3 works about Kenya

3 works explain the structures of power in Kenya. Grace Musila, "Phallocracies and Gynocratic Transgressions" Wambui Mwangi, "Silence is a Woman" Shailja Patel, "Politics of Contempt" Cumulatively, these works describe how minoritized Kenyans—poor, refugees, women, forest dwellers, sex workers, queers—are rendered disposable. These works describe the powerful alliances dedicated to uphold various ethno-patriarchies. These works... Continue Reading →

cram

I am impressed–and frankly intimidated—by people who consume and regurgitate large amounts of information. In primary school, these people memorized every single political figure in Kenya, from the president to every local headman. In high school, they memorized every single Kenyan export, knowing where it was produced, in what quantities, how it was processed, and... Continue Reading →

March: Pedagogy of the Oppressed

2018 is the 50-year anniversary of Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I am going to assume that academic and activist organizations around the world are marking the event in some way, and that public and private institutions of learning will continue to ignore all of Freire's lessons. Ideally, I would like to stage a series... Continue Reading →

fragments toward freedom

Take it from me Some day we’ll all be free —Donny Hathaway We will win, Mariame Kaba teaches. “Hope is a discipline,” Mariame Kaba teaches. She asks that we practice how we want to live. Freedom is a practice. Freedom rooted in care is a practice. Freedom rooted in care and working across difference is... Continue Reading →

Inxeba

Inxeba is a sensitive exploration of toxic masculinity and repressed same-sex love, set against the backdrop of Ulwaluko, an initiation rite into manhood practised by the amaXhosa. —Pierre de Vos  In a country that has always celebrated diversity, Inxeba asks of Xhosa men whether they are able to welcome people who are queer, or whether they have to... Continue Reading →

difference

I have writing due, writing late, writing delayed, writing suspended, writing-in-waiting, writing-to-be-imagined, but I have been stuck because of this thing I am now writing that won’t allow me to write anything else first. It started as a distraction and then became an impediment: the sentences I needed elsewhere kept coming up against  these sentences,... Continue Reading →

transmission

We find ourselves having to repeat and relearn the same old lessons over and over that our mothers did because we do not pass on what we have learned, or because we are unable to listen. For instance, how many times has this all been said before? – Audre Lorde I was reminded of how... Continue Reading →

tender(ness)

They are sitting alone, dreaming a world, wishing for a little tenderness. Wishing for a different kind of tenderness, not the limp-stumble, bruise-soft after that lingers, not the aloe-rubbed, ice-packed relief, not the gravel-hard calluses where tenderness used to be. And now the thick-thick scar tissue where tenderness cannot be. The question of whether tenderness... Continue Reading →

African Pleasure (in 5 movements)

When we gather, we gather to co-imagine and to co-think and to co-create. We gather as a collective and to make collectives, no matter how short-term, no matter how contested. We gather to work across difference, as Audre Lorde teaches. No matter how far I stray, whether I’m thinking about sociogenesis with Frantz Fanon and... Continue Reading →

Queer African Studies: Personhood & Pleasure

I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am. —John Mbiti Let us face it. We are undone by each other. If we are not, we are missing something. —Judith Butler I have been reading bits and pieces of African philosophy focused on the problem of personhood. This particular exploration started when... Continue Reading →

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