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In: Reading Contemporary African Literature
In: Negotiating Afropolitanism
Author: J.K.S. Makokha

Abstract

The Magic of Saida by M.G. Vassanji (2012) centres on the central figure of the novel’s story, Kamal. He is the son of an African mother and an Asian (read Indian) father, who grows up in Tanzania and then relocates to Canada where he becomes an established doctor. The novel tackles themes of African-Asian (read Afrasian) racial identity, belonging, and the effects of the past on the present. Kamal identifies mainly as an African when residing with his mother in Kilwa during his childhood; he is then urged to embrace an Indian identity when he is sent to live with his uncle in Dar es Salaam in his early adolescence. Decades after moving to Edmonton, Canada, Kamal decides to come back to Kilwa. This paper explores the tension and ambiguity in Kamal’s identity by analyzing the way he defines himself—or is defined—in Kilwa and Dar es Salaam, and then investigating, through an eclectic psychochriticism lens, how that in turn affects him as he ages and drives him to return in seach of what it means to be both an Asian and an African in the context of East African cultural landscapes.

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In: Matatu
In: Reading Contemporary African Literature
In: Reading Contemporary African Literature
In: Reading Contemporary African Literature
In: Style in African Literature
In: Style in African Literature
Reading Contemporary African Literature brings together scholarship on, critical debates about, and examples of reading African literature in all genres – poetry, fiction, and drama including popular culture. The anthology offers studies of African literature from interdisciplinary perspectives that employ sociological, historical, and ethnographic besides literary analysis of the literatures. It has assembled critical and researched essays on a range of topics, theoretical and empirical, by renowned critics and theorists of African literature that evaluate and provide examples of reading African literature that should be of interest to academics, researchers, and students of African literature, culture, and history amongst other subjects. Some of the essays examine authors that have received little or no attention to date in books on recent African literature. These essays provide new insights and scholarship that should broaden and deepen our understanding and appreciation of African literature.
In: Negotiating Afropolitanism