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Richard de Nooy

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#BookWalk | Queer Africa – New and Collected Fiction | Anthology

Queer Africa CoverQueer Africa is a collection of charged, tangled, tender, unapologetic, funny, bruising and brilliant stories about the many ways in which we love each other on the continent,” writes Gabeba Baderoon in her foreword to this anthology edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba. Having dog-eared this fascinating collection of stories I strolled back to collect my markers and celebrate that love with excerpts from each story.

“That’s the idea. Let it sound bush. I sing for the people. If I sound bush, the people will think they are better than me. If they’re better than me, they will pity me; they will want to help me; they will want to save me. With their money.”
(From Davina Owombre’s Pelican Driver)

“Hell, said Dominee Boonzaier, would have so many skelms from the bank that there wouldn’t be room for the Tswana and the English, and the godless people from Johannesburg.”
(From Emil Rorke’s Poisoned Grief)

“I kissed you on the mouth three days after we met. You said it was a complication you could do without, and then you smiled.”
(From Wamuwi Mbao’s The Bath)

“I get into bed but sleep doesn’t come easily. I stare at the ceiling and try not to think much. Too much thinking is bad for you. Look at all the grownups I know. They’re all fucked in the head. They should be smoking zol.”
(From K. Sello Duiker’s Chapter Thirteen)

“The pencil outline seemed unable to contain their charcoal filling. All their faces were detailed but smudged grotesquely. She said she was trying to capture truth, but it seemed to me too obscure a concept to understand. Not truth, but her trying to capture it.”
(From TO Molefe’s Lower Main)

“Siya intoxicated me. His approach and attitude to life were so different to mine. Once, I got home soaked and feeling like a drowned rat, caught in a downpour on my cycle back from work. I thought he’d see me as a cold, wet, miserable thing to be dispatched to the bathroom, but it was as if he didn’t notice anything different. I was home, safe, and we were together. That was all that mattered to him.”
(From Roger Diamond’s Impepho)

“I try hiding my nervous excitement and seek solace in the bathroom. I close the door to gather my thoughts. My knees are shaking and my breasts have tightened. I stare in the mirror and randomly blabber to myself, Fuck! What do I do? I can’t remember ever feeling so lustful over someone I hardly know.”
(From Dolar Vasani’s All Covered Up)

“Engulfed in the warmth of his down-feather duvet, smothered by the comforting quiet of the night, James dreams of his own death.”
(From Rahiem Whisgary’s The Filth of Freedom)

“That woman’s mouth worked at words like ants on a cob of maize. Ai! Everyone knows her quack-quack-quack mouth. But people are still left wordless by just how much she can shoot at and wreck things with her machinegun mouth.”
(From Monica Arac de Nyeko’s Jambula Tree)

“I touched the skin on the top of her hand with one finger. ‘You’re soft, like a dove.’
‘You’ve never touched a dove.’ She was laughing at me.
‘But still. I know. Your cells are finer than other people’s.’”
(From Annie Holmes’s Leaving Civvy Street)

“Julia’s body felt twisted and cramped, sore from lying in one position, sore from the weight of his elbow digging into her, sore and red and bruised from the needle. But she felt elated. The tattoo was really beautiful, striking and effective. She knew Cath would like it.”
(From Natasha Distiller’s Asking For It)

“She was like the wily jackal that gathers wool in its mouth and then backs slowly into the river until all the fleas have fled into the fluff. Then it drops the wool and takes off like a flash, outwitting the fleas. You were the wool, Princess, floating on the river, the memories like vermin on your skin. Your entire body itched.”
(From Richard de Nooy’s The Big Stick)

“Tied to the front gate of her in-laws’ home, a triangular white cloth had waved in the breeze, announcing that there would a wedding and everyone was welcome. By the verandah, little girls sang, ‘Monyadi wa rona. O tshwana le naledi.’ Our bride looks as lovely as a star. As Sethunya approached the house, men and women rushed to claim her, and she was swept into the throng of swirling skirts and stomping feet.”
(From Wame Molefhe’s Sethunya Likes Girls Better)

“Too many women, the boy thinks. They smell like flowers, wet flowers; flowers that have had their day in the sun, petals soaked with sweat, used and pressed and hardened.”
(From Barbara Adair’s A Boy is a Boy is a …)

“Some people said Regina had no morals and soon she would make a man of you. Others said you only had a penis, but that wasn’t enough to make you a man. I never understood what that meant. I still question what that means.”
(From Beatrice Lamwaka’s Chief of the Home)

“And that was what made Pinch so addictive: they knew each other so well that it was almost impossible to succeed. They could feel each other, the one when the other came close; they knew each other’s needs, each before the other knew his own; they saw the world together, each through the eyes of the other.”
(From Martin Hatchuel’s Pinch)

“She was not meant to walk on land, Ms J thought. Standing head and shoulders above everybody in the crowds milling about the corridor lockers, the girl lumbered awkwardly down the corridor, with her broad shoulders and back. Ms J followed at an inconspicuous distance. She was almost certain she walked alone.”
(From Mercy Minah’s In the Way She Glides)

“As a teenager I came to be convince myself that it was not intentional ill-feeling on the dog’s part, just hunger that could not be ignored. I could relate to that. There had been moments in my life when I, too, had been so hungry I had fantasised about eating the same dog. I guess the dog got to what was on both our minds before I did, and I thought that was fair.”
(From Lindiwe Nkutha’s Rock)

Queer Africa

Book details


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    September 23rd, 2013 @08:25 #

    Love this! Thanks Richard. This anthology is now on my to-read list.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    September 23rd, 2013 @08:27 #

    Excellent, Sally, it's such a diverse treasure trove. Enjoy.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">tiah</a>
    September 23rd, 2013 @10:44 #

    I rarely stick my head out and give my true opinion regarding local reads. But this one deserves a special nod. Enjoyed it. Well written stories.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    June 3rd, 2014 @09:16 #

    Queer Africa won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Anthology in New York last night! Thrilled to bits. You can order a copy here:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    June 3rd, 2014 @14:50 #

    Congratulations to all the contributors and to the compilers and editors, Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin. This is so thrilling!!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    June 3rd, 2014 @16:26 #


  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    June 3rd, 2014 @16:29 #

    Ah, great news. Congratulations!


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