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‘Black on the inside’: albino subjectivity in the African novel

LIPENGA, Ken Junior
NGMIRA, Emmanuel
2018

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The last decade has seen increased attention to the treatment of people with albinism in several African countries, particularly the peril they find themselves in due to stigma and superstition. As a way of countering these misconceptions, there has been educative activism from legal, medical as well as religious perspectives. In this paper, we draw upon a different discourse- literary representation- arguing that in selected African novels, the authors employ a variety of strategies that counter harmful stereotypes about albinism, and in the process act as literary interventions that enable an appreciation of the person behind the skin condition. Drawing from insights in Literary Disability Studies, the discussion examines the representation of albinism in four African novels: Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory (2015), Meg Vandermerwe’s Zebra Crossing (2013), Unathi Magubeni’s Nwelezelanga: The Star Child (2016), and Jenny Robson’s Because Pula Means Rain (2000), and highlights the way albinism is presented as bodily condition that intersects with other experiences on the continent, including indigenous epistemologies, gender, sexuality and family relationships. 

 

Disability and the Global South, 2018, Vol.5, No. 2, 1472-1487

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