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004VNVLM8 (sorry for the longform link)
glass_icarus: (zoe smile)

[personal profile] glass_icarus 2011-06-16 02:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the link!
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (gwen by infinitesunrise)

[personal profile] sophinisba 2011-06-16 01:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I just read the first of the three Aya graphic novels by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, and am about to check out the second one. They are fun realistic stories centering around teenage girls in a working-class suburb of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in the 1970s. It looks like there might also be a movie soon.
glass_icarus: (angel/katie)

[personal profile] glass_icarus 2011-06-16 02:54 pm (UTC)(link)
YAY, graphic novels!! Thanks for the rec! :)
devilc: Jupiter in her wedding tiara with the word "imagine" (Default)

[personal profile] devilc 2011-06-16 02:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Those with access to sources of African Mythology (and who feel comfortable writing in the sacred texts/lore of a culture not their own) might enjoy the story of Luanda Magere (also spelled Lwanda Magere).
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-16 04:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yes, folklore/mythology is another great inspiration for fanwork. Thank you for the rec!

awsome post

(Anonymous) 2016-07-12 10:39 am (UTC)(link)
wow. http://naijagists.com
0jack: Closeup of Boba Fett's helmet, angular orange stripe surrounding a narrow window on a greenish metallic field. (Default)

[personal profile] 0jack 2011-06-17 06:13 pm (UTC)(link)

There are some recommendations here for POC SF. specific to this purpose, Pumzi (film, Kenya) which you already have and Afro-Future Females (anthology, various African-American writers), which I didn't see listed. Hope that helps. :)
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)

[personal profile] tree 2011-06-18 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
i just saw 678 (aka Cairo 678) at the sydney film festival and it's utterly brilliant. i also heard one of the film's stars, Boshra, talk a little about how it came to be and its relevance to the Egyptian uprisings eariler in the year.

it's about sexual harassment in Egypt and women's rights.
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-18 09:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Belated comment but thanks! I've added your rec to the list. Thanks so much!
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-06-18 08:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Some belated graphic novel recs:

Magdy El Shafee (Egypt): sample at Words Without Borders, websites

Christophe-Ngalle Edimo and Simon-Pierre Mbumbo (Cameroon): sample from Malamine at Words Without Borders
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2011-08-19 05:35 am (UTC)(link)
Leo (Kenya): trailer