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Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology. Cover image by Osinachi.

Much has been said about the state of sex in African literature: whether African novelists are keen on sex, why writers approach sex the way they do, and we even ran a brief series, “Sex in African Novels.” The call for submissions for Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology even prompted notes on how to write erotica.

And after roughly a year in the making, we are happy to bring you the e-book: Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology. Edited by Nigerian writer Sibbyl Whyte, the e-book collects fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by 23 writers from Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa: Chibuihe Obi, Joyce Nawiri, Kwoh .B. Elonge, Alvin Kathembe, Bryan Okwesili, Michael Larri, Eudiah Kamonjo, Anthony Madukwe, Osinachi, Savannah Mafia, Blessing Nwodo, DT Harry, Ernest Ogunyemi, Erhu Amreyan, Bubbllinna, Precious C.K., Jerry Edo, Shammah Godoz, Hussani Abdulrahim, Alithnayn Abdulkareem, Kaodilichi Ogamba, Raphael d’Abdon, and Filemon Iiyambo. The stories, no two of which are alike, find different sides of millennial sex culture and romance, many of them climactic.

Here is the Editor’s Note.

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Editor’s Note

Sex is everywhere, and, being energy, it inhabits many forms. In Africa, it is present in our music, our dance and, sometimes, unsavoury aspects of it make the news. However, while we are willing to sing and dance along to sexually explicit songs, we are less likely to talk about our personal notions of sex. This perhaps is because, from childhood, one is conditioned by ill-constructed admonitions to think of sex as a vice rather than a wholesome experience. The awkwardness surrounding sex-education is something most people are conversant with, but it is less strange when one considers that our dialects brim with metaphors and proverbs which usually accompany the discussion of important matters. Our reticence is therefore understandable, but not acceptable when it seeps into our literature.

Traditionally, in much of what constitutes our African literature, there is a marked absence of sexual intercourse in stories filled with adult characters who, without authorial preclusion, would be getting naked and into each other’s bodies. This, not because they are libidinous creatures persuaded by raging hormones, but because exploring sex is a route to discovery. While there are African authors and bloggers publishing erotic stories online, the question remains: Why are there not more stories exploring the body and its many pleasures coming out of the African closet? The focus on sex is deliberate, as I believe that to skip past our versions of the erotic in our stories is a disservice to ourselves. The stories in this anthology are not just about sweaty bodies—they are about people like us and it would not be strange to find one’s personal sexual experiences sandwiched between the pages.

Always, there is a story behind every sexual encounter, so how two or more people arrive at their entanglement of limbs is decidedly varied. In Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology, no two stories are similar. In “The New Sex Guide,” Eudiah Kamonjo gives us a peek into her real life, one in which she combines poetry, dance and performs sex along with her team to help clients understand the act of giving and receiving pleasure. Jerry Edo serves us the other non-fiction piece in the collection which takes us twenty odd years into his past where he is seduced in “My Father’s Widow”. Raphael d’Abdon’s “Touch” is a trip down memory lane, as each intersection gives up body after body, and nostalgia becomes the perfect masturbatory aid. Chibuihe Obi’s “self-portrait as a building with rooms” takes one through unexpected passageways and ends at a familiar point. A point where one hopes for a fulfilling sexual encounter that both reveals and devours one’s fears.

The fiction swings through the doors of a chapel, clubs, art galleries, hotels, bachelor pads and is seen running away from security guards just like the characters in Anthony Madukwe’s “Moonlight”. Besides well-meant admonition, closely held religious belief or trauma can also stand guard at the gateways of one’s mind, preventing sexual fulfillment as can be seen in Precious C.K.’s “The Mulokole” and Blessing Nwodo’s “Vaginismus.” The brain, they say, is the largest sex organ and Bubbllinna’s “The Proposition” shows us that even without physical contact a sexual experience can occur. We wonder along with Erhu Kome: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” if we could have sexual encounters in real life as easily as we did in our imaginations and dreams?

The characters in this collection inexorably move towards junctions of pleasure, away from old places and places of pain as can be seen in Kaodilichi Ogamba’s “Last Night in Oba” and Alithnayn Abdulkareem’s “Moving.” In a time where the Internet readily provides options of possible partners, Kwoh Elonge’s unhappily married character searches online for the perfect lover and finds him in “I Want”. In Alvin Kathembe’s “Pudding,” we find that the proof of a bad or good sexual encounter may begin with the eating, but more than that, it shows us that every sexual encounter can be a learning experience. Filemon Iiyambo’s “Chocolate Cake” is the dessert of this collection with a story so sweet it leaves one wanting more.

There are people without whom I might have stopped midway. To Ainehi and Otosirieze, for always creating portals through Brittle Paper. To the writers who gifted their words and made this be. To Samuel, Inikpi, Frances, Anthony, Nonso, Debbie, Su’eddie, Shammah, and others who made the process easier. To Andrew, for the late nights spent sipping cold water and splitting stories. To Prince Jacon Osinachi for the cover art worth a thousand words. To those who said little yet meant well. Thank you!

The 23 works here are proof that sex is not such a taboo subject and can be dwelt upon in writing by Africans. I enjoyed working on this anthology and sincerely hope it proves pleasurable for you, too, as you journey through these tales of black bodies speaking the language of sex.

 

Sibbyl Akwaugo Whyte,

Lagos.

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Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology is the tenth anthology published online by Brittle Paper since 2016, and our fourth in 2018, following 14’s The Inward Gaze in January, the Afro Anthology Series’ Selves: An Afro Anthology of Creative Nonfiction in February, and 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry in November.

READ: Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology 

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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  1. Five Audio and Literary Erotica Websites to Spice Up Your Sex Life – KenyaBuzz LifeStyle - 2019/04/29

    […] Sibbyl Akwaugo Whyte, who edited the anthology, had this to say about the issue. […]

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