Exorcizing Afropolitanism: Binyavanga Wainaina explains why “I am a Pan-Africanist, not an Afropolitan” at ASAUK 2012

AiW Guest Stephanie Bosch Santana.

BinyavangaWainaina Binyavanga Wainaina, writer and founding editor of the Kenyan literary magazine, Kwani?

Traces of Binyavanga Wainaina’s address, “I am a Pan-Africanist, not an Afropolitan”, delivered at September’s African Studies Association UK 2012 conference, have lingered with me over the past few months: the image of invisible digital networks of texts reaching ghost-like across continents, genre-bending “digital pulp,” and a pan-African literature that moves via twitter and sms rather than by printing press and shipping container. If many earlier African print publications—such as popular magazines and newspapers—have been described as “ephemeral,” the new literary world that Wainaina depicts is distinctly spectral.

When I told Katie Reid of AiW that Wainaina’s lecture was haunting me, she suggested that “Africa in Words” might be an ideal space to “exorcise” these spirits. It turns out that Katie’s idea was more fitting than I first realized. Wainaina’s address was a…

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