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Dark Juices and Afrodisiacs: Erotic Diaries Vol I is a collaboration anthology by HOLAAfrica, the curator Bel South, and GALA Archives. The following press release is by the anthology team members Tiffany Mugo & Bel South. 

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What does queer desire look like? What is it to lust and love on the margins?

The questions above are not answered often in the public realm, especially on the continent.

And so on the 14th of February HOLAAfrica, along with curator Bel South and GALA Archives, released Dark Juices and Afrodisiacs: Erotic Diaries Vol I, the first in a series of sexy sensual and provocative series. This inaugural volume brings together works from the literary scene and beyond, from Kenya to Zimbabwe, from Nigeria to Botswana. Dripping with desire, these tales seek to let people into the scarcely explored world that encompasses the pleasure lives of queer women and gender non-conforming persons from within Africa.

Dark Juices and Afrodisiacs  is the first of a series that seeks to add a new dimension to existing sexual/erotic/pleasure narratives on the continent. It aims to invite voices – specifically African queer women’s voices – to a space that’s hidden and silenced. The ability to chronicle our individual stories is extremely important. However, there are many challenges that face African women within the LGBTIQ community when it comes to exploring and writing their stories. Also, speaking about sex is hard enough when the examples of what sex should look like dominate TV screens, movies, books and all other form of media. Harder still when the biggest representation of your sex lives is problematic porn, as is the case with queer women. Thus, this volume seeks to bring untold stories and bold imaginations to an underdeveloped realm of imagination, namely, that of genuinely sexy writing in Africa about women who have sex with women.

Contemporary African fiction has cleared out a space: there is an openness and excitement for sexy writing. But writing sex, writing pleasure, is hard. During this process we had publishers tell us that these stories were not erotica—because there is a particular idea of erotica, specifically for lesbian and queer women. This series aimed to break the mold and invite women to write about whatever brings them pleasure, in all its forms—from a shower by yourself to a night in with a long time lover, to getting cuffed with handcuffs.

There are stories of gyrating bodies at reggae bars in Addis, explicit details of Nairobi’s sexiest night club, self-love at the end of a long day, low seduction over an anniversary weekend, a first orgasm, and much more. The volume is a mixture of poetry and short stories set to the background of a series of erotic photographs taken by Siphumeze Khundayi with the muse Chido Muparutsa.

Contributors include: Maneo Mohale, Amanda Hodgeson, Natasha Joseph, Fadzai Muparutsa, Safia Khan, Chinue Igwe, Nqabisani Mahlahla, Lyricnotic, Kare, and others.

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The entire publication is available to download in a series of formats: double page spread and mobile friendly version (best used on Adobe for phone). 

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. 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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