“hands up, don’t shoot”

We all know that hands raised in the air at a moment of conflict indicate surrender. They say, “I’m unarmed” or “I’ve laid down my arms” and “please, do not harm me” and “I am in your power.” At least, those of us who watch tv and films, read cartoons and novels, track newspapers and... Continue Reading →

Ukimwi Upo

The sign blares down a street—Makadara, I believe—at least three times. A declarative. It’s situated next to a youth centre (I want to write center). Ukimwi Upo. I’m reading Michael Nava’s Goldenboy, an AIDS novel from the midst of the plague—1988. The main character, Henry Rios, a lawyer, has taken on a case to repay... Continue Reading →

IDAHO, Africa

Homophobia exists in Africa, as does influenza. This comparison is only partly gratuitous as I am interested in scales of virulence. We know that African bees are the deadliest; the sun in Africa is hotter than anywhere else in the world; viruses from Africa are the most malicious; and the simple cold, when caught in... Continue Reading →

Desiring African Literature

We just completed reading Tahar Ben Jelloun’s The Sandchild, an amazing work that I have yet to process in any definitive way. As a post-realist text, it does a great job of undoing many assumptions in the class. I have taught it once in a queer class and this is the second time I am... Continue Reading →

DC Queer Studies Conference

The DC Queer Studies Symposium A Two-Day Conference at the University of Maryland April 17-18, 2009, College Park, MD Free and open to the public Visit our website here. For those of you who attended last year's inaugural symposium, this year's will be similar but even more grand. We have a full two-day schedule this... Continue Reading →

Death in Tutuola

But the path does not always lead to the desired location. What is important is where one ends up, the road traveled to get there, the series of experiences in which one is actor and witness, and above all, the role played by the unexpected and the unforeseen. —Achilles Mbembe It is considered bad form... Continue Reading →

Queering the Agikuyu

What happened in the thingira? To ask this question is to inject a note of perverse curiosity regarding this ostensibly homosocial space, this space in which a young man trained himself in the erotics of becoming a mature man. It is to ask what young warriors do when they are alone with their spears and... Continue Reading →


It's so difficult these days to get visas in to Britain, and America. But in those days of the slave trade, it was so easy. You didn't need one. Passage was free, but deadly. (Kole Omotoso, The Edifice, 1971)

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