Fictional African Nations and Towns ... by African Writers

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Map of Orisha

Many, if not all of us, know about Zamunda and Wakanda – fictional African nations from Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America and Marvel’s Black Panther. There are, of course, other fictional African countries in many books, films and series fromthe West. What about fictional African nations created by African writers? Well, here’s a list of some African nations (and some towns), including mythical lands that are either fully, or partly, inspired by an African country or countries.

Free Republic of Abruria in Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (2006)
In Ngugi wa Thiong'o's 784-page farce, we follow the demise of the dictator known as “the Ruler” in the mythical Free Republic of Aburiria, as he battles with an unemployed young man who embraces the mantle of a magician.

Afromacoland in Chief the Honourable Minister by T.M. Aluko  (1970)

Aluko’s fourth novel Chief the Honourable Minister, tells the story of Alade Moses, a school principal who has been appointed Minister of Works in the corrupt government of the newly independent, and fictional, republic of Afromacoland.

Alcacia in Making Wolf by Tade Thompson (2015)
"Alcacia isn't kind to anyone", is one of many things you need to know about the fictional West Africa nation Thompson creates for his debut and Kitschie award-winning novel Making Wolf. Weston Kogi and his sister fled Alcacia in the middle of a civil war many years ago, but now Weston is back following the death of his aunt – who cared for him and his sister after their mother passed away, and ensured their safe passage to London.

Ewawa In The Death Certificate by Alobwed'Epie (2004)
The Death Certificate resolves around Mongo Meka - Treasurer General, and Acting Director General of the Central Bank of fictional Ewawa, who embezzles a ton of money from his nation and people.

Kangan in Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe (1984)
Chris, Ikem and Sam are all friends in the fictional West African nation of Kangan, newly independent of British rule. Sam is the Sandhurst-educated President of Kangan, Chris is a member of the president's cabinet for life, and Ikem is editor of the state-run newspaper.

Katamalanasia in Life and a Half by Sony Lab’ou Tansi (1977, English translation in 2011)
Sony Lab‘ou Tansi tells the tale of a cannibalistic dictator,  The Providential Guide - the latest in a series of cannibalistic dictators - who rules over the fake republic of Katamalanasia, and has captured Martial, the leader of the opposition, and his family.

Kos in Tochi Onyebuchi's Beasts made of Night (2017)
The walled city Kos - based on Lagos in Nigeria - is ruled by the elite Kaya family and dominated by the priest-like Mages who can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts. Then, there are the sin-eating young aki. Seventeen-year old Taj is the strongest of the aki, but with big sins bursting to be set free, soon Taj is running for his life.

Orïsha in Children of Blood and Bones by Tomi Adeyemi (2018)
A 525-page epic set in the world of Orïsha, a land that once shone with magic until the ruthless King Saran killed the maji, leaving the young Zeile without her mother and her people without hope. Now, there are only divîners, people with latent magical abilities, physically represented by white hair. Zeile now has a chance to bring back magic with the help of a rogue princess.

Olondria in A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar (2013)
In Samnatar's debut, Jevick, the pepper merchant’s son, has been raised on stories of Olondria, a distant land where books are as common as they are rare in his home—but which his mother calls the Ghost Country. When his father dies and Jevick takes his place on the yearly selling trip to Olondria, Jevick’s life is as close to perfect as he can imagine. Just as he revels in Olondria’s Rabelaisian Feast of Birds, he is pulled drastically off course and becomes haunted by the ghost of an illiterate young girl.

In an interview with Geoff Ryman on Strange Horizons, Samatar explains the influences behind Olondria:

I sort of had the Ottoman Empire in my head—the Ottoman Empire of the Tulip Era, if the printing press had taken off. But honestly, Olondria is a hodgepodge. It’s heavily influenced by a trip I took before writing the book: I spent a couple of months traveling in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. And it also draws significantly on Egypt, especially Alexandria, where I did most of the major revisions. The Tea Islands, where Jevick lives, are influenced by South Sudan, where I was living when I wrote the first draft.

The Outzone in Taty Went West by Nikhil Singh's (2015)
The Outzone was a place where people went to escape. It was large enough for anyone to lose themselves in, a feverish sanctuary for those seeking to escape their lives 
In Nikhil Singh’s debut Taty runs away from her home in the suburbs of the Lowlands Into the Outzone “a forest of dead time, a necrotic wonderland, a province of waking coma where time itself had grown sickly and died.” to escape from something terrible she has done. Taty is around fifteen/sixteen at the beginning of the story. Once in the Outzone she is captured by Miss Muppet, and taken to the malicious imp, Alphonse Guava's, lair where she meets a number of interesting characters including Number Nun (a robotic, sex slave nun), the zombie Typhoid Mary, The Sugar Twins - a pair of 'Detachable Siamese', and the overweight Michelle 'nailed to a large wooden cross'. 

Zululand is a model for the Outzone. The town of Namanga Mori is based on Durban, which is full of art deco architecture. It has the strongest strain of marijuana in the world. It doesn't feel like Africa, but is this weird Jurassic town. It feels like the woods are full of dinosaurs. The mountains nearby, the foothills of the Drakensberg cast long shadows so that twilight lasts for an hour and a half. The place is full of predators—sharks, black mambas, and 'tokoloshes'.

Invisible town of Tukwan in Woman of the Aeroplanes by Kojo Laing (1988)
Surrounded by mist, invisible to the corrupt power centre of Kumasi, Tukwan is a unique space. To qualify to live in Tukwan, a person must be different, non-conformist – ‘everybody had to have one element of originality before he or she could continue to stay in the town’

There are also unnamed African country’s, including the unnamed African state which has just attained independence in A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe (1966), aand the post-apocalyptic African country in Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor (2010).

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