Queer Africa 2 - New Stories In

Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin 

Publisher: MaThoko's Books
Publication date: 2017
ISBN: 978­1­928215­42­4
Format: paperback

Price: R200.00

In Queer Africa 2: New Stories, the 26 stories by writers from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda and the USA present exciting and varied narratives on life. There are stories on desire, disruption and dreams; others on longing, lust and love. The stories are representative of the range of human emotions and experiences that abound in the lives of Africans and those of the diaspora, who identify variously along the long and fluid line of the sexuality, gender and sexual orientation spectrum in the African continent. Centred in these stories and in their attendant relationships is humanity. The writers showcase their artistry in storytelling in thought­ provoking and delightful ways.

For it is in this life where we learn that love is for everyone including those we think less of.
– Matshepo Thafeng, ‘The Stone’, Queer Africa 2: New Stories.

Contributor Emma Paulet shared her delight at being included in the collection: ‘To have “Warm” published in an anthology that gives voice to those who have existed in the margins of literature is an honour.’ Similar sentiments were expressed by Jennifer Shinta Ayebazibwe, whose story “Perilous Love” is also featured in Queer Africa 2: ‘We need this anthology on the continent like we need air, any initiative such as this that seeks to celebrate, affirm, document and preserve queer African stories deserves to be celebrated and supported.’

The collection’s artistry extends beyond the written word. Cover artist Danielle Clough created a series of miniature embroidered portraits based on photos of African people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual  (LGBTQIA+) ‘This project has such an amazing energy because of how different each person has been, yet all of them are equally excited to be a part of the process,’ says Clough. The editors were drawn to Clough’s work because of its rich textures. For them, the layered yarn on the cover speaks to the layered narratives inside: ‘The cover portraits add meaning to these rich stories and speak to the zigzagging nature of our lives.’

For Gala, home to the MaThoko’s Books imprint, Queer Africa 2 represents a further step towards challenging mainstream depictions of sexual and gender diversity. ‘This publication allows readers to recognise the complexities of our lives – our joys and sorrows, our struggles and triumphs. Queer Africa 2 is of vital importance to the work of Gala, as it ensures in both a symbolic and practical way that the narratives of LGBTQIA+ people are preserved, celebrated and publicly accessible,’ says Gala director Keval Harie.

This anthology comes after the rousing international success of Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction (2013), which won the 26th Lambda Literary Award for the anthology category in 2014, and was translated into Spanish in the same year. It is now used to teach literature and queer theory at prestigious universities in South Africa.

Edited by Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin.

Featured writers: Nick Mulgrew, Nancy Lindah Ilamwenya, Barbara Adair, Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene, Emma Paulet, Amatesiro Dore, Alexis Teyie, Thato Magano, Bishara Mohamed, Matshepo Thafeng, Michael Agugom, S Van Rooyen, Jennifer Shinta Ayebazibwe, Wilfred Jean­Louis, Zukolwenkosi Zikalala, Juliet Kushaba, Alexander K Opicho, Unoma Azuah, Alistair Mackay, Rafeeat Aliyu, H W Mukami, Ola Osaze, Idza L, Olakunle Ologunro, Victor Lewis, and Jayne Bauling.

Introduced by Barbara Boswell.

See some video highlights from the Johannesburg launch on 3 June 2017.