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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

LGBT Literature in Africa

In many African societies homosexuality is still thought to be "un-African", a western import, with laws in place to control it. In this climate of homophobia, I was interested to know what type of LGBT literature is coming out of Africa. I already reviewed The Hairdresser of Harare and The Yacoubian Building, which both have gay characters, but I was curious to know how homosexuality is portrayed in African literature and what else is out there that I should be reading. African LGBT fiction (and non-fiction) seems to be dominated by South African writers but here are some that either explicitly focus on homosexuality or have LGBT characters. 










Shadow Power was the first depiction of a love affair between a white and a black man in South Africa; Love Themes for the Wilderness references a historic art and and queer party, the Locker Room Project; Bitter Fruit has a bisexual woman as a secondary character; Seven Steps to Heaven occasionally shifts into same-sex relationships, such as the relationship between a white and a black man; in Confessions of a Gambler, a Muslim woman with a gambling addiction must come to terms with the fact that her son is gay and dying of AIDs; The World Unseen explores the relationship between a lesbian and a married woman; The Quiet Violence of Dreams looks at a male sex-worker and the gay underworld in Cape Town; The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs explores being gay in a macho society; in Bitter Eden men who identify as heterosexual struggle with issues of masculinity and intimacy; Embrace is the story of a young boy's school life as he falls in love with his best friend and choirmaster; The Hairdresser of Harare is about a young man leading a double life in Harare; Go Tell the Sun has a short story "Sethuya Likes Girls Better", which tells the story of a woman suppressing her sexuality; In Tangier We Killed the Blue Parrot, Paul and Jane Bowles are a bi-sexual American couple living as expatriates in Tangier involved in same-sex love affairs with Moroccans; Porcupine includes a representation of being black and a lesbian; Open: An Erotic Anthology by South African Women Writers, contains a significant number of stories about being lesbian or bisexual across a range of cultural settings; Black Bull, Ancestors and Me is a memoir of sangoma, a traditional healer and lesbian; The Invisible Ghetto is an anthology of gay and lesbian writers from South Africa; Transgender Life Stories from South Africa features stories about the transgender experience in South Africa.

3 comments:

  1. Wow, this is an impressive list, actually. I had no idea there were so many titles - though it is still a quite small number. Am adding many of these to my wish list.

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  2. Thanks :). We still have a long way to go, but I feel the fact that there is some LGBT literature in Africa is a good start.

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  3. This is an amazing website! And thanks for this list of books! I'm currently looking for short stories, book reviews or interviews with queer artist for www.transnational-queer-underground.net so, if you could pass this on to people that might be interested or know of some people that I could contact or are interested in writing something yourself, please get in touch! Thanks so much!

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