SF in SA 28 (October 2016) – Is there such a thing as South African Comics?

As I mentioned some years ago on the South African Comics website, I have been on the search for South African comics for some time - and wrote about Mighty Man, the 1970s black super-hero here - who was ultimately toppled by the Soweto Uprising and the Struggle for freedom. George van der Riet is the proprietor of this website, which is a fantastic nostalgic trawl though the history of South African comics. But what about if you’re looking for new and current South African comics? One gr...
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SF in SA (27) One Language is Never Enough: On Both Harnessing and Resisting the Western Gaze (May 2016)

Why do we write? And, perhaps even more importantly, for whom do we write? We certainly would not write if there was no reader, even if that reader remains just us. So writing appears to form an act of communication, often with our selves, but we may also write with a reading audience in mind. The problem I've found though is, what happens if you try and target (at least two), quite radically disparate audiences? But then that's been a constant tension I've faced, growing up white in Africa. Whe...
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SF in SA (25): Academia and the Advance of African SF (August 2015)

African SF used to be pretty thin on the ground, although this may be partly down to narrow Western definitions of what exactly SF is - whether it was referring to science fiction or to the broader, more encompassing label of speculative fiction. Certainly, as Nnedi Okorafor (2014) put it in one of her online essays: “African science fiction is still alien.” Dr. Okorafor's (2014) essay mentions two important considerations: 1. Africans are (generally) absent from the creative process of globa...
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SF in SA (23) African SF Rec List from Nine Worlds (August 2014)

African SF (9 Worlds) Panel Rec List Marguerite Abouet – Aya De Yopougon Ayodele Arigbabu - Lagos 2060 Lauren Beukes – Moxyland Lauren Beukes - Zoo City Dilman Dila - A Killing in the Sun D. O Fagunwa, 'Forest of a Thousand Daemons' (translated by Wole Soyinka) Louis Greenberg - Dark Windows Milumbe Haimbe - Ananiya the Revolutionist (not out yet) Lily Herne – Deadlands Trilogy Ivor Hartmann (ed.) - AfroSF (Vols 1 & 2) Tendai Huchu - The Hairdresser of Harare...
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(Not) SF in SA 22: ‘It’s All About Pianos’: Writing through Pain/Disability (Sep 2014)

‘It’s All About Pianos’: Stories & ACT Through Chronic Illness & Hidden Disability In 1982, South African state TV was just 6 years old. So I was able to watch (as a youth) some ‘Top of the Pops’ clips that got sent our way, which had managed to avoid the Equity ban on (mostly British) TV shows being screened in apartheid South Africa. One ‘Top of the Pops’ clip in particular stood out for me, so that it is etched in my mind even today. It was a joint rendition of ‘Ebony and Ivory’ by...
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SF in SA 21. Identity, belonging and ecological crisis in South African speculative fiction by Dr. Elzette Steenkamp (Apr 2014)

This study examines a range of South African novels which situate their narratives in futuristic or ‘alternative’ milieus. It investigates the ways in which these texts, despite their association with the ‘pulp’ genres of science fiction and fantasy, are in fact deeply concerned with the very issue that ‘serious’ South African authors have been examining for many years – alterity. Whilst many of the texts in question contain elements of the fantastic and/or tropes common to the SF genre, they ha...
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Part 20 – Beyond ‘Broken Monsters’ and ‘The Three’ (February 2014)

Friday Five Fives (c/o Pornokitsch) The South African speculative fiction scene seems to be burgeoning in the wake of Lauren Beukes and Sarah Lotz. So much so that I’m going to beg for editorial indulgence and significantly go over the Friday Five numerical limit – going to five fives (and even then it still feels constraining). Given this fast emerging SF scene within South Africa, it deserves a strong local publishing platform. Traditionally, the larger local publishers have tended to shun SF...
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Part 19. Writing the Future of Race by Michelle Murrain (August 2013)

I like thinking about the future, and its many possibilities. Race is an important, although often subtle, component of my fiction. Almost all of my protagonists are people of color, although it takes paying attention to clues in order to make it clear - because in my writing, race is incidental... usually. (I do have one novel in which race is actually fairly central to the story - but that novel is set in the 19th century.) Since race is such a salient feature of our present landscape, even gl...
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Part 18 – On African Literary Prizes 2013 (July 2013)

I recently went to the Africa Writes 2013 Literary festival at the British Library – and made some great book buys at their Book Fair. http://www.royalafricansociety.org/africawrites2013 I also listened to an intense panel discussion on African Literature Prizes & the Economy of Prestige. Panel discussion was with Billy Kahora (Managing Editor of Kwani?), Jamal Mahjoub (Chair of Judges for the Kwani? Manuscript Project & Chair of Judges for The Caine Prize 2007) and Bernardine Evarist...
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