Get ready to be blown away by the recent issue of Chimurenga Chronic. Classic African sci-fi and fantasy novels are re-imagined in the form of haunting graphic art.
Conceptually, this issue explores the intersection of myth, science, and science fiction. The timeliness of this exploration needs no convincing. In the last one year, Nnedi Okorafor the Naijamerican sci-fi queen has won two top science fiction prizes—the Nebula and the Hugo Awards. Science fiction is becoming established as an African literary form.
In spite of this, the literary discipline is still up in arms about the idea of African sci-fi. On the one hand you have thinkers like Wanuri Kahiu for whom African literature, even in its premodern forms, has always been science-fictional. On the other side of the aisle you have those who see the term “African Sci-fi” as little more than a western form given an African makeover.
Chimurenga intervenes in these debates and conversations about science fiction by taking us back to the question of myth, science, technology, and storytelling within the African context.
The intervention takes a truly novel form. Instead of pummeling us with a slew of think-pieces, the editors let the African literary archive speak for itself. Inspired by the long tradition of African comics, they assembled a group of artists and asked them to do graphic adaptations of African classics.
The result is pure, haunting perfection!
In the image below, London Kamwendo re-imagines scenes from Amos Tutuola’s The Palmwine Drinkard as a satire of global capital.
Reading this issue produces the uncanny experience of encountering African novels in a somewhat unrecognizable form.
The headlining story of the issue is Hassan Blassim’s Corpse Exhibition adapted by Hussein Nassir Sallih who explores the idea of terrorism as a problem of representation. But theres is also Catherine Anyango, known for her adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, who reworks Boubacar Boris Diop’s Kaveena. Nikhil Singh adapts Kojo Laing’s 1992 ecological sci-fi tale, Major Gentl and the Achimota Wars. Sarah Rifky’s fable, Qalqalah, gets a graphic makeover from Thenjiwe Nkosi.
These blasts from the past come in the form of visual representations that we can see and relate to in new and revolutionary ways. The collection is a richly productive exhumation of the African literary archive.
Chimurenga is a quarterly gazette that presents curated assortments of discourses and visual art on African life and ideas. It is Africa’s pride and joy. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. This uniqueness stems from the fact that the publication draws inspiration from the urgency—the here and now—of the contemporary African moment.
It’s with great pleasure that we announce that the latest is issue out and strongly urge you to get a copy.
The Chronic is also available to order as both a print and digital edition from the Chimurenga online store