I Am Not Done with African Immigrant Literature

AiW Guest Shadreck Chikoti

Shadreck_small

I get afraid, very afraid, when somebody, anybody, prescribes to me which books to read and not to read. When somebody gives me a template of what African literature ought to look like.

And boy! You can imagine the shock I got when I read an article on okayafrica.com written by the gifted Siyanda Mohutsiwa, in which she gave a prescription for African literature, authenticating some forms and denouncing another.

I’d just finished watching an interview with Dambudzo Marechera on YouTube, when a Facebook friend pointed me to this article in which the author pronounces her dislike of “African immigrant literature” and declares that she has, with immediate effect, stopped reading this genre because, she writes, “I couldn’t get over the fact that my first encounter with Alain Mabanckou’s work was a foot-chase in a Paris subway station (The Fugitive). I couldn’t take a single…

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