Mohale Mashigo. Image from Afternoon Express.

South African novelist Mohale Mashigo, author of the UJ Prize-winning The Yearning, has some interesting opinions on Afrofuturism and its place. In the preface to her forthcoming collection of short stories, Intruders (Picador Africa, 2018), she makes a case about its relevance.

“This collection would be incomplete for me if I didn’t include stories set in ‘the future’,” she writes. “Writing it, I could almost feel Afrofuturism hiding in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to shout, ‘pick me’. It is all the rage right now and everybody has his and her own idea of what it is—even when it’s some misguided marketing weirdo just wanting to connect with the cool kids (gross).”

The preface, titled “Afrofuturism: Ayashis’ Amateki’,” appears in The Johannesburg Review of Books‘ October 2018 issue.

“There are stories that take place in the future but cannot strictly be called Afrofuturism because (I am of the opinion) Afrofuturism is not for Africans living in Africa. This is not meant, in any way, to undermine the importance of Afrofuturism.”

“I believe Africans, living in Africa, need something entirely different from Afrofuturism. I’m not going to coin a phrase but please feel free to do so. Our needs, when it comes to imagining futures, or even reimagining a fantasy present, are different from elsewhere on the globe; we actually live on this continent, as opposed to using it as a costume or a stage to play out our ideas. We need a project that predicts (it is fiction after all) Africa’s future ‘postcolonialism’; this will be divergent for each country on the continent because colonialism (and apartheid) affected us in unique (but sometimes similar) ways.

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Here is a description of Intruders from Pan MacMillan South Africa:

Orphan sisters chase monsters of urban legend in Bloemfontein. At a busy taxi rank, a woman kills a man with her shoe. A genomicist is accused of playing God when she creates a fatherless child.

Intruders is a collection that explores how it feels not to belong. These are stories of unremarkable people thrust into extraordinary situations by events beyond their control. With a unique and memorable touch, Mohale Mashigo explores the everyday ills we live with and wrestle constantly, all the while allowing hidden energies to emerge and play out their unforeseen consequences. Intruders is speculative fiction at its best.

Intruders can be bought on:

Read Mohale Mashigo’s full preface on The Johannesburg Review of Books.