Contemporary Speculative Fiction in Southern Africa

Presented by Joanna Woods

Monday, 18 May, 2020 - 16:00

Speculative fiction is one of the most diverse and complex genres of African literature today. Its contributors come from all across Sub-Saharan Africa, and the range of topic covered is astounding. One component that ties the varied stories together is the articulation of anxieties about the contemporary moment and the imagined future. This paper identifies three categories of interest - posthumanism, temporalities, and mythologies - from which anxieties emerge in contemporary speculative short stories from Southern Africa. In particular, my concern is with speculative fiction from South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe; my overriding proposition is that the genre is functioning as a rhetorical tool in the face of complex localisms and globalisms. First, I present a broad survey of the narratives in question. Then, through close reading of a selection of the speculative short stories, I present my findings, endeavouring to conceptualise and position the rhetorical implications of (southern) African imagined futures.

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